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Candidate of the Week

Tim Kaine
Virginia

Education was the key to everything we wanted to achieve as a state [when I was governor of Virginia], and it’s the key to everything we want to achieve as a nation.

Tim Kaine
Voting Record

Kaine’s liberal political ideology is often driven by his Jesuit beliefs, but that doesn’t mean he lets dogma get in the way of what is right. Though a Roman Catholic himself who personally opposes abortion, he advocates that the government should stay out of the way of reproductive rights. Kaine believes in reducing unplanned pregnancies through comprehensive sex education, and has received perfect scores from reproductive rights groups Planned Parenthood and NARAL. He has continuously fought against the ruling of the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC, believing the infusion of big money into politics has led to “disastrous” results. Kaine strongly opposes the death penalty, and co-sponsored legislation banning it at the federal level in the wake of Attorney General William Barr’s announcement that the Justice Department would resume executions of death-row inmates. Despite owning firearms himself, Kaine supports common sense gun control legislation, and co-sponsored a 2017 bill to close a loophole that allowed those accused of domestic violence to purchase guns and ammunition. Kaine is also a supporter of DACA as well as broader comprehensive immigration reforms, like providing a pathway to citizenship for other undocumented immigrants. Kaine’s voting record in the Senate proves that a religious commitment does not need to override the best interests of his constituents, a position his evangelical colleagues across the aisle would be wise to take on.

Policy Positions
State

The first permanent English settlement in North America was established in Virginia in 1607, at Jamestown on the land of the Powhatan and other indigenous groups. The state played a major role in the American Revolution as the birthplace of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The state was one of the largest economies in the early United States, though its economic development relied on enslaved Africans’ forced labor. Many large-scale rebellions against slavery took place in Virginia, including one precipitated by Nat Turner, and another by abolitionist John Brown, considered one of the flashpoints of the Civil War.

In the 20th century, Virginia emerged as a political powerhouse in the United States. Its population grew rapidly, and it became home to many major businesses, like Capital One, General Dynamics, and Freddie Mac. Due to its proximity to the nation’s capital, government agencies like the Pentagon employ nearly 17 percent of the state’s population. In recent years, Virginia has been known for its close elections and a political shift from being a reliably conservative state to a more liberal one. Still, the legacy of the Confederacy looms large in Virginia. In the wake of calls to remove the state’s many Confederate monuments, white supremacist groups gathered in Charlottesville for the “Unite the Right Rally,” where a car attack led to the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer and injured 35 others. As Virgninians reckon with their checkered history, a figure like Tim Kaine — who takes pride in his ability to reconcile his state’s past with a progressive future — could be exactly what it takes to bring them together.