Virginia Tech shooting survivor among Tim Kaine’s debate invitees
RICHMOND, Va. — When Sen. Tim Kaine takes the debate stage Tuesday night, he’ll have some familiar faces backing him up in the audience.
Along with his, wife Anne Holton, and parents Al and Kathy Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee is bringing seven guests to the debate in Farmville, Virginia, to showcase a record in public service in in the state, with a particular emphasis on social justice.
Kaine’s debate night guests highlight the span of his career from fighting housing discrimination as a young civil rights lawyer to leading during the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy as governor. Here’s a look at who will be cheering him on tonight:
Lily Habtu, a Virginia Tech shooting survivor, has worked alongside Kaine on gun safety legislation. Kaine was governor during the mass shooting that killed 32 and injured 17, something he speaks about rarely on the campaign trail. After paying his respects at the site of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, an emotional Kaine said, “It’s a weird thing to say, but I always hoped that the Virginia Tech would be the worst one ever. As bad as that was, that nothing would ever eclipse it. But such is life. We got work to do.”
When Kaine was a newly-minted Richmond lawyer, he represented Professor Okianer Dark in a fair housing case. Dark, a law professor, was denied an apartment in Richmond due to her skin color. Housing discrimination, he wrote in August, was “the heart of my legal practice for many years” as he built a career in Richmond, and eliminating housing inequities is a campaign plan he feels particularly passionate about.
Carol Schall, Mary Townley and Emily Schall Townley
Carol Schall and Mary Townley were plaintiffs in the case that overturned Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. Emily is their daugter. Kaine has sharpened his attack on Mike Pence on his record on LGBT discrimination, something that could come up tonight. “Mike Pence is a guy who believes marriage equality will cause societal collapse. He ran a one-man crusade to allow Indiana businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans, yet Donald Trump saw this and thought, this is the person I want helping me govern this country,” he said last month at a Human Rights Campaign dinner.
Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.
Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson will be in the audience. He is a “personal friend” of Kaine’s, per a campaign official. Jackson also campaigned for Clinton at a voter registration event Tuesday at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Henry Marsh, the first African American mayor of Richmond, is a longtime mentor of Kaine since his time as a civil rights lawyer. Marsh endorsed Kaine’s 1998 bid for Richmond mayor in the majority-black city.