Doug Jones, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, is a friend of Hillary Clinton’s pick for vice-president, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. Weld correspondent Linda Verin, who is spending the week at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, talked to Jones about Kaine, who he met through a mutual acquaintance who now works with the senator.
As head of the Democratic National Committee, Kaine visited Birmingham and had dinner with Jones, who along with his wife Louise hosted a fundraiser in Birmingham in 2012 for Kaine’s Senate run. Jones believes Kaine to be the right running mate for Clinton’s run for the presidency.
Weld: Some Bernie Sanders supporters feel Kaine is too middle of the road; what do you think?
Doug Jones: Everything is relative. Tim is progressive enough to have a big impact on the ticket and the election. Every election is about contrast; compare Mike Pence, the Republican’s choice, to Tim Kaine, the Democratic choice for V.P. By those standards he is super progressive. The Rolling Stones sang, “You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometime you find you get what you need.” Tim Kaine is exactly what our country needs. People are tired of the gridlock in D.C. Tim has clearly demonstrated the ability to work with both sides of the aisle. He continually works towards progress.
Weld: Senator Kaine serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee as well as the Foreign Relations Committee; that would seem to mimic Secretary Clinton’s experience. What additional experience does he bring to the table?
Jones: As Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.” Tim started as a city councilman in Richmond, Virginia; then mayor; then lieutenant governor; then governor; then senator. When Kaine was Virginia’s governor it was recognized as one of the best run states in the country. As a governor you focus on a domestic agenda — jobs and education. That’s the bulk of his political experience. He has never lost an election which is certainly a testament to his abilities and service. I believe he and Mark Warner both had a huge influence in keeping Virginia purple.
Weld: Have you ever talked to Tim Kaine about his faith?
Jones: You see him live it everyday; no need to ask. He is a true public servant. How many Harvard Law School students would take a year off to work as a missionary in Honduras? After graduating, instead of joining a prestigious law firm, how many would pursue civil rights work and housing discrimination cases? Personally he is against abortion but has the highest ranking from Planned Parenthood because he strongly believes he doesn’t get to decide for other people.
Weld: Will Kaine be able to stand up to Clinton if he disagrees?
Jones: He is not confrontational by nature but will definitely voice his opinion. At the end of the day, there is only one commander-in-chief. Like V.P.s Biden and Gore, Kaine will be a great second-in-command for Secretary Clinton.
Weld: Is Senator Kaine ready to be president?
Jones: In a word — yes.
Weld: Are you hoping for a job in the administration?
Jones: In a word — no.
Weld: “The boy is cleaner than the board of health,” said Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, Democratic political consultant [in regards to Kaine]. Please tell us something bad about Tim Kaine.
Jones: No one is perfect and no one will make everyone happy Attila the Hun looks reasonable next to Donald Trump. But Tim Kaine is the real deal. He’s an authentic good guy that really cares about the needy.