The Wise Women of Virginia on Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine, Dyana Mason LGBT rights in virginia

Wise Woman Dyana Mason with Tim Kaine , when Mason was the executive director of Equality Virginia, the state’s leading LGBT rights organization

Many of the Wise Woman are Virginians who have known vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine throughout the years he has been in public service in their state. Others are just admirers of his caring, steady demeanor. Here are some of their thoughts and stories about Kaine.

“I worked for LGBT equality in Virginia for almost seven years, and Tim Kaine was my lieutenant governor, governor, and senator during that time. He is a just a decent man with solid credentials. On some things he’s more progressive than Hillary. On others he might be more centrist (I would not call him conservative). He’s not “flashy,” but we can stand to tone down the “flash” this campaign season. He takes his job seriously, listens to his constituents, and believes in the good in everyone. He is well respected by Virginians, and was a civil-rights attorney before he entered politics. We often use the word “trust” here; that is, the Wise Women say, “I trust Hillary.” Well, I trust Kaine to protect my family (LGBT family with two adopted brown sons).”  —Dyana Mason

“I’ve watched Tim Kaine turn my blood-red home state of Virgina to purple, to patchwork of purple-blue, and to full blue soon. He fights like a beast for progressive causes: winning a massive discrimination suit against Nationwide Insurance, fighting against housing discrimination, against capital punishment, against big tobacco and the NRA— and Virginia is big tobacco and the NRA. Most memorably, he was governor during the horrific mass shooting at Virginia Tech. (He’s our Chris Murphy if you want a shorthand example.)

“Not everyone agrees with him on the right or the left. He’s a politician, but the good kind. And everybody likes him.

“America just met Tim Kaine—and the likability myth just went *poof*!” —Leslie H.

“Backbone of steel; Harvard Law; military service; service to others; and also, according to my mother, almost became a priest. Tim Kaine is my mom’s dream son in law!” —Laura K.

“Progressive (leftist) Democrats may seem unhappy about Hillary Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine. For the most part, all they seem to know about him is second-hand spin from a few political commentaries written by supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders and/or Senator Liz Warren. Typical comment: ‘I never heard of him, but he seems boring.’ Another comment: ‘He’s anti-abortion, anti-union… a DINO.’

“Well here’s Tim’s voting record: Planned Parenthood and NARAL: 100%. Brady Campaign: 100%. Human Rights Campaign: 100%. AFL/CIO: 94%. Also an “F” rating from the NRA. He is a pro-choice Catholic who’s strong on separation of church and state, for equal employment opportunity and equal pay for women, for marriage equality, strong on foreign policy (but more dovish than Hillary), and an all-around good guy with tenacity and integrity. He works well across the aisle and is well-respected by his peers in the Senate.

“Tim has degrees in economics and law (the latter from Harvard); he’s fluent in Spanish and relates well with racial and ethnic minorities; he’s never lost an election (mayor of Richmond, governor of Virginia, senator from Virginia); and he was endorsed by Teddy and now is endorsed by Ben—my dogs have never picked a loser!

“Kaine narrowly missed being Obama’s VP pick and instead was named DNC chair and picked to be Chair of the Democratic Governors Association. That Tim is an ‘establishment Democrat’ gives Sanders supporters heartburn, but Hillary has the base of the party behind her, and Tim will be a fine VP.” —Eileen Erwin

vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine

Photo by Stephanie Himel-Nelson

“The first time I encountered Tim Kaine was in a scrum of reporters and bloggers at the 2008 Virginia Democratic Convention. A literal scrum. As in, I was pushed in so close I couldn’t get a wider shot than this one.

“I was a little overwhelmed. Okay, more than a little overwhelmed. It was the first time I’d ever covered something like this as a political blogger. Kaine saw that and took time to answer my question.

Since then, I have been fortunate enough to meet him several times and to have in-depth discussions about defense policy and the issues facing military families and veterans. He’s a definite friend to our military community. And he’s one of the good guys. No, he’s not the most progressive pick out there. But someone recently reminded me that we shouldn’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of good. And I believe he is a thoughtful choice.

“Tim Kaine has a strong social justice background and he’s a man of principles. He’s stuck to his principles even when it would be politically expedient to change them. I know he’ll make an excellent vice president.” —Stephanie Himel-Nelson

“The more I read about Tim Kaine, he really is my first choice now, too. I am so excited about him. He reminds me of Hillary. Not flashy, just working to get things done, caring about people, listening, and fighting step-by-step, without worrying about recognition. I’m seeing some people in Virginia saying they trust Kane and will support the ticket because he is trustworthy.” —Holli Broadfoot

“I thought Hillary Clinton and Senator Tim Kaine showed lots of chemistry. He struck a spot-on note talking about these troubled times (the rallies were before the tragedies in Nice, France) and what Hillary is doing about it. Kaine, too, showed compassion, care for issues we hold dear, deference and respect to HRC (how refreshing!), and an aw-shucks appeal I think could could appeal to moderate Republicans, but also spoke in Spanish and to labor/education to large applause. I thought they had a great rapport and he was affable and sincere. He is much loved here in Virginia; I came away liking him and feeling I knew him more.” —Jennifer A.