At a Christian Science Monitor-sponsored lunch for reporters in Washington, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine applauded the likely switch of Governor Charlie Crist from Republican to Independent. Kaine said Crist's leaving the Republican party will benefit the Democratic Nominee, Rep. Kendrick Meek in Florida's 2010 U.S. Senate race.
Governor Tim Kaine is a lifetime public servant who was elected Chair of the Democratic National Committee on January 21, 2009. His mission is to promote the success of President Obama and Democratic officeholders and candidates throughout America and build a strong grassroots infrastructure to produce meaningful change in the nation's policies and politics.
Governor Kaine served as the 70th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from January 2006 until January 2010. During his tenure as Governor, Virginia was recognized as the best state for business in America (Forbes.com 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009; CNBC 2007, 2009), the top-performing state government in America (Governing Magazine, 2008) and the state where "a child is most likely to have a successful life" (Education Week, 2007). Under Governor Kaine's leadership, Virginia had one of the highest median incomes and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, even during the toughest economy since the 1930's. Kaine successfully led efforts to expand early childhood and technical education programs, increase college access, revamp the state's workforce training system, ban smoking in restaurants and bars, expand public transportation and rail solutions, reform the state's community mental health and foster care systems, reduce infant mortality and preserve over 400,000 acres of open space. As Governor, he restored substantially more voting rights than any previous Virginia governor. He also implemented policies that led to dramatic increases in state contracting for small businesses as well as women and minority-owned businesses.
As a political leader, Governor Kaine helped Virginia Democrats regain two U.S. Senate seats, a majority of Virginia's Congressional delegation and control of the state Senate. In addition, as the national co-chair of Obama for America, he campaigned in 15 states for the President and helped Virginia deliver its 13 electoral votes to a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1964.
Prior to serving as Governor, Kaine served four terms on the Richmond City Council, including two terms as Mayor, and he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2001.
Kaine grew up in Kansas City and attended the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School. He began his public service career when he took a year off from law school in 1980 to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. There, he served as the principal of a technical school that taught teenagers basic carpentry and welding skills. He then practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, representing people who had been denied housing opportunities because of their race or disability.
Kaine is married to Anne Holton, a foster care reform advocate who worked previously as a legal aid lawyer and juvenile court judge. They live in Richmond and have three children. Kaine also serves as a Distinguished Lecturer in Law and Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond.
One of the two major political parties in the U.S., historically the party of labour, minorities, and progressive reformers. In the 1790s a group of Thomas Jefferson's supporters called themselves Democratic Republicans or Jeffersonian Republicans to demonstrate their belief in the principle of popular government and their opposition to monarchism. The party adopted its present name in the 1830s, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Democrats won nearly every presidential election in the years 183660, but the issue of slavery split the party. The Southern Democrats called for the protection of slavery in the new territories, whereas the Northern Democrats, led by Stephen A. Douglas, advocated allowing each territory to decide by popular sovereignty whether to accept slavery within its borders. As a result, in 1860 the new antislavery Republican Party won its first national victory under Abraham Lincoln. From 1861 to 1913 the only Democratic president was Grover Cleveland; in these years the party was basically conservative and agrarian-oriented, and its members were opposed to protective tariffs. It returned to power under Woodrow Wilson, instituting greater federal regulation of banking and industry, but the Republicans' frank embrace of big business drew voters amid the prosperity of the 1920s. Democrats became dominant again in 1932, electing Franklin D. Roosevelt. A coalition of urban workers, small farmers, liberals, and others sustained Democrats in office until 1953, and the party regained the presidency with the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960. In the 1970s and '80s the Democrats held the presidency only during the single term of Jimmy Carter (197681) but retained majority control of the House of Representatives. They regained the presidency in 1992 with the election of Bill Clinton but lost control of both the House and the Senate in 1994. In the presidential election of 2000, Clinton's vice president, Al Gore, was defeated by Republican George W. Bush. In 2004 the party's presidential nominee, John Kerry, was defeated by Bush, and the Democrats lost seats in both houses of Congress. Aided by growing opposition to the Iraq War, Democrats regained control of both the House and the Senate following the 2006 midterm elections. In the 2008 presidential election Democratic nominee Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain, and the Democrats increased their majorities in both the House and the Senate. The modern Democratic Party generally supports a strong federal government with powers to regulate business and industry in the public interest; federally financed social services and benefits for the poor, the unemployed, the aged, and other groups; and the protection of civil rights.