EARLY COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC SERVICE
Tim grew up working in his father’s ironworking shop in Kansas City. His parents taught him the value of hard work and showed him how small businesses and technical skills strengthen this country every day. After graduating from the University of Missouri, Tim started his public service career by running a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. He trained teenagers to become carpenters and welders, equipping them with skills to lift up themselves and their communities. As Tim says, his work in Honduras was “a North Star” that led to his commitment to advance job opportunities for everyone. His time there reinforced three core values that are still a central part of his life today: “Fè, familia, y trabajo” – “Faith, family, and work.”
Tim met Virginian Anne Holton at Harvard Law School and they married in 1984 in the same church in Richmond they attend to this day. They have three adult children. Anne, a former legal aid lawyer, and juvenile court judge served as Virginia Secretary of Education from 2014 until 2016. Before that, Anne ran Great Expectations, a program that offers tutoring, career coaching, and other services to help young adults aging out of foster care and attending Virginia community colleges transition to successful, independent adulthood. She now teaches education policy at George Mason University after having served as its interim President in 2019-to 2020 – Tim calls her the best public servant he knows. Anne’s father Linwood Holton, a former Republican Governor of Virginia, was critical to integrating Virginia’s public schools, putting the Commonwealth on the path to progress we see today.
After law school, Tim practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, specializing in the representation of people who had been denied housing due to their race, disability, or family status. In 1998, Tim helped win one of the largest civil rights jury verdicts ever in a case involving discrimination against minority neighborhoods by an insurance company. He also began teaching law part-time at the University of Richmond in 1987.
Tim was first elected to office in 1994, serving as a city council member and four years later, Mayor of Richmond. When he was first elected to City Council in Richmond, the city had one of the highest homicide rates in America, and he worked with law enforcement and the community to find solutions that brought down the rate of violent crime. He became Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2002 and was inaugurated as Virginia’s 70th Governor in 2006. While serving as Governor, Tim improved the education and health care systems, and by the end of his term, leading publications ranked Virginia the best state to raise a child and the best state for business. He visited a school in every county and city in the Commonwealth and helped Virginia make it through the worst recession since the Great Depression. He also responded to the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech by strengthening Virginia’s background check system and pushing his legislature to do more to make communities safer. At the request of President Obama, Kaine served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 through 2011 where he rallied Democrats around the nation to support passage of the Affordable Care Act.
IN THE SENATE
Tim was elected to the Senate in 2012 as a can-do optimist skilled in bringing people together across old lines of party, race, or region.
Tim has spent his time in the Senate focused on improving the lives of Virginians. He has made boosting job opportunities for everyone a top priority. As co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, Tim focuses on expanding access to job-training programs to ensure that students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the modern economy. Tim has helped lead efforts in the Senate to reduce unemployment for military families and veterans.
As a member of the Armed Services Committee, a Senator from one of the states most closely connected to the military, and the father of a Marine, Tim is focused on crafting smart defense strategies and reducing the risk of an unnecessary war. He works to ensure that the military has the resources it needs to keep the country safe and that servicemembers and veterans receive the benefits and care they have earned. He has also been the leading voice against Presidents starting wars without a vote by Congress.
Tim believes that health care is a right, not something reserved just for those who can afford it, and has consistently pushed for reforms to expand access to quality care. This includes legislation to give Americans more options for affordable health insurance and to combat the opioid abuse epidemic.
Tim serves on Senate Committees where he is able to work on those priorities every day for Virginians: the Armed Services; Budget; Foreign Relations; and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committees. He is a Ranking Member of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee and the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism.