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2016 Democratic National Convention
Speech by Tim Kaine

July 27, 2016

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine made his solo national debut as Hillary Clintonís running mate at the Democratic national convention Wednesday, sharing his life story and attacking Donald Trump.

Thank you everybody. Hello, Philadelphia!

Hello Democratic families.

I want to start off by thanking my beautiful wife and my three wonderful children, Nat, Woody, and Annella. They are sitting right up there.

You Know my son, Nat, deployed with his Marine battalion just two days ago.

He deployed overseas to protect and defend the very NATO allies that Donald Trump says he now wants to abandon.

Semper fi, Nat! Semper fi!

My parents and my in-laws are here. Our siblings and their spouses. Our nieces and nephews, and hundreds of friends from Virginia and beyond.

I love seeing you front and center. Including my friend of 37 years, senior Senator Mark Warner. My great Governor Terry McAuliffe.

And my great friend and Congressman Bobby Scott.

We love you all.

Today, for my wife Anne and every strong woman in this country, for Nat, Woody, and Annella, and every young person starting out in life to make their own dreams real, for every man and woman serving our country in the military at home or abroad, for every working family working hard to get ahead and stay ahead, for my parents and in-laws and every senior citizen who hopes for a dignified retirement with health care and research to end diseases like Alzheimerís.

For every American who wants our country to be a beloved community where people are not demeaned because of who they are but rather respected for their contributions to this nation, and for all of us who know that the brightest future for our country is the one that we build together, and for my friend, Hillary Clinton, I humbly accept my partyís nomination to be vice president of the United States.

Thank you.

Can I be honest with you about something? Can I be honest with you about something? I never expected to be here. But let me tell you how it happened, I was born in Minnesota and grew up in Kansas City.

My folks were not much into politics. My dad ran a union iron- working shop in the stockyards.

And my mom was his best salesman. My two brothers and I pitched in to work during summers and weekends. And, you know, that is how small family businesses do it.

My parents, Al and Kathy, here tonight and going strong, they taught me about hard work and about kindness and most especially, about faith. I went to a Jesuit boys high school, Rockhurst High School.

Wow, thatís a big line for the Jesuits.

Now we had a motto in my school, ďmen for others.Ē And it was there that my faith became something vital. My north star for orienting my life. And when I left high school, I knew that I wanted to battle for social justice.

Like so many of you. Like so many of you.

That is why I took a year off from law school to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. I taught kids how to be welders and carpenters, faith, family, and work. Faith, family, and work.

And let me tell you what really struck me there, I got a firsthand look at a different system. A dictatorship. A dictatorship where a few people at the top had all the power and everybody else got left out.

Now that convinced me that we have got to advance opportunity for everybody, no matter where you come from, how much money you have, what you look like, how you worship or who you love.

Back in 1970, in Virginia, a Republican governor named Linwood Holton believed exactly the same thing. He integrated Virginiaís public schools so that black and white kids could finally learn together. And then the family enrolled their own kids, including his daughter, Anne, in those integrated inner city schools.

Many years later Anne went off to college and she brought those lessons from that pivotal time with her. And then one day, in a study group, she met this goofy guy who had been off teaching kids in Honduras.

Well, Anne and I have now been married almost 32 years and I am the luckiest husband in the world.

You know, let me tell you something, Anneís parents, Lin and Jinks, are here today, 90-plus and going strong.

Ninety-plus and going strong. Linwood Holton, he is still a Republican but he is voting for an awful lot of Democrats these days. An awful lot of Democrats.

And here is why, he is voting for Democrats because any party that would nominate Donald Trump for president has moved too far away from his party of Lincoln.

And Iíll tell you, if any of you are looking for that party of Lincoln, we have got a home for you right here in the Democratic Party.

Linwoodís example helped inspire me as a civil rights lawyer. Over 17 years I took on banks, landlords, real estate firms, local governments, anybody who treated anybody unfairly.

I had a six-year case against an insurance company that was discriminating against minority neighborhoods all across the United States in issuing homeownerís insurance.

Folks, Democratic friends, these are the battles that I have fought my entire life.

And that is the story ó and that is the story of how I decided to run for office. My city of Richmond was divided and discouraged in the early 1990s. We had an epidemic of gun violence that was overwhelming our low-income neighborhoods.

People were pointing fingers and casting blame instead of finding answers. And I couldnít stand it. So I ran for city council and I won that first race more than 20 years ago by a landslide margin of 94 votes.

And Iíve said ever since, if Iím good at anything in politics, itís because I started at the local level listening to people, learning about their lives, and trying to get results. I see a mayor here who knows what Iím talking about.

Later I became mayor of Richmond, lieutenant governor, and then the 70th governor of Virginia.

Now, I was a hard times governor. I had to steer my state through the deepest recession since the 1930s. But hey, tough times donít last and tough people do. And can I tell you that Virginians are tough people? We are tough people.

And we are smart, too . We achieved national recognition for our work, best-managed state, best state for business, best state for a child to be raised, low unemployment, high median income.

We shed tears along the way. We shed tears especially together in the days after that horrible mass shooting at Virginia Tech that killed 32 people from beautiful 19-year-old students to 70-plus-year- old Romanian-born Holocaust survivors, and we shed tears and held each other up, but afterwards we rolled up our sleeves and we fixed the loophole in the background record check system so that we could make our commonwealth safer. And we got have to do that in the nation.

We invested in our people expanding pre-K and higher ed., because we all know in this room that education is the key to all we want to be, all we want to be.

And now I have the honor of representing my commonwealth in the U.S. Senate. I work on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees to keep us safe at home and strong in the world.

I work on the Budget Committee with our great Democratic leader of that committee, a spectacular senator who used to be a mayor, Vermontís Bernie Sanders.

And, everybody, we all should feel the Bern and we all should not want to get burned by the other guy.

On that Budget Committee under Bernieís leadership, we fight for investments in education, health care, research, transportation. And I also serve on the Aging Committee to make sure that seniors like my folks have a secure retirement and donít get targeted by rip-off artists who will scam them out of their savings or overcharge them for prescription drugs.

Can I tell you a funny thing about the Senate? Can I tell you a funny thing about the Senate?

That sounds like a yes. I spend a lot of time with Republican senators who, once they have made sure that nobody is listening, will tell you how fantastic a senator that Hillary Clinton was.

Now, look, this journey that Iíve told you about has convinced me, has convinced me over and over again that God has created in our country a beautiful and rich tapestry, an incredible cultural diversity that succeeds when we embrace everybody in love and battle back against the forces, the dark forces of division.

We are all neighbors. And we must love neighbors as ourselves.

Now Hillary Clinton and I are companeros de alma.

And we share this basic belief, itís simple. Do all the good you can and serve one another. Pretty simple. Pretty simple.

That is what Iím about. That is what you are about. That is what Bernie Sanders is about. That is what Joe and Jill Biden are about. That is what Barack and Michelle Obama are about. And that is what Hillary Clinton is about.

Si se puede, si se puede, si se puede.

Yes we can. Yes we can. Yes we can.

Hey, last week, last week in Cleveland we heard a lot about trust. So letís talk about trust. Letís talk about trust. I want to tell you why I trust Hillary Clinton.

First, sheís consistent. She has battled to put kids and families first since she was a teenager. In good times and bad. In victory and defeat. In and out of office.

Through hell or high water, fighting for underprivileged kids working at the Childrenís Defense Fund. Fighting to get health insurance for 8 million low-income children when she was first lady. Fighting for the well-being of women and children around the world. Hey, can offer you a little tip? When you want to know something about the character of somebody in public life, look to see if they have a passion that began long before they were in office, and that they have consistently held it throughout their career.

Do they have a passion? Did it start before they were in office? Have they held on to it consistently? Folks, Hillary has a passion for kids and families.

Donald Trump has a passion too, itís himself.

And with Hillary, it is not just words, itís accomplishments. She delivers. As senator, after 9/11 I got my New Yorkers right here and my Virginians right here. She battled ó she battled congressional Republicans to care for the first responders who went in to the Towers, who went in to the Pentagon and saved the victims of those terrorist attacks.

As secretary of state, she implemented tough sanctions against Iran to pave the way for a diplomatic breakthrough to curtail a nuclear weapons program. And she wasnít afraid, she wasnít afraid. She was not afraid to stand up against thugs and dictators, and as a key part of the Obama national security team, they decided to go to the ends of the earth to wipe out Osama bin Laden.

Hey, do you all remember Carla (ph), the little girl that we heard from on Monday night, who was worried that her parents would be deported? Carla said she trusts Hillary to keep them together.

And do you remember the Mothers of the Movement last night?

They said they trust Hillary to keep other mothersí sons and daughters safe.

And on a personal level, as he is serving our nation abroad, I trust Hillary Clinton with our sonís life.

Now you know who I donít trust? Hmm, I wonder. Donald Trump. Donald Trump. Trump is a guy who promises a lot but, you may have noticed, he has got a way of saying the same two words every time he makes his biggest, hugest promises.

ďBelieve me.Ē Itís going to be great, believe me. We are going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for, believe me.

We are going to destroy ISIS so fast, believe me.

There is nothing suspicious and my tax returns, believe me.

By the way, does anybody in this massive auditorium believe that Donald Trump has been paying his fair share of taxes?

Does anybody here believe that Trump ought to release his tax returns just like every other presidential candidate in modern history?

Of course he should. Hey, Donald, what are you hiding? And yet, Donald still says, believe me. Believe me.

Believe me? Believe me? I mean, hereís the thing, most people when they run for president, they donít just say, believe me, they respect you enough to tell you how they will get things done.

I mean, that is what most people who run for president do. In fact, you can go on hillaryclinton.com right now and find out exactly how she will make the biggest investment in new jobs in a generation.

How she will defend and build on Wall Street reform. How she will reform our immigration system to create a path to citizenship. How she will make it possible to graduate from college debt-free.

You can see how she will protect Roe V. Wade, guarantee equal pay for women, and make paid family leave a reality.

All it takes is one click. All it takes is one click. And we can see how she will do it, how she will pay for it, and how we will benefit by it.

Not Donald Trump. Not Donald Trump. He never tells you how he is going to do any of the things he says he will do. He just says, believe me.

So hereís the question, hereís the question, do you really believe him?

I mean, Donald Trumpís whole career says you had better not. Small contractors, companies just like my dadís believed him, believed him when he said that he would pay them to build a casino in Atlantic City.

They do the work. They hung the drywall. They poured the concrete. But a year after opening, Trump filed for bankruptcy, he walked away with millions, and they got pennies on the dollar.

Some of them went out of business. All because they believed Donald Trump.

Retirees and families in Florida, they believed Donald Trump when he said that he would build up some condos. Thousands of them. They paid their deposits but the condos, they were never built. He just pocketed their money and walked away.

They lost tens of thousands of dollars all because they believed Donald Trump. Charity after charity believed Donald Trump when he said they would contribute to them. And thousands of Trump University students believed Donald Trump when he said he would help them succeed.

They got stiffed.

He says, believe me. Well, his creditors, his contractors, his laid-off employees, and his ripped-off students did just that and they all got hurt.

Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trumpís mouth.

Not one word. Not one word. Not one word.

Not one word! Not one word! Not one word!

And I will tell you, and I will tell you, to me, it just seems like our nation, it is just too great to put in the hands of a slick-talking, empty-promising, self-promoting one-man wrecking crew.

But donít take it from me, donít take it from me. Take it from former first lady Barbara Bush. Barbara Bush said she doesnít know how any woman could vote for him after his offensive comments about women.

Any woman. Any woman. Or John McCainís chief economic adviser during the í08 race, who estimates that Donald Trumpís promises would cause America to lose 3.5 million jobs.

Or the independent analysts who found that Trumpís tax plan given to the wealthy and the biggest corporations would rack up $30 trillion in debt.

Or how about this? How about this? John Kasich, the Republican governor who had the honor of hosting the Republican Convention in Cleveland, but he wouldnít even attend it because he thinks Donald Trump is such a moral disaster.

Or take it from the guy who co-wrote Donald Trumpís autobiography, here is what he said about Trump, quote, ďlying is second nature to him.Ē So do you believe him?

I donít know, how about on this side, do you guys believe him?

I mean, do you guys believe him?

Is there anyone in this building who believes him?

The next president will face many challenges, we had better elect a candidate who has proven she can be trusted with the job.

The candidate who has proven that she is ready for the job. And when I say ready, I use ready for a specific reason. When I lived in Honduras, I learned something. The best compliment that you could pay to somebody was to say that they were listo. Ready. Not inteligente, smart. Not amiable, friendly. Not rico, rich. But listo, listo.

Because what listo means in Spanish is this, it means prepared, it means battle-tested, it means rock solid, up for anything, never backing down. And, friends, Hillary Clinton, she is listo!

Hillary Clinton is listo.

She is ready. She is ready, she is ready because of her faith. She is because of her heart. She is ready because of her experience. And she is ready because she knows that in America, we are stronger when we are together.

My fellow Democrats, this week we start the next chapter in our great and proud story. Thomas disclaimed all men were equal and Abigail remembered the women. Woodrow brokered the peace and Eleanor broke down the barriers. Jack told us what to ask and Lyndon answered the call.

Martin had a dream and Cesar y Dolores said si se puede. And Harvey gave his life. Bill, Bill built a bridge into the 21st Century and Barack gave us hope. And now Hillary is ready! She is ready to fight! She is ready to win! And she is ready to lead!

God bless all of you, onto victory. And thank you, Philadelphia!