Irish Americans are excited that Senator Tim Kaine has become the nominee for Vice President. The President of Irish American Democrats, Stella O'Leary, spoke today about Kaine with Ted Smyth, Co-Editor of Voices4Hillary.

Why are you so excited about Tim Kaine? Isn't he meant to be boring?

"Tim has the best qualities of the Irish, with none of the bad ones that I can determine, such as being boring! He has a strong social conscience, is modest, sincere and serious, but doesn't take himself seriously. He works hard, has family values and, of course, plays in a bluegrass band. He was the honoree of the American Ireland Fund in Washington in March and his acceptance speech was all the more entertaining because he played the harmonica in the middle of it. Who else makes speeches that entertaining? Maybe Bill Clinton, but he's also Irish! "

(Editor's note, bluegrass has its roots in Irish and Scottish traditional music brought by immigrants to Appalachia in the 18th and 19th centuries.)

Which other political leader does he remind you of?

" Tim most reminds me of FDR, because of his compassion for ordinary men and women and for believing in capitalism with a heart. Of course, he also has John Kennedy's charm. He is the perfect leader to be on the ticket with Hillary, fully supportive of her progressive policies to level the playing field for the hollowed out middle class."

What sort of Vice President will Kaine be?

"Tim is uniquely qualified to be Vice President. You saw how effective he was at the convention tonight in extolling Hillary and taking down Trump. He had the crowd with him mocking Trump's refrain, "Believe me." He has executive experience as a former Governor of a thriving, fast-growing state. He is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Most important, he is trusted by Hillary Clinton and he will have her back in the tough times ahead. And to cap it all, President Obama said at Philadelphia that 'Tim is as good a man, as humble and committed a public servant as anyone I've ever known."

Kaine has famously never lost an election and is liked by people on all sides. What's his secret?

"People appreciate Tim's sincerity and the fact he wears his virtue lightly. He has the courage of his convictions, but he also is tolerant of other strongly held views. For example, he's personally against abortion but is a firm supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make their own reproductive decisions. But when it comes to civil rights and equality of opportunity, Tim is a fighter. As the old Irish saying goes, he doesn't start fights, but always finishes them,

"Tim is also popular with folks because he can tell a story like an Irish seanchai; it doesn't matter if you've heard it before, the pleasure lies in the beautiful way he tells it."

How Irish is Tim Kaine?

"He is very proud of his Irish roots as he will tell anyone who will listen to him! He visited Ireland in 2006 with his wife and three children to find the ruins of the home where his great-grandfather, PJ Farrell, was born. At the American Ireland Fund event, he said that before he went to Ireland, the Irish connection was family stories, genealogy, Roman Catholicism and music and St Patrick's Day. Since he became a Governor and Senator Tim has supported Irish American causes like immigration reform and peace in Ireland. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he supports the International Fund for Ireland which has sent $500 million to Ireland since 1986 to support peace.


July 27, 2016

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