Clinton picks Kaine as running mate

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 25, 2016

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton tapped Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine to be her running mate today.

Many names have been floated in recent days as top contenders for the second spot on the Democratic ticket, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro

Clinton used Twitter to make it official, calling Kaine “a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it.”

Kaine, 58, is a Democratic centrist. He often speaks of his Catholic faith and learned Spanish during a mission trip to Latin America. His command of the language is seen as helping Clinton reach Hispanics.

On energy issues, Kaine has been a vocal supporter of President Obama’s efforts to deal with climate change. But some of his energy positions have angered environmentalists.

Kaine has spoken in favor of at least considering Atlantic offshore drilling, a position at odds with Clinton’s.

“I have long believed that the moratorium on offshore drilling, based on a cost-benefit calculation performed decades ago, should be re-examined,” Kaine said in a recent statement.

During his 2012 Senate run, energy advocates accused Kaine of supporting Obama’s so-called war on coal. Kaine said he supported research to burn coal cleaner and touted backing a “state of the art” plant in southwestern Virginia.

Since then, Kaine has co-sponsored legislation to boost the use of carbon capture and sequestration from coal-fired power plants. He has a League of Conservation Voters 91 percent lifetime score.

Tiernan Sittenfeld, LCV Action Fund government affairs senior vice president, said in a statement: “Awesome choice, Hillary! We’re thrilled that Hillary has picked Senator Tim Kaine to be her running mate.”

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune called the Clinton-Kaine team the “strongest environmental ticket we’ve ever seen.”

Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, questioned Kaine’s support of free trade agreements and predicted Republicans would attack him on the issue. Indeed, the Republican National Committee mentioned trade in an email about Kaine’s policies.

“Clinton should push the White House to take [the Trans-Pacific Partnership] off the table in a lame duck Congress in order to avoid this vice presidential pick allowing Donald Trump to outflank her on this key issue,” said Taylor.

May Boeve, director of 350 Action, was less enthusiastic. The group has long been skeptical of Clinton.

“Tim Kaine won’t energize the climate base, so it’s up to Hillary to start staking out some clearer positions,” she said. “Kaine was with us on Keystone XL, but against us on offshore drilling and fracking.”

Before becoming senator, Kaine was a popular governor of Virginia between 2006 and 2010. The state’s chief executives can serve only one term.

He has also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, lieutenant governor and mayor of Richmond. He was among the first prominent Democrats to endorse Obama for president in 2007.