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2012-04-25 / Front Page

U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine meets with local businesswomen

By Greg Pearson
STAFF WRITER


During a Midlothian event last week, U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine posed with Judy Bailey (far right) and Elvira Shaw, whom he has known since he was a member of Richmond’s City Council. 
Kaine for Virginia During a Midlothian event last week, U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine posed with Judy Bailey (far right) and Elvira Shaw, whom he has known since he was a member of Richmond’s City Council. Kaine for Virginia The meeting in a local attorney’s office last week was billed as an opportunity to hear Democratic senatorial candidate Tim Kaine speak about business opportunities for women, but the event turned into a campaign rally.

After an hour the only male present – a former Republican who lives in Woodlake – summed up the group’s consensus by asking: “What do we have to do to get you elected?”

The rest of the participants, 20 women mostly from Chesterfield who were crammed into the conference room, applauded. Many of them expressed concern about what they described as Republican divisiveness on budgetary and social issues at both the state and national levels.

A former mayor of Richmond, Kaine was elected lieutenant governor in 2001 and governor in 2005. He is now the democratic candidate for the U. S. Senate seat being vacated by Jim Webb (D-Va.).

The likely Republican candidate is former Gov. George Allen, who has yet to officially claim the mantle because of his Republican challengers. Following his 1994-1998 term in the governor’s mansion, Allen was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000 but was upset in his re-election bid by Webb six years later.

Kaine said that although Republicans typically carry Chesterfield County by 20,000 votes, he lost the gubernatorial vote in the county by only 8,000 votes. “I knew then,” he said, “I’m going to be the next governor.”

“My race and the race for the president will be very close in Virginia [this fall],” he told those assembled, adding that “Republicans have already run $2 million of televisions ads against me.”

Kaine emphasized familiar Democratic themes – education, the environment and protecting Medicare and Social Security. He proclaimed himself “energized by talking to citizens about their concerns.”

Several citizens expressed belief that if Republicans are in charge, popular programs that they rely on would be cut to balance the budget.

“Social Security needs adjustments and tweaks” but not major changes, Kaine acknowledged. “Privatizing Social Security would be a disaster.”

Kaine emphasized three strategies to improve the economy. To achieve growth, he wants the federal government to “level the playing field for small businesses.” Small businesses create about two-thirds of new jobs, and he said large companies like General Electric have lobbyists working on their behalf.

Kaine said he would advocate for “talent strategies” intended to keep college education affordable and aid veterans after their active duty ends. “If you win the talent race, you win the economic race.”

He pledged to “balance” budgetary needs with the necessary services provided by government.

“Why should we do the social things that divide us?” he asked. “The social issues are divisive and you polarize people.”

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