US presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has announced Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate in the 2016 race for the White House. “I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, Tim Kaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” she wrote in a tweet on Friday. The pair are expected to hit their first joint campaign event at a Miami, Florida, rally at noon on Saturday. They will speak at Florida International University, which is known for its heavily Hispanic body of students.
Kaine speaks fluent Spanish and will joint the former first lady in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) which starts on Monday. “Kaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it,” Clinton said of her VP, adding that making a difference through public service was Kaine’s guiding principle. Kaine was born in Minnesota and grew up in Kansas City. He left for Virginia after graduating from Harvard Law.
He endorsed President Barack Obama’s bid for the White House in 2008 and was among Obama’s top three VP choices that year along with incumbent Vice President Joe Biden and then-Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana. Upon taking office, Obama asked Kaine to head the DNC. He accepted the offer after serving his last year as governor in 2009 and presided over the DNC until 2011.
Kaine became a senator in the following year, and made a reputation for vocally criticizing Obama’s approach in Syria. Kaine has called for more aggressive no-fly zone policies over the war-torn country which has been grappling with foreign-backed militancy since 2011.
He is also the first senator to ever deliver “a full speech on the floor of the Senate in a language other than English,” according to the NPR. Last but not least, the senator represents a swing state which is critical for Clinton to win. He remains a popular politician among Virginia voters.