Tim Kaine photo

Remarks Accepting Hillary Clinton's Nomination as the Democratic Nominee for Vice President in Miami, Florida

July 23, 2016

Hey, guys, thank you. Hello, Miami. Hello, FIU. [speaking in Spanish] [cheers and applause]

I am feeling a lot of things today. Most of all, gratitude. [applause]

I'm grateful to you, Hillary, for the trust you placed in me, and we are going to be—[speaking in Spanish] [cheers and applause]

I am grateful to the country who has given me so much. I am grateful to all of you Floridians, Virginians, all Americans for their hearts into this wonderful, wonderful campaign. [cheers and applause]

And today, like every day, I am especially grateful to my wife, ann. [applause] I love you, honey. I love you, honey. And to my three beautiful kids. I am the luckiest dad, and the luckiest has been in the world.—husband in the world. [cheers and applause] this is quite a week for me. Believe it or not, for as powerful as it is to become Hillary Clinton's running mate, that is not the only thing on my mind this week. Our oldest son is here today with his fiancée. He is a proud marine. [applause] and in just a few days you will be deploying to Europe to oh hold—uphold America's commitment to our allies. [applause]

Nearly 2 million men and women put their lives on the line for this country as active duty, as reserves, as guard members. They deserve a commander and chief with the experience and temperament to lead. [applause]

What is—what does Donald Trump say about is great Americans, these 2 million? He repeatedly calls the American military, "a disaster." [booing] and he said that as president he would continue turning America back on our decades old commitments to our allies. [booing]

And all of you remember a few months ago what you said about a senate colleague, a senator, john McCain, that he was not a hero because he was captured and is served as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. And he wants to be commander-in-chief. While our service members are out there on the front lines, Donald Trump is saying he would leave allies at the mercy of an aggressive Russia—that is an open invitation to Vladimir Putin to roll in. Even a lot of republicans say that that is terribly dangerous. Ok, I am hiring for the speech writing team. We have seen again and again, when Donald Trump says he has your back you better watch out. [applause]

From Atlantic city to his so-called university, he leaves a trail of broken promises and lies wherever he goes. [applause] we cannot afford to let him do the same thing to our country. And folks, we do not have to because Hillary Clinton is the direct opposite of Donald Trump. [applause and chants of "Hillary", "Hillary"]

Hillary Clinton—Hillary Clinton, she does not insult people, she listens to them. What a novel concept, right? She does not trash our allies, she respects them. And she will always have our back, that is something I am rock solid sure of. [applause]

And I know that because Hillary knows that we are stronger together. We are stronger when we work together, when we pull together, when we live in the same neighborhood and we go to go—go to school together, and when we are together we are stronger. So, I could not be anymore honored to stand by Hillary's side in this very important campaign.

Unidentified speaker. We love you. [applause]

Senator Kaine. I spent most of my life in public service because I believe in doing everything I can to make a positive difference in people's lives. I can see a lot of you out there who feel the same way. Exactly the same way. I am one of only 20 people in American history to serve as a mayor, governor, and a US Senator. [applause]

So I have been able to see how government works and how sometimes it does not, just from every perspective. And I have always believed that however you serve, what matters is if you actually deliver results for people. And that has been my goal. That has been my goal in every position I have ever held. Now I know that for a lot of you this might be the first time you are hearing me speak. Let me be honest, for many of you this is the first time you have heard my name. [laughter]

That is ok call because I am excited for us to get to know one another. Today I thought I might tell you about me and where I come from. [applause]

Vice president was never a job I thought about growing up in Kansas. Like a lot of people in Kansas city, my parents were not that into politics. Church, the Kansas city royals, that is what we spent time talking about. They had too much going on. My father ran a union organized shop in Kansas city. And my mom, in addition to all the challenges that my two brothers and me were, she was a saleswoman. That hard-working business was tough, the kind of job where he cannot cut corners if you are not careful you can make one mistake and ruin a lot of work in an instant. I learned that working in my dad's shot. My brothers and I extend.—pitched in. My dad would wake us up and say, I need you guys. The last day of summer vacation once, I was so looking for to sleeping in and I felt that he on my shoulder at about—hand on my shoulder at about 6:00 a.m.. And I—but that is what we would do. We would try to get the work done before the day got hot. That is what families do. [applause]

My parents, they are alive and healthy and happy today, 81 years old. They taught me early lessons that have guided my life. The importance of hard work. Of faith and kindness and following your dreams. My mom was not much of a lecture. She would live and we would follow the example. But she wants told me, you need to decide if you want to be right or do right. If you want to be right, go ahead and be a pessimist. If you want to do right, the an optimist. And I have been an optimist ever since. [applause]

I went to a Jesuit school. It was in Kansas city. Ok, some Jesuits in the audience. I like that. The motto was "men for others," and that is what we were taught. And that is our faith, which is important to me, and it grew into something more viable. It became like my north star, my organizing principle for what I wanted to do. Even as a young man, I knew I wanted to do something to devote myself to social justice. And and that is why after raising to the university of Missouri and starting at Harvard law school, I decided to take a year off to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries and hunt doors.

[speaking in Spanish] [applause]

When I got to hunt doors, my recently—Honduras, the experience of working in my dad' shop was helpful and they helped me learn Spanish. And I tell you. My time in that country changed my life in so many ways.

[speaking in Spanish] [applause]

Here is something that really stuck with me. I got a firsthand look at a system, this is 1980 and 1981, it dictatorship where a few folks had all the power and everybody else got left behind. And it convinced me that we're got to advance opportunity and equality for everybody, no matter where they come from, how much money they have, what they look like. What accent may have or who they love. [applause]

In 1970, a Republican governor of Virginia believed exactly the same thing. The integrated Virginia public schools after the state had fought for 16 years after brown v board to keep them in segregated. [applause]

In 1970 in Virginia, that took political courage, and then he and his wife went even further. They enrolled their own kids, including their daughter Anne in integrated schools and sent a strong signal to the people of Virginia that their governor was not going to back down, was not going to make rules for others that he would not follow for himself. [cheers and applause] so, many years later that young girl went to Princeton, went to law school guided by her , experience, and one day in a study group, she met kind of a nerdy guy who had been out teaching kids in Honduras. Anne and I got married over 30 years ago in Richmond, Virginia. [applause]

That is the parish that we still belong to today. Hey, St. E's folks, we will be there at 9:00 a.m. Tomorrow. Marrying Anne was the best decision of my life. And—in my right—am I right? And it turns out she actually learned negotiation better than I did in law school. We settled down and we started a family and we sent our kids to those same public schools that her father had opened up to everybody. [cheers and applause] including one school that I helped build when I was mayor that we named after their civil rights hero grandfather. Now, his example helped expire—inspire me to represent people that were turned away from housing either because of the color of their skin or because they were an American with a disability. This was my civil rights work for 17 years. I brought dozens of lawsuits in private practice, battling banks, landlords, insurance companies, and even local government. That had treated people unfairly. In 1998, I won a historic verdict against an insurance company because they have been redlining minority neighborhoods, treating them unfairly in the issue of homeowners insurance. At the time I won that case, it was the biggest jury verdict in a civil rights case in American history. I like to fight for rights. [applause]

I like to fight for rights. And I found myself going to city council meetings to raise the issues I was dealing with on behalf of my clients. But I was frustrated by the division and infighting, so in 1994, I did something that seems even crazier than what I am doing now. [laughter]

I decided to run for office. Man, I was so scared, but I wanted to help my city and community. I knocked on every door. I won by 94 votes, the first of many nail biter's and squeakers. And as I often said, if I am good at anything in public life, it is because I started at the local level listening to people, learning about their lives, and finding a consensus to solve the problem. [applause]

In the years that followed, I became mayor of Richmond. I was elected lieutenant governor, and in 2006 I became the 70th governor of Virginia. When we moved into the governor's mansion after the inauguration, my wife became the only person who ever lived there first as a child and then as an adult. [cheers] we had to make tough decisions when I was in office, because it was the deepest recession since the 1930's, but that did not stop us from expanding early childhood education, from building more classrooms and facilities on our college campuses so that more can go to school—because we knew that education was a key to everything we wanted to achieve as a state and it is the key to , everything we want to achieve as a nation. We invested in open space preservation and cleaning up the Chesapeake bay, because our kids and grandkids deserve to enjoy the beautiful commonwealth that we love, just like you love the beauty of your sunshine state. [applause]

And we achieved national recognition for our work in tough times. When I was governor of Virginia, this—best state in America, it allowed a child to have a successful life, best date for business, one of the lowest unemployment rates, when of the highest bond ratings. I am proud to carry that work forward as a Virginia senator serving on the armed services, , foreign relations, and budget committees. They just added me to the aging committee. I do not know why they did that? [laughter] I am proud to support my wife's work. She is secretary of education for the, what of Virginia. And—[applause]

We are both so proud of our commonwealth and our great nation. Isn't it great already? Isn't it great already? What a great country. As I look back over these experiences, what I have learned is that god created a rich and beautiful tapestry in this country. It is a rainbow of cultural diversity that embraces all people—[applause]

Regardless of their race or economic status, regardless of their religion or gender, regardless of their sexual orientation or where they are from. We got this beautiful country that should be a country of wealth, a country of inclusion, and I know that that is a fundamental value that Hillary Clinton shares. You know? [applause]

I am a Catholic. And Hillary is a Methodist. And I know that her. Is—her creed is the same as mine. Be of service to one another. Now, that is a notion that Americans of every moral tradition believes in, and that is the message Hillary Clinton has taken to heart for her entire life. For her entire life. [applause]

Fighting for children and families, like when she was first lady, after she tried and a recalcitrant , congress blocked her with a big advance we needed on health care reform, she said, you know what? I am not stopping. Can we pass a program to provide health insurance to 8 million more children? And that is what she did. That is what she did. That is what she fought for. [cheers and applause] fighting for equal rights for African-Americans, for Latinos, for people with disabilities, for LGBT Americans. [applause]

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, fighting tenaciously to make sure that 9/11 first responders in new York and other localities would get health benefits. [applause]

Now, there are a lot of people who put their trust and faith in Hillary I'm a and—Hillary, and she has always delivered for them. Working for the children's defense fund, first lady of Arkansas, the senator, secretary of state, she has always delivered. [applause]

And—[chanting] and you know what? There is something you can tell about a great leader. She has not only delivered in the easy times, she has delivered in the tough times and when she is on the receiving end of one attack after another. She never back down. She never backs down. [applause]

Hillary, whatever the drama, the attack, the situation, she focuses on what matters—helping people. That is what keeps her going. This is how we will continue the work, with a strong, progressive agenda. [applause]

We are going to make the American economy work for everybody, not just those at the top. Not just those at the top. And we will do that by making the largest investment in good paying jobs since world war ii. [applause]

We will make college debt-free for everybody. [applause]

We will rewrite the rules so that companies share profits with workers rather than ship jobs overseas. And we will make sure that wall street operations and the wealthy—corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. [applause]

And while we're on the subject of taxes, where our Donald Trump—are Donald Trump's tax returns? [booing]

Raise your hands if you think that those returns will show that he paid his fair share of taxes. We will fight for equal pay for women and raising the minimum wage. To keep families together, to keep families together, and bring them out of the shadows in the first 100 days of our administration we will put forward a conference of immigration reform package that shows a path to citizenship. [applause]

[speaking in Spanish] [applause]

I will encourage you , if you have not done this, go to a naturalization service where people become citizens. How many of you—raise your hands if you have been a naturalized citizen. Thank you for choosing us. Thank you for choosing us. If you have not been to one of those services, it will be one of the most powerful things you have ever seen. After the oath is taken come oftentimes there is an open mic and people say why they have decided, this is why i have become a citizen of the U.S., and will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your face when you do what people think about the greatness of the united states of America. [applause] [chanting]

And when you go to one of these naturalization services and you see the people's desire to join this great country, you will basically have this pretty amazing thought.

[speaking in Spanish]

Anybody who loves America this much deserves to be here. [applause]

Now, there is one last part of Hillary's plan that means a lot to me personally, that is kind of emotional for me and I bet it is for you, how to stem the academic—epidemic of gun violence that kills thousands of Americans every year. As governor during one of the most horrible shootings in America's history, this issue is very close to my heart. Very close to my heart. And I know that many of you here feel exactly the same way after that tragic shooting in Orlando in June. [applause]

We can do better, folks. We can do better. It was in April of 2007, about halfway through my time as governor, I had just arrived in japan on a trade mission to bring jobs back to japan. I fell asleep in my hotel and the head of my security detail said, turn on the to, there is a horrible shooting underway at Virginia tech, this wonderful college in Virginia. And as jetlagged as I was, I said take me back to the airport. I was getting my first plane home. And I want onto that—walked onto that campus and I knew that as a leader, I do not have any magic words to say that would take away the tragedy come at had to bring comfort to the families that had been killed, the students and professors that had been injured, and also to the first responders who had been there to help them. This—[applause]

April 16, 2007, that was the worst day of my life. It was the worst day of so many people's lives, and for the parents and loved ones of those kids and professors, that pain never goes away. Precious 17-year-olds, a 70 plus year old who was a holocaust survivor, that could survive the holocaust, who could survive the soviet takeover of his country, but who fell victim to gun violence because he blocked the door and told his students to climb out the window as his body was riddled with bullets. Survived the holocaust, the soviet takeover of his country and fell victim in Virginia to the poor—the horror of American gun violence. So the vast majority of Americans agree that we must adopt common sense measures. Hillary and I will not rest—will not rest, we will not rest. [applause]

Until—we will not rest. [chanting]

We will not rest until we get universal background checks and close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of terrorists, criminals, and those who should not have them. It is so easy. Gun owners want it. NRA members wanted. Americans want it. I know the NRA, the headquarters are in my state. They campaigned against me and every statewide race that I have ever run, but I never lost an election. I never lost an election. [applause]

I do not mind powerful groups campaigning against me, that is like an extra cup of coffee to me. It gets me more excited. I am 8-0 and I promise I am not allowed—I am not about to let that change. Especially when Donald Trump stands in the way of progress on everything the one of these issues that Hillary has laid out in her campaign and many more. So now I am going to wrap this up. We are at a university, I can give a test, right? Three questions to ask yourself. One, do you want a you are fired president, or a you are hired president? Donald Trump is the you are fired guy. That is what he is known for. And when this election is done, that is one thing people were remember about this, is Donald Trump, you are fired. Bankrupting companies, shifting jobs overseas, shifting contractors, being against federal minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, these are your fire guys. We got the you are hired president. [applause]

Let's do debt-free college, let's build bridges and roads so people can have jobs. Let's go for equal pay and raise the minimum wage. Bring back the dignity and respect for work with the you are hired president. Ok, you are 1-1. Question two, do you want a trash talking president or a bridge building president?

Unidentified speaker: bridge building.

Of course you do, Donald Trump trash talks folks with disabilities, trash talks Mexican-Americans, whether they are new immigrants or governors of federal judges, he trash talks women, trash talks are allies, calls the military a disaster. You are right, he does not trash talk everybody. He likes Vladimir Putin. But this is a bridge builder presidents. [applause]

As a member of the armed services committee, built great ties with our military families. As secretary of state, made history building relationships across the world that are central to foreign policy, the treatment of women and children, that is what we need. She is a bridge builder. And last, ok Florida international, you are 2-2. Do you want a me first president or a kid and families first president? With Donald Trump it is me first. I will run a university that will take people's money and rip them off. Donald Trump, Donald Trump was in great Britain when they cast the Brexit vote to leave the EU and as the British pound, the unit of currency, getting pummeled, he said this could be good news for my golf course. Me first. [booing]

But we have a kids and families first President. [applause] who from her earliest days has been—I will tell you something, I will tell you a secret about this—about us in politics. If you want to judge somebody in politics, it is really simple. Look at their life and see if they have a passion in their life that they had long before they got into politics. A passion that is not about themselves, a passion about somebody else. And see if they have held onto that passion through thick and thin, and good times and bad, whether winning elections or lose elections, come hell or high water, look to see if they have a passion about somebody else and look to see if they have held onto it. That is character. That is our kids and families first, Hillary Clinton. [applause and chants of "Hillary", "Hillary"]

Ok, when I was a kid growing up my favorite president was another Kansas city guy, harry Truman. Great democratic president. And let me tell you something that harry Truman said that could have been written five minutes ago. He said it in the late 1940's and it is so well put. America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. That is so good. America was not built on fear. It was built on courage, on imagination, and on an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. Friends, Hillary Clinton—Hillary Clinton is filled with sachar is, that imagination, and that unbeatable determination and that is why we trust her to fight for all Americans. That is why it am—why I am with her. Are you with her? [applause]

That is why we are with her. These are tough times for many in our country club but we are tough people. That is something else I learned. Tough times do not last month but tough people do—last, but tough people do. And they do not come any tougher , or any more compassionate man Hillary Clinton—than Hillary Clinton. So let's make history and elect Hillary Clinton as the president of the united states. [applause]

Tim Kaine, Remarks Accepting Hillary Clinton's Nomination as the Democratic Nominee for Vice President in Miami, Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/317661

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