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Democratic VP Candidate Was Lawyer, Mayor and Governor


Democratic VP candidate Tim Kaine waves during the Democratic National Convention in July. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Tim Kaine is the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential nominee. He represents the eastern state of Virginia in the United States Senate.

Kaine is 58 years old. He is married and has three children. One is a U.S. Marine.

When he was a young man, Kaine served as a Catholic religious worker in Honduras. He learned to speak the Spanish language there. He decided to enter public service after seeing poverty in Central America.

Kaine graduated from Harvard Law School. He has served on local, state and national levels of government as a city councilman, mayor, lieutenant governor, governor and U.S. senator.

He worked as a civil rights lawyer for 17 years. During that time, for six years, he also taught at a law school.

Kaine has called himself “boring.” Experts say he was a safe choice to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. He is well-liked and considered free of scandal. Many people think he is a centrist -- supporting political positions that are neither very liberal nor very conservative. However, his congressional voting record represents a mostly liberal thinking.

Kaine says he has learned from difficult experiences.

“These are tough times for many in our country, but we’re tough people, and that’s something else I learned from my folks -- tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”

Kaine says one of his most difficult times as a public official was in 2007, when he was governor. A mass shooting took place at a university in Virginia. A mentally ill student killed 32 people and himself in the attack. Following the tragedy, Kaine worked to reform the state’s mental health system.

He led the Democratic National Committee in 2008 and was considered as a possible vice president for Barack Obama.

Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton, was a city judge and recently served as Virginia’s secretary of education. Her father is a former Republican governor of Virginia.

Kaine and Holton attend religious services at a church in a low-income area of Richmond, the city he once led as mayor. The couple were married there and he has been a member for more than 30 years. Most of the people who attend are black. Kaine is one of the few white members. He sang in the church’s choir for 14 years. He also plays the piano and the harmonica. He carries harmonicas with him when he travels.

I’m Alice Bryant.

VOA Correspondent Arash Arabasadi reported this story from Washington. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted her report into VOA Special English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

boring - adj. dull and uninteresting : causing boredom

scandal - n. an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong

tough - adj. strong and not easily broken or damaged

my folks - an expression meaning “my parents”

choir - n. a group of singers especially in a church

piano - n. a large musical instrument with a keyboard that you play by pressing black and white keys and that produces sound when small hammers inside the piano hit steel wires

harmonica - n. a small musical instrument that is played with your mouth

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