Tim Kaine Holds Meet And Greet In Roanoke

Tim Kaine

The Claude Moore Education Complex hosted a meet and greet with former governor and DNC Chair Tim Kaine Saturday. Kaine is seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate to replace retiring Virginia Senator Jim Webb.

Supporters Rich and Jackie Grant of Botetourt County chatted with Tim Kaine and posed for a photo with their adopted Ethiopian children Aklilu 5 and Teketel 7.

The Democratic and Republican primaries are set for June 6. George Allen is already considered the presumptive nominee though a Republican primary debate is scheduled in Roanoke for sometime in mid-April.

Kaine was collecting signatures for his petition from the estimated 200 supporters at the event.

He doubts that there will be a Democratic primary as his primary contenders are short on signatures. He told the crowd jokingly – “I don’t know if you heard but it can be kind of hard to get enough petitions to get on a Virginia ballot.”

As Virginia’s governor his most memorable project was the groundbreaking for the Virginia Tech Carilion Research facility. “Even in tough economic times you need to be investing for tomorrow’s success,” he said.

Kaine told the crowd he was optimistic about the improving economy. “We have a long, long way to go but we don’t want to go backwards.”

During his governorship he said that he learned there was a “right way and a wrong way” to cut a budget. Cutting education funding is one of the wrong ways, he said. He believes an educated workforce is the key to enticing businesses to relocate and stay in Virginia. “It’s the quality of the people,” he said.

Kaine continues to advocate for pre-K education. “We’re not going to advance if we’re not also investing in our talent, especially in our young people.”

Kaine said if elected his focus would be on education, workforce development, research and immigration reform. “We ought to have immigration policies that ensure the talented continue to stay in the U.S.” The country is slipping in its education ranking and “if we don’t get back to number one in the world and invest in education we’re going to continue to slip behind.”

He said he would also continue Jim Webb’s legacy of focusing on military and veteran’s issues.

Kaine is not shying away from President Obama, saying, “I am a proud friend and supporter of our President.”  At their first debate Allen negatively linked him to President Obama. Kaine responded by saying, “We had a President who knew how to start wars – I’m glad we have a President who knows how to end wars.”

Mark Warner, Jim Webb and President Obama will be campaigning for Kaine.

Polling has consistently shown George Allen and Tim Kaine tied. Kaine expects a hard fought race to the end. He’s used to close races; he won the Virginia governorship against then Attorney General Jerry Kilgore with 52% of the vote.

Virginia is in the national spotlight as a presidential battleground state. Virginia use to be a safe Republican win but “they all have to come here now,” said Kaine.

Look for full-blown PAC attacks on the state and national level in Virginia, he warned. Kaine won’t be promoting negative ads but said he won’t hesitate to “draw a contrast on an issue.” His responses to Allen in the December debate were civil but drew sharp contrasts. “Differences in policy – that’s fair to explore,” he said.

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