TIM KAINE WILL BUILD BRIDGES His track record of bipartisan leadership will help further the commonwealth’s best interest on Capitol Hill
On Election Day, Virginians will have the opportunity to vote for one of three candidates running for U.S. Senate: incumbent Tim Kaine (D), Corey Stewart (R) and Matt Waters (L).
Sen. Kaine has held the seat since 2013 and is joined on the ballot by Mr. Stewart, an international trade attorney serving his fourth term as chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, as well as Libertarian candidate, Mr. Waters, who is a Peninsula native and political fundraiser.
Sen. Kaine has the experience, acumen and temperament to represent Virginia, and he should be re-elected on Nov. 6.
His opponents both declined invitations to meet with this editorial board. That does not mean, however, the incumbent would have received our endorsement by default.
Refusing to sit down and discuss the issues in a nuanced fashion makes it nearly impossible to endorse any candidate. And, in fact, such dismissive stances are a disservice to the public they claim to want to represent.
Sen. Kaine chose to meet with editorial board members of both the Daily Press and its sister paper, the Virginian-Pilot in the latter’s Norfolk office.
The senator, and former Virginia governor, presents himself as “a bridge-builder, not a wallbuilder,” who has drafted legislation signed by presidents of both major parties.
He is now on the Senate Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Budget and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committees. They are all positions that give him a voice at the table when it comes to issues that affect Hampton Roads, including military, veterans affairs, sea level rise and the economy.
Sen. Kaine has used the past five years to work with colleagues of all political stripes, including Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., to fund a 355-ship Navy appropriation, and his legislation to boost military spouses’ employment opportunities was incorporated in the National Defense Authorization Act.
He isn’t just a party-line vote for the Democrats, either. He has continued to fight for Congress’ role in the authorization of military force, which put him on opposite sides of the issue with President Barack Obama.
If re-elected, Sen. Kaine will almost certainly return to a GOP-controlled Senate, meaning he will remain in the minority party. During our interview, he admitted he could improve relations with Ma- jority Leader Mitch McConnell. We urge him to continue working across the aisle if re-elected.
Bipartisan efforts to craft legislation agreeable to both parties will be needed to further reform healthcare and overhaul this country’s approach to immigration in the coming years.
The senator is right by saying immigration reform will ultimately help bolster our workforce and the economy. That is particularly true for farmers and watermen who rely on immigrant labor to fill out their employment rolls.
Sen. Kaine believes a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives — they need to flip 24 GOP-held seats on Nov. 6 to win the majority — could produce meaningful legislation on immigration reform, universal background checks for gun owners and an expansion of federal Pell grants that could be offered for career and technical courses. Those legislative pieces, he says, could be passed by the Senate and moved to the White House for the president’s signature.
We urge him to push for those reforms regardless of which party holds the majority in the upper and lower chambers of Congress.
The senator is the best-equipped candidate on the ballot to use a docent’s touch in making sure legislative efforts are guided through Congress and into to the White House. We are not convinced Messrs. Stewart or Waters are capable of acting in a similar fashion as one of Virginia’s two senators.
Some of our most pointed questions entering this election season surrounded the positions of Mr. Stewart, whose bombastic rhetoric concerning immigration, race relations and sexual harassment have garnered him nationwide headlines.
But can he explain how his nationalistic approach to politics will benefit the residents of Virginia? This board, and the residents of the Peninsula, were not given an opportunity to find out.
While we appreciate his thirst for public service, we cannot endorse Mr. Stewart in large part because we have not had the opportunity to talk to him about issues important to our readers, such as sea level rise, the military, veterans affairs and foreign economic relations.
Mr. Waters, in declining our request for an endorsement interview, made it a point to say his refusal was extended to every other member of the state’s Libertarian party running for public office. That decision seems to be antithetical to what public office is truly about.
Ultimately, Sen. Kaine presents the best choice for Virginia, and his approach to bridge-building will serve this commonwealth best over the next two years.