Hillary Rodham Clinton presented her Vice Presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, to supporters at a rally in Miami Saturday afternoon.
Clinton, the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, said Kaine’s track record of success weighed heavily in her decision to bring him on the ticket.
“At every stage of Tim’s career people who know him best have voted to give him a promotion,” Clinton told a packed arena on the campus of Florida International University.
Kaine, 58, a former Governor of Virginia, thanked Clinton and said it was a humbling experience to serve.
“I’m feeling a lot of thanks today, most of all gratitude,” Kaine said.
Clinton’s selection of Kaine ended months of speculation with U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker being considered along with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro. Ken Evans, Clinton’s LGBT community liaison for Florida, attended Saturday’s rally in Miami and met Kaine.
“He’s a moderate,” Evans said. “He’s also a Catholic and a Jesuit and they’re different.”
Evans said Kaine’s name was always mentioned first among campaign insiders. When asked about Warren, the first term female Senator from Massachusetts, Evans replied, “that was just too much. I saw them together on the stage and they are both equally powerful, but didn’t seem to complement each other.”
On Saturday, U.S. Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-West Palm Beach) said as a progressive man it is time to put a woman in the White House. Hastings also denounced Republican Party nominee Donald J. Trump.
“Don’t vote for Donald John The Con,” Hastings said.
Following Hastings, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz appeared on stage and shared her recent experience in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention.
“I’ve been in Cleveland,” Wasserman Schultz said. “I walked the streets and invaded their space and I received a few choice comments.”
Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Convention, assured the audience that Cleveland is a “Democratic city” and then swiftly pivoted to an attack on Trump’s convention speech.
“All we heard was bitter division and doom and gloom,” Wasserman Schultz said. She then referred to two words in Trump’s speech, she said, summed up the businessman’s desires. “’I alone is not democracy,’” Wasserman Schultz said.
At his RNC victory speech in Cleveland, Trump railed against the state of affairs in America and the world. He cited incidents of violence with police, terrorism abroad and economic slumping among a maligned native workforce in a speech that lasted well over one hour.
“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it,” Trump declared.
That line misses the mark, said Clinton.
“As Americans we solve problems together,” Clinton said. “If Donald doesn’t understand that, he doesn’t understand America.”
Kaine too blasted Trump.
“(Trump) leaves a trail of broken dreams and wrecked lives where ever he goes,” Kaine said.
Thousands attended Saturday’s rally inside the FIU Arena in western Dade County. Matt Hersch came from Aventura to see Clinton’s introduction of Kaine as her pick for Vice President.
“He’s really good for the middle class,” Hersch told SFGN. “I can see why Hillary picked him. He’s an amazing Senator and has a great back story.”
Part of Kaine’s story is the years he spent in Honduras working as a Jesuit missionary. Kaine, a civil rights attorney, told the audience he taught teenagers the basics of welding. In return, the youth taught Kaine to speak Spanish and he used it Saturday in Miami.
“God created a rich tapestry for this country,” Kaine said. “It is a rainbow of cultural diversity.”
Michael Rajner, a Broward County human rights activist, said Kaine’s message was well received.
“Oh absolutely,” Rajner said. “People really connected with him.”
Rajner, who serves on national committees relating to HIV/AIDS, got face time with Clinton on Saturday from his position in the VIP section.
“The campaign is definitely hearing us,” said Rajner, who suggested Kaine could help in dealing with issues of discrimination in housing for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Meanwhile, delegates are gathering in Philadelphia at the site of this week’s Democratic National Convention. Evans said he is attending as a member of the Broward County delegation and that momentum is certainly building.
“It was an incredible day,” said Evans of the Miami rally. “I’ve been to many rallies, but this one was definitely electric. The amount of energy in that arena was super.”