Senator Tim Kaine stands inside the President's Room in the US Capitol in July 2015.

He may be prominent on the national stage, but Tim Kaine's political and personal roots run deep in Richmond.

The U.S. senator started in politics in 1994 as a city councilman representing the Ginter Park neighborhood where he still lives — and where he raised three children with wife Anne Holton, Virginia's secretary of education and daughter of former Gov. A. Linwood Holton Jr.

Kaine subsequently served as Richmond mayor before being elected lieutenant governor in 2001 and governor in 2005. A confidant of President Barack Obama and one of the first governors to endorse Obama's successful run for president in 2008, Kaine was named chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2009. He left that post and a teaching job at the University of Richmond in 2011 after deciding to run for Senate when Jim Webb opted against seeking re-election.

Since his Senate election, Kaine has plunged into national and international politics, serving on the influential Armed Services, Foreign Relations and Budget committees. He spent much of his time over the past year wrestling with colleagues on the issues of war authorization and diplomacy as it relates to the Iran nuclear deal and the threat of the Islamic State group in the Middle East.

Kaine said the idea that Congress wants to be meaningfully involved to block a president's constitutional powers on diplomacy on issues such as the Iran deal — but is willing to let a president do anything on war — "just sends such a horrible message." He added that "the complexity and long-term nature of the threat (of the Islamic State) is one in which we need to be involved."

Kaine has also been active on the home front and said that securing an embassy training facility for Virginia "would be a big thing for Southside. ... We are inching our way toward that."

The Harvard-educated son of a Kansas metalworker worked as a missionary in Honduras and a civil rights lawyer in Richmond. And whether in Richmond or Washington, Kaine still cherishes his roots in the city, commuting weekly and maintaining a circle of friends from his earliest days in town.


A small moment in life with a big impact

I listened to a still, small voice during my first year in law school and took a year away to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. That impulsive and immediate decision has affected everything I've done since — my marriage, my faith, my work, ‎my views about the world. Looking back, with all that was going on in my life and in the region at the time, I'm kind of surprised I did it. I hope I'm still open to inspiration.

Role model

Brother Jim O'Leary, or Hermano Jaime, was a Jesuit missionary who put me in charge of a technical school in El Progreso, Honduras, in 1980-81. He was the most giving and in-the-moment person I've ever known.

Something you'd like to do

I've hiked much of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia over the years, but I'd love to through-hike it one day.

Favorite thing about Richmond region

I love everything about the James River. I have a painting of the river near Maymont in my Senate office, and I get homesick every time I look at it.

Favorite book

The Bible is my all-time favorite book because from Genesis to Revelation, it reveals so much about who we are as people. The Adam and Eve story was written in about 500 BC, and already the author understood the paradoxical truth that human knowledge of good and evil could be both good and evil.

Something that might surprise others

I am an introvert.

Alternate profession or course of study

Something to indulge my introverted side — probably a teacher, professor or writer surrounded by walls of books.

Proudest accomplishment

I am proud of my wife, Anne, and our 31-year marriage. And I'm proud that our three children are strong and independent young adults who know how to find and pursue their own passions.


Position: U.S. senator

Born/hometown: Feb. 26, 1958; Overland Park, Kan.

College: University of Missouri (bachelor's in economics), Harvard University Law School

Family: wife Anne Holton; children Nat, Woody and Annella


(804) 649-6061

Twitter: @RTDNolan

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