Serving Virginians in the Senate

Published 10:09 pm Thursday, January 29, 2015

By Sen. Tim Kaine 

As a freshman senator, I came to Congress in 2013 as the new guy in town and was unsure of what to expect. Two years later, I’m proud of the work I’ve done for Virginia and eager to keep working across the aisle to tackle our nation’s challenges.

In my first two years in office, Congress passed my legislation to improve the credentialing process for servicemembers, which will help ease their transition to civilian employment. My bill with Congressman Rob Wittman to protect Civil War battlefields from encroaching development was also signed into law. And through the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, we will provide millions of dollars in funding for pediatric cancer research in memory of a Leesburg fifth-grader who lost her battle with brain cancer in 2013.

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I worked on each of these bills with a Republican co-sponsor, because I believe it’s possible to find commonsense solutions that break through the partisan gridlock.

Looking ahead, there are a number of areas where I hope to find bipartisan compromise this year. One of my top priorities in Congress is ensuring we invest in America’s talent and grow a highly skilled workforce.

Last year, I co-founded the bipartisan Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus to help students develop skills needed for good, high-paying jobs that often go unfilled. This month, I introduced legislation that would provide young people with access to high-quality career and technical programs — in fields like welding, information technology, medical training and many others — that can help prepare them for the 21st-century workforce.

Sea level rise is an issue that is already having an impact on many aspects of life in Eastern Virginia, from transportation to the skyrocketing cost of flood insurance. During visits to Hampton Roads, I’ve heard from local residents about the growing threat that sea level rise poses to the region’s roadways and military installations, and I’ve witnessed the efforts that communities like Norfolk are taking to combat recurrent flooding.

Last summer, I organized a first-of-its-kind bipartisan sea level rise conference to bring together stakeholders to address this issue, and I will continue supporting policies that help protect communities from rising sea levels and reduce carbon pollution that contributes to climate change.

One month into the new session, I’m excited to see the congressional agenda taking shape. In the first few weeks, I introduced legislation to expedite exports of American liquefied natural gas, and spoke out against the accelerated use of tar sands oil via the Keystone XL pipeline — two issues extremely important to Virginians who value a clean and independent energy sector.

In the coming weeks, I will join my colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to resume the debate over the limits and scope of the ongoing military mission against ISIL.

After months of calling for congressional action and successfully bringing a debate before the committee in the last Congress, I look forward to finally providing our servicemembers and their families with a political consensus on this mission.

A new Congress brings many things — new colleagues, new committee assignments, new expectations, and, most importantly, new opportunities to serve the Commonwealth. I can’t wait to seize that opportunity.

Contact Sen. Tim Kaine through his website at or through his offices in Virginia Beach, Richmond, Abingdon, Danville, Roanoke, Manassas, and Washington, D.C.