Photo by Jay Paul
It can be hard to find a reason to smile about the 2016 presidential election, but since late July, Richmond has sported a collective, gleaming grin.
After months of speculation, Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton tapped U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate. Kaine’s deep roots in Richmond are no secret. He lives in Ginter Park. He and his wife, Anne Holton, who recently stepped down as Virginia’s secretary of education to help him campaign, sent their three children to Richmond public schools. He served on Richmond City Council, led the city as mayor, and won statewide office as lieutenant governor and finally, governor.
Pundits cast Clinton’s decision as pragmatic. Kaine is a moderate in a divided Congress. He has experience at every level of government. He’s content outside of the spotlight (he called himself boring on national television to deflect unwanted attention), and he’s likeable, a quality in short supply this election cycle. But Kaine is more than the sum of this political calculus, any Richmonder who has met him will tell you. He’s Tim, the affable guy with the wonky eyebrow you’d just as soon see showing off his harmonica chops as you’d see him on CSPAN.
Just over 24 hours after receiving career and life altering news, what did Kaine do? He returned home, visited with hundreds of supporters who waited hours to greet him, went to sleep, woke up and attended Sunday Mass at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, the majority African-American parish on North Side where he and Holton have been members since 1984.
“They’re just so sweet, they’re so down to earth,” said Kristine Chiodo, who sat next to the couple during the Mass. “This is their home, this is their refuge. That’s not a show. They are 100 percent invested in this service and this community.”
For making Richmond proud, no matter what happens, we name vice presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine our Richmonder of the Month.