Tim Kaine Has Strong Ties To Jewish Community

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary Clinton's apparent choice for running mate, has close relations with the Jewish community in his state and a solid record of support for Israel and on domestic and foreign policy issues. 

 “During both his tenure at Governor and a US Senator, Time Kaine has been a strong reliable friend of Israel who is very sympathetic to the security and political challenges Israel faces,” said Ronald Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. "He has been a strong supporter of our domestic agenda including support for our most vulnerable citizens and church/state separation.”

That won't stop critics on the far right from excoriating him for joining other Democrats and several Jewish members of Congress from boycotting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech attacking the Iran agreement. But it won't work.

Kaine has visited Israel several times, dating back to his time as governor of Virginia. He returned from his 2009 trip as governor with "a deep appreciation of Israel's economic success and supportive of the strong economic relationship between Israel and Virginia," reported the JCRC.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees he has visited Israel each of the past three years. He has solid foreign policy and national security credentials.  He is also a member of the Budget Committee. In the Senate he is a strong advocate of bipartisan cooperation, working across the aisle on critical issues like immigration reform

His center-left record is in stark contrast with that of Gov. Mike Pence, his Republican opposite number, who is as hardline, tea party conservative.

Kaine, 58, is a former mayor of Richmond, a Roman Catholic and a Harvard Law graduate.  He is a political moderate, which may give some heartburn to his party's progressive wing but compensation would be found in his appeal to independents and swing voters in battleground states.  He is fluent in Spanish.  Unlike Clinton, who admits she is not a natural politician like her husband, Kaine's warm and engaging style should be another asset.

He was a top contender for running mate by candidate Barack Obama in 2008; when that didn't work out he was named chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009-2011.  He was reportedly former President Bill Clinton's first choice for Hillary's running mate.  

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.