Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) launched his reelection campaign with a tour across the state this week, including a stop for a jobs roundtable at RagingWire Data Centers’ newest facility, VA3, in Ashburn.
“The theme of my campaign is a Virginia that works for all,” Kaine said. “And the pillars of the campaign are jobs for all, healthcare for all, education for all, security for all, equality for all.”
The conversation at the heart of one of the Loudoun’s newest and most advanced data center steered strongly toward jobs and education. Kaine said when he joined the Senate Committee on Health, Education and Labor, there was little attention paid to career and technical education. That, he said, affects even high-tech, highly-educated sectors like data centers—such as RagingWire’s VA3, which when filled out with server racks will use about 16 megawatts of power, or enough to power about 4,000 homes.
“These data centers are pretty dependent on electricians,” Kaine said. He added the country has “done a disservice to young people by telling them it’s got to be about college.”
“The power of career and technical training is really important, and we have to raise the respect level and even the incentivization,” Kaine said.
Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton, a former state Secretary of Education and a current member of the state Board of Education, called on the business leaders in the room to help train young people to do the jobs those businesses need done.
“We’re giving them more flexibility, but also higher expectations that they’re not going to be able to meet without effective partnerships with the business community,” Holton said, suggesting business leaders get involved in education and offering partnerships and internships.
Kaine also stressed the need for need for infrastructure investment, pointing it out as an area where the two parties may be able to work together. However he was skeptical of public-private partnerships that lean too heavily on the private sector.
“If the feds do not choose to invest heavily, we’re not going to have the kind of infrastructure we need,” Kaine said. “That is important not only to our businesses, but it’s also important to your quality of life.”
And he tied immigration policy to jobs, arguing immigration “is about fairness, but is also heavily about the economy.”
He also faced questions form a capacity crowd in the meeting room about education, utility-scale renewable energy, and President Donald J. Trump’s trade war with China. He argued it would severely impact the industries relying on the products that are now facing higher tariffs—including, among others, Virginia’s largest business sector, agriculture and forestry.
“It’s going to blast the ag and forestry sector in Virginia,” Kaine said.
As a county with several of the state’s biggest business sectors—like agriculture, aerospace, and technology—could be particularly impacted. Wine, he pointed out, is one of the products that will face Chinese tariffs.
“If you put obstacles in the way of trade, a state that is probably dramatically better than the norm in finding opportunities overseas, we’re going to be disproportionately hit,” Kaine said.
Kaine was joined by Leesburg native and state Attorney General Mark Herring, who said with global competition, “if we are standing still, we’re falling behind.”
“Unfortunately, sometimes making improvements and fighting for things like education and healthcare and meeting the transportation needs, sometimes means—and lately it seems more often—trying to fight off some counterproductive ideas that are coming out of the White House or the Congress,” Herring said. He has been among a number of state attorneys general who have taken the Trump administration to court over several policies.
Republicans are still sorting out a challenger for Kaine in November. So far, Prince William County Chairman and former Trump campaigner Corey Stewart, minister E.W. Jackson, and Army veteran and state delegate Nicholas J. Freitas (R-30) have thrown their hats in the ring.