U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a new member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, introduced Secretary of State John Kerry today at his first major foreign policy speech. Addressing the crowd at the University of Virginia, Kaine praised Kerry's decades of service and foreign policy expertise, emphasizing his belief that Kerry will strike a critical balance between the diplomatic and military strength of the nation in his new role. A former Chairman and 28-year veteran of the Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Kerry in turn expressed his confidence that Kaine will be an integral new member of the committee.
"I know that in Tim Kaine, Virginia has a senator who's going to make his mark on that committee," Kerry told the crowd in Cabell Hall. "And he's going to make his mark for your Commonwealth and our country, and we're grateful for [his] service."
During his introduction, Kaine described his earlier meeting with Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) units at the University of Virginia. The discussion, part of Kaine's defense tour across the state this week, focused on the next generation of military leadership and the harmful impact budget uncertainty and sequestration could have on its future.
"If the University of Virginia ROTC cadets are the future of our military then our future is bright," said Kaine. "The camaraderie, dedication, and discipline they display is heartening. Now Congress needs to show that we value their commitment by providing budgetary certainty. The men and women who serve in our all-volunteer military--whether officers or enlisted personnel-need to know that our support for them is unwavering."
Following his discussion with ROTC Cadets, Kaine visited the Salem VA Medical Center where he spoke about veterans care and his commitment to aiding returning veterans as they transition to civilian life.
"The innovative care provided at the Salem VA hospital should be a model for veterans hospitals across the nation - including their commitment to reaching veterans in rural areas and providing job assistance to increase employment," Kaine said. "As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I am committed to finding ways to improve and streamline veterans services and ensuring servicemen and women are afforded the care they've earned."
Since taking office last month, Kaine has expressed his strong opposition to the March 1 sequester cuts, calling for a strategic realignment of budget deadlines during a series of roundtables, visits to military installations, Senate hearings, and in an opinion editorial published last week.