About Senator Tim Kaine
Tim Kaine has served people throughout his adult life as a missionary, fair housing attorney, teacher and elected official. He is the current junior Senator from Virginia.
Tim grew up in Kansas City, working in his father’s ironworking shop, where he learned the values of thrift and hard work. He graduated from the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School.
Tim began his public service career when he took a year off law school to work with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. He served as principal of a technical school that taught teenagers carpentry and welding. There, Tim committed his life to serving others and grasped the power of education to enable each person to live up to their God-given potential.
After finishing law school, Tim practiced law for 18 years, specializing in representing people who had been denied housing due to their race or disability. He also began teaching at the University of Richmond, an association that continues to this day.
Tim entered political life in 1994, running for the Richmond City Council in order to heal divisions in city leadership. He served until 2001 as a Councilman and Mayor. During his service, Tim helped implement targeted tax cuts for small businesses and homeowners, built the city’s first new schools in a generation and dramatically cut the city’s crime rate. Richmond saw an economic renaissance that led to increasing population, a bond rating upgrade and recognition by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s ten best cities for doing business.
In 2001, Tim was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. He worked for four years with then-Governor Mark Warner to reform Virginia’s budget and improve Virginia’s education system. During this time, he was co-chair of the 2002 statewide campaign to expand higher education facilities and helped create the New College Institute in Martinsville, greatly expanding opportunities in historically underserved Southside, Virginia.
In 2005, Tim was elected Virginia’s 70th Governor. In the midst of America’s deepest recession in 70 years, Tim led the state to national recognition. Virginia was honored as the Best Managed State in America (Governing Magazine), the Best State for Business (Forbes.com—four years in a row) and the Best State to Raise a Child (Education Week). Virginia maintained its Triple A bond rating for fiscal management—an honor shared by only 7 states—and had one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates and highest median incomes.
During his tenure as Governor, Tim demonstrated true fiscal stewardship by cutting the state budget by more than 5 billion dollars, beginning with a reduction in his own salary. But Tim also expanded early childhood and technical education, passed the largest bond package for higher education construction in Virginia history, reformed the state’s mental health and foster care programs, reduced the infant mortality rate, protected open space and the Chesapeake Bay, banned smoking in bars and restaurants, and pushed major rail and public transit improvements throughout the state. Tim also brokered the deal to eliminate Virginia’s estate tax and cut income taxes for tens of thousands of low-income residents.
Tim was the Chairman of the Southern Governor’s Association in 2008-09 and served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 through 2011. He has received numerous awards and honorary degrees from organizations such as the Richmond Bar Association, Virginia Military Institute, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the Virginia Holocaust Museum and the Virginia Council of Churches.