WASHINGTON, July, 2016 – Hillary Clinton has chosen Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate, passing over Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack who reportedly was on her short list almost up to the last minute.
Clinton made the announcement in a text message to supporters Friday night, just days before the Democratic National Convention opens Monday, July 25, in Philadelphia, where she will be officially nominated as the party’s presidential standard-bearer. Kaine is expected to join Clinton tomorrow at a rally in Miami.
“Tim is a lifelong fighter for progressive causes and one of the most qualified vice presidential candidates in our nation’s history,” Clinton said in a Facebook post. She called Kaine “a man of relentless optimism who believes no problem is unsolvable if you’re willing to put in the work.”
A native of Minnesota and a Spanish-speaking graduate of Harvard Law School, Kaine was elected to the Senate in 2012, handily defeating former U.S. senator and governor George Allen. He had previously served as a city councilman and mayor in Richmond, Virginia, lieutenant governor of the state, and governor from 2006-2010. He also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009-2011.
In the Senate, Kaine serves on the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and Budget committees.
On his website, Kaine notes that agriculture is the largest industry in his state. Along with forestry, agriculture contributes more than $79 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy, creating 357,000 jobs on more than 47,000 farms, he says. He also notes the state is a leader in livestock and poultry production and has maintained traditional row crops like soybeans and hay along with recently popular products like tomatoes and wine grapes.
Kaine says he was pleased to join other senators in passing the 2014 farm bill.
“This bipartisan legislation strengthens the farm safety net, maintains critical nutrition assistance for the neediest Americans, directs funding to protect natural resources like the Chesapeake Bay, expands agricultural export markets, and bolsters local food networks to allow more businesses and consumers to buy from local farmers – all while saving $23 billion over the next decade.” Kaine was also one of 63 senators who voted last week to approve the GMO labeling bill.
The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation said it would have no comment on Kaine’s record involving agriculture during his time as governor. A spokeswoman said the group is prohibited from getting involved on behalf of or in opposition to any political candidate. The American Farm Bureau Federation took much the same position.