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Kaine Brings Background in Law, Social Work to Clinton Ticket

  • VOA News

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to her choice for running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, after she introduced him during a campaign rally in Miami, Florida, July 23, 2016.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to her choice for running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, after she introduced him during a campaign rally in Miami, Florida, July 23, 2016.

When Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton picked Tim Kaine as her running mate, the Virginia senator was the first to admit that he’s a relatively unknown name within the Democratic Party.

Unlike the two candidates running for president, Clinton and Donald Trump, who are both household names given to eliciting a strong, visceral response, Kaine is often referred to as the “nice guy” in politics.

Unlike Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, who has spent much of his time apologizing for or explaining Trump’s positions, Kaine has tried to woo voters and attract positive attention for Clinton.

WATCH: Tim Kaine joins Clinton ticket

He has engaged with Hispanic voters after having spent time in Central America, reached out to Mormon voters in Utah over his past work as a missionary, and tried to appeal to Republicans as a moderate Democrat.

Timothy Michael "Tim" Kaine was born on February 26, 1958, in St. Paul, Minnesota, but grew up in the Kansas City, Missouri, metro area. He is the eldest son of an ironworker and a home economics teacher.

Kaine attended an all-boys Jesuit high school, where he joined spring mission drives to fund Jesuit activities in Honduras. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Missouri before entering Harvard Law School.

Kaine took time off from his law studies to work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Honduras for nine months in 1980-81, helping Jesuit missionaries who ran a Catholic school in El Progreso.

FILE - Michelle Marfo, 9, of Alexandria, Va., left, demonstrates her hand washing technique to Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as Mased Saroor, 9, waits his turn, after the governor spoke about the H1N1 virus at Samuel Tucker Elementary School in Alexandria, Va. Sept. 1

FILE - Michelle Marfo, 9, of Alexandria, Va., left, demonstrates her hand washing technique to Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as Mased Saroor, 9, waits his turn, after the governor spoke about the H1N1 virus at Samuel Tucker Elementary School in Alexandria, Va. Sept. 1

His time there is said to have helped form his support for citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States -- a stance likely to attract Latino voters. He also learned to speak fluent Spanish, seen as a possible advantage with Hispanic voters.

Kaine met his wife, Anne Holton, at Harvard Law School. She is the daughter of former Virginia Governor Linwood Holton (1970-74), a Republican who desegregated the Commonwealth's public schools. She now serves as Virginia's secretary of education. They have three children, sons Nat and Woody and daughter Annella.

After law school, the Kaines settled in Richmond, Virginia, where he spent nearly two decades as an attorney focusing on civil rights and fair housing. He helped found the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness and was a board member of the Virginia chapter of Housing Opportunities Made Equal.

Kaine entered politics in 1994 when he was elected to the Richmond City Council, then became the city's mayor.

FILE - Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., hugs his wife Anne Holton during a with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Florida International University Panther Arena in Miami, Saturday, July 23, 2016.

FILE - Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., hugs his wife Anne Holton during a with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Florida International University Panther Arena in Miami, Saturday, July 23, 2016.

He was elected Virginia's lieutenant governor in 2001. In 2005, Kaine ran for governor of Virginia against Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore, a former state attorney general. Kaine was considered an underdog for most of the race, trailing in polls for most of the election, but winning in the end.

Kaine was governor from 2006 to 2010. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, after a stint as chair of the Democratic National Committee. In the Senate, Kaine has worked on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations and Aging committees.

According to The New York Times, Kaine "is widely described by people in his political orbit as a likable, if less than charismatic, figure ... guided by moral convictions that flow from his deep Christian faith."

In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, he confessed to being “boring.”

After Clinton's announcement, Jeff Flake, a Republican senator from Arizona tweeted: “Trying to count the ways I hate @timkaine. Drawing a blank. Congrats to a good man and a good friend."

In Photos: Tim Kaine through the years

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