Richmond, VA - Last night, former governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine participated in a Senatorial candidates’ forum as part of the 77th Annual State Conference of the NAACP in Fredericksburg. While both candidates were invited to participate, Kaine was the only candidate on stage, answering Virginians’ questions on topics including immigration reform, congressional dysfunction, and job creation.

“We need a society where everyone’s talents rise as high as they can,” said Kaine. “I’m a passionate supporter of early childhood education, K-12 reform, career and technical education and higher education. Education and talent are the issues I am most interested in working on in the Senate because education is the great lifter. These investments are directly tied to our economic success.”

Throughout the evening, Kaine laid out the clear choice between the economic approach, fiscal record, and political styles of him and George Allen. As governor, Kaine made $5 billion in cuts, including his own pay, to keep Virginia’s budget balanced during the worst recession since the Great Depression. During his previous term in the Senate, Allen voted for $3 trillion in debt, including four votes to raise his own pay, and turned massive budget surpluses into a massive deficit. Kaine also spoke about the need to break through Congress’ partisan gridlock.

“Virginians wants senators to go to Congress and work together with their colleagues and members of the House and the President,” said Kaine. “It’s not anti-Virginian to support the President of the United States. When I was governor I would never have thought to describe myself as President Bush’s obstructionist or describe someone who supported him as anti-Virginian. I will serve in that tradition of John Warner and Mark Warner as someone who goes into the Senate and tries to build bridges.”

Kaine concluded the evening by asking for the support of members of the Virginia NAACP and pledging to be a senator who works to increase economic and educational opportunities for all Virginians.

“In my career, I’ve always tried to make an effort to fully engage with all the wonderful communities in Richmond and the Commonwealth,” said Kaine. “From my days as a young attorney working with the NAACP, to work in the City of Richmond, to my work as governor where we expanded minority contracting and procurement, I have always worked to promote cooperation and opportunities in this community. As senator, I’ll work to put together a team that reflects and promotes that commitment.”