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For Kaine, a Faith in Service

Day Laborers in Herndon
Legal and illegal immigrants gather to look for work at a 7-11 convenience store in Herndon, Va. (Christina Pino-Marina, Ben de la Cruz - washingtonpost.com)

Since he spent those months teaching and living among the poor in Honduras, he said, he has been a devout Catholic.

"You know why I'm doing this?" he said in an interview about the campaign. "It has got to be advancing the spiritual choice that I made in my life."

Meeting the Holtons

During his first semester back at law school, he was in a study group with Anne Holton, daughter of former Virginia governor A. Linwood Holton Jr., a Republican.

"I had heard of him through mutual friends," Anne Holton said. "They had told me about this fellow who had been off working in Honduras for a year, and I thought that was intriguing."

She began baking peanut butter-oatmeal cookies and taking them to the study group as a way of wooing him, although they both now say that Kaine didn't have a clue he was being wooed.

"It is safe to say that I spotted him and went after him and cookies were part of the plot," said Holton, a juvenile court judge in Richmond.

The cookies worked. They began dating and got married Nov. 24, 1984. When they graduated from law school, they knew they were going to live either in Virginia near the Holtons or in Kansas near Kaine's family.

Kaine was born in St. Paul, Minn., on Feb. 26, 1958, but moved to Overland Park, Kan., when he was 2 years old because his father, an electrical engineer, had a job offer there and the move gave his parents an opportunity to live closer to their families.

Al Kaine eventually opened a small manufacturing business where his wife, Kathleen, and all his sons worked once they got older. The Kaine family went to Mass every Sunday, and Kaine and his brothers attended a Catholic high school. Kent Immenschuh went to high school with him, and they have remained friends over the years.

"In high school -- and this was in the mid-70s -- we had geeks and freaks and jocks and dopers and everything else, and there wasn't a group that Tim couldn't fit into," Immenschuh said. "The thing about him is that he was always completely comfortable in his own skin. He would be at a party where pot was being smoked, and he wouldn't have to smoke it to fit in."

As a youth in Kansas, Kaine said, he was not interested in politics. But at the Holton dinner table, the talk was rarely about anything but politics and the public issues of the day. Kaine and his wife would wind up living near the Holtons after both landed jobs in Richmond, and Kaine would be regularly exposed to such conversations.

At first, Kaine said, he found being around the Holton family a little strange. "I mean, my family is so nonpolitical," Kaine said. "We talked about baseball and what's going on in school and what our friends were up to. But politics was like the movie business or pro baseball because it was something that was on TV. And I remember meeting Anne's family for the first time and they would be having a big row about apartheid or arguing about Social Security or something, and it was, like, 'What kind of crazy family is this?' "


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