by Sam Penney, one of the original Raising Kaine bloggers — when he was still in High School, no less — a super progressive and a great guy as well. Thanks for this contribution! – Lowell.
My mother looked at me and shook her head. “Holy cow,” she muttered. “I’m actually letting my teenage son get into a car with a stranger he met on the internet.”
It was February 2005 and my 16 year old self had been blogging for the (now defunct) Political State Report on Virginia politics when a new blog caught my eye – RaisingKaine.com. I reached out to Raising Kaine’s editor, Lowell Feld, and we had only been emailing back and forth for a couple days when he invited me to join him at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond. I somehow talked my parents into this scheme, hopped into Lowell’s Prius, and hit the road for the drive from Fairfax.
That evening, I may have been more starstruck spectator than professional journalist. I particularly remember meeting Joe Biden, who impressed me immediately with his warmth and candor and even signed an autograph for me (“Sam, remember me when you’re President – Joe”). But the true highlight was getting to meet then-Lt. Governor Tim Kaine. The world of blogging was new, and I certainly didn’t have a resume that would have commanded his respect, but he made time for Lowell and me. More so than any other politician I’d ever met, he was able to quickly and sincerely spell out a vision and practical steps for achieving it, as well as demonstrating his character and warmth.
That five-minute meeting with him helped motivate me to work tirelessly on his behalf through the election – a whirlwind that led to work closely with amazing folks like Lowell, Teddy Goodson, Brian Patton and so many others. We made investments to help rebuild rural counties’ Democratic parties, mercilessly needled Jerry Kilgore, pounded pavement, and more. It also got me permanent (if somewhat misquoted) billing in the masthead of this conservative blog.
With the news that Tim Kaine will be joining Secretary Clinton on our ticket this fall, I’ve been thinking about the 2005 Virginia JJ dinner a fair bit recently. That night was an amazing experience for a high schooler, but it also cemented my belief that, no matter how contentious things may get, there are truly good people in our political arena striving to make a difference in the world. Tim Kaine is one of those people. From Honduras to the United States Senate, he has consistently worked to serve others and create a better world. I am delighted to have the opportunity to vote for him for the second highest office in our country.