Tim Kaine Forum

Kate Serrao

File_002Tim Kaine is Virginia’s current senator, and he has been serving since 2012. Before his term in the senate, he was elected to City Council in 1995, and later became the Mayor of Richmond in 1998. He then worked his way up, and became Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor in 2002. In 2005, he ran for Governor, and served from 2006-2010. He is one of very few politicians to ever serve in local, state, and federal levels of government.

Kaine became involved in politics because he wanted to make a difference. He felt that the two parties were increasingly opposed to compromise, and he ran for City Council to encourage bipartisan agreement. In the Senate, he does the same. He works to bridge the gap between the two feuding parties. Kaine serves on the Armed Forces Committee, and he feels that he is able to make his mark, despite being in the minority party. With compromise, he feels that anything can be accomplished.

On Friday, March 18, Current Democratic Senator Tim Kaine visited Cosby for a forum hosted by the politics club. Students from government classes had the opportunity to submit questions, and 14 were chosen to be asked at the forum. Questions ranged from topics such as the government treatment of ISIS, to the decriminalization of marijuana. To the latter, Kaine said that while he, “support[s] drastic changes in sentencing laws…I wouldn’t vote for a law at the federal or state level that would decriminalize marijuana.” He thinks the nation should see how things go in Colorado and other states who have legalized marijuana before making a decision. In addition to marijuana, Kaine was asked about the Republican majority in the Senate’s refusal to vote on President Obama’s nominee to the supreme court, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He says, “it violates the oath of office of a senator to refuse to vote yes or no for a supreme court nominee.” He warns against the dangers of making such a decision. “If they do this, the senate will set up a precedent where the senate will not have to take up a nominee at all, which is unconstitutional.” In response to another controversial question, Kaine defended the use of universal background checks for people who wish to purchase guns. He says, “The only way to uphold the law is to have a universal background check registry.” This is a topic that he feels strongly about, and hopes to be able to pursue further as he gains more experience as a Senator.

In addition to tough policy questions, Kaine was asked to respond to rumors that he  is on Hillary Clinton’s shortlist for a Vice Presidential running mate. He laughed dismissively, and answered confidently, “I am a happy senator, I love my job, and I am not looking for another one.” Despite this statement, it is hard to imagine declining the opportunity to serve in the White House, and many students at Cosby hope that if asked, he accepts Clinton’s offer. Alexa Patel, a Cosby senior and AP government student, says “I think it would be really cool for Tim Kaine to run as vice president, because if he and Hillary win, I can say that I’ve met him!”

After answering all of the student’s questions, Politics Club member Daniel Wagner had one final request. He had heard that the Senator always carries a harmonica with him, and asked Kaine to play a song. Kaine happily obliged, and wowed the audience with a version of the Beatles’s song, “Love Me Do.”

Over 250 students attended the forum, along with members of Chesterfield County’s school board, and other important members of the county government. Tim Kaine’s visit was an undeniable success.

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