U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) visited Fauquier County’s Kettle Run High School in Nokesville, Monday, to talk to students about the three branches of government.
Kaine used timely political issues as a means to educate students about the political process. He spoke candidly with government students regarding his views on policy while leaving the politics of personality out of the discussion.
Kaine, Virginia’s Junior Senator, is well acquainted with the various branches of government. He served as governor of Virginia’s governor from 2006-2010, and just recently ran for Vice Presidential run on the Democratic ticket alongside popular vote winner Hillary Clinton.
As senator Kaine serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations Committees as well as various subcommittees, providing him with in-depth knowledge in those areas.
Kaine made the 1:30 p.m. visit on Mar. 20 while on route to other appointments in Northern Virginia. His other Monday appointments included a meeting with Metro’s general manager in Alexandria and Federal employees of National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington.
During the Kettle Run assembly, Jacob Bennington, the government teacher at Kettle Run High School who invited Kaine to talk to his classes, began by asking Kaine questions his students had submitted. Kaine later called upon several students and took their questions as well.
Students asked Kaine questions about many hot-button issues.
One of most timely concerned was the possible confirmation of Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kaine acknowledged this is a controversial topic since Republicans denied President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland his hearing.
Kaine told students that most Democrats would give Gorsuch fair consideration, and he will likely be confirmed if he proves himself to be a “moderate” and not an “activist” judge. He told students Supreme Court Justices require 60 percent confirmation by the Senate since they serve for life.
When asked if Mitch McConnel could choose to use the “nuclear option” and change the rules of confirmation to a simple majority vote, Kaine said it is a possibility.
“That would be bad for us [Democrats] in the short term, but may not be bad in the long term,” he said.
Kaine addressed strong borders and illegal immigration with a moderate stance. He said stronger protection is necessary; however, he would prefer increased security and surveillance at the U.S./Mexico Border rather than building a wall.
Showing concern for refugees, Kaine described the war in Syria as the “worst humanitarian crisis since WWII.”
“The atrocities that these poor folks have suffered is just unbelievable [and to deny them entry to the nation, considering them no different from ISIS] stands against I believe in and everything I think the country stands for,” Kaine said.
Not a fan of the Republican proposed health care bill, Kaine said it would be “a disaster just to repeal” the Affordable Care Act [a.k.a. ACA or Obamacare] even though it is not perfect. Kaine said 14 million Americans are predicted to lose their health care under the Republican plan.
In response to a question about international affairs, Kaine told students diplomacy is very important in preventing wars and terrorist attacks. He believes the U.S. should work closely with its allies.
Showing strong support for climate science, Kaine said he could not vote to confirm any cabinet member who does not believe in the science of climate change to a position of scientific importance, such as the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency.]
“That’s just going to be a strike out with me…we have to acknowledge the science,” he said.
Kaine said his goal is for going green is to be “cleaner tomorrow than today.” He expects “America’s great companies” can create more innovative technologies, and the government we can take advantage of cleaner energy alternatives that exist today such as wind, solar, hydro and cleaner fossil fuels.
When asked what he thought of Hillary Clinton, and how she was maligned during the campaign, Kaine said he was very impressed by her consistent focus on families and children throughout her entire political career.
He said that while HRC was often characterized in a negative light, Gallup polls have her listed as the most admired woman in the nation more than often any other woman.
Kaine stayed a few minutes to chat with students and take photos with them. Sen. Kaine told a reporter that he enjoys talking to students and the former law professor in him misses being in the classroom.
Kaine told Bristow Beat he is not a fan of Prince William’s Chairman-at-Large Corey Stewart’s approach to cracking down on criminal illegal immigration via involving the local police.
Kaine said he thinks it is good policy that ICE [Immigration Customs Enforcement] be contacted when undocumented immigrants are arrested, but would not want local police to act as ICE agents.
© 2017, Stacy Shaw. All rights reserved.