Vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine has connections to MU (Economics BA '79)

Jordan Yount

Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Tim Kaine, has served as a missionary, civil rights lawyer, teacher and elected official. He is one of 20 people in American history to have served as a mayor, governor and United States senator.

Born in Minnesota, Kaine grew up working in his father’s ironworking shop in Kansas City. He graduated from Rockhurst High School in Kansas City in 1976 before enrolling at MU. He received his BA in economics from the University of Missouri in 1979, completing his degree in three years.

Retired economics professor John Kuhlman received a letter from Kaine once he changed his major from journalism to economics after taking Kuhlman’s freshman course. In the letter, dated May 13, 1998, Kaine recalled something Kuhlman said on his first day of class.

“You told our small honors section that you took attendance and that you expected us all to be in class every day, absent emergencies,” Kaine wrote. “Your reason for the expectation was unique and memorable: ‘UMC is a state school. Part of the cost of you being here is paid by the taxes from people all around the state, many of whom will never go to college and might not be able to send their kids to college. You owe it to them to be serious about your studies.’ That statement, and the moral sense that it conveyed, made a significant impact on me, as did your later interest in my progress at UMC.”

Kaine later attended Harvard Law School and started his public service career by taking a year off from Harvard to run a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. After law school, he practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, specializing in the representation of people who had been denied housing due to their race or disability. He also began teaching part time at the University of Richmond in 1987.

Kaine was first elected to office in 1994, serving as a city councilmember and then mayor of Richmond. He became lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2002 and was inaugurated as Virginia’s 70th governor in 2006.

Kaine was elected to the Senate in 2012 and serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations, and Aging Committees. He is a founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, which focuses on improving access to CTE programs to ensure that students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the 21st century.

Kaine is married to Anne Holton, who serves as Virginia's Secretary of Education. The couple has three grown children. Kaine’s parents, Al and Kathleen Kaine, and his two younger brothers all live in the Kansas City area.