Former Virginia first lady Anne Holton is going full speed ahead campaigning for husband , the former governor who hopes to get elected to the U.S. Senate come November. Most polls show a race between Democrat Kaine and probable GOP candidate as "neck and neck" as Holton herself put it Saturday.
Married more than 25 years, Holton and Kaine first met when both were students at Harvard Law School. Today Anne is a wife, mother and lawyer, and a campaigner, a role she said she will increase as the election nears. She traveled to Northern Virginia Saturday from her family's home in Richmond, making stops in Leesburg, Vienna and Reston. In Vienna, Holton criss-crossed the town on a blustery spring day, visiting owners and managers at coffee shop; , a consignment boutique; , a new Mexican restaurant; , a local grocer; , and a dry cleaner, later ending with a campaign speech to supporters.
"I did part of my growing up just down the road in McLean, where I graduated from ," she told a group of supporters at Sushi Yama, a storefront sushi restaurant. "I am very happy to be on the trail for my husband this year. This is my first time doing this...my husband says if he won all of them without me, how could he possibly lose with me? We'll hope that that's right."
Although she is no stranger to politics—her father, Republican Linwood Holton, was governor of Virginia (she threw a slumber party at the governor's mansion when she was 12)—Anne Holton is new to campaigning for her husband. When Kaine ran for office in previous years, she was barred from hitting the trail due to her job as a juvenile court judge.
Nowadays Holton continues to help young people, but as a consultant to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She balances that job with her other duties. In recent weeks she's traveled the state on a listening tour, discussing with local business owners what Kaine can do to make their lives easier and in turn, keep the economy moving.
"The economy and jobs are the things we all agree we ought to be working on together," she told the crowd at the sushi restaurant. She touted her husband's listening skills, civility and ability to compromise. "Tim has always had the ability to reach across barriers and work with people in a civil way despite differences to get common goals achieved."
"All the polls have them neck and neck," she told the crowd. "That means we're a purple state and that's a great thing. There will be a lot of attention on this race."
Anne Holton talked with Patch after giving her speech, discussing a wide array of topics over sweet potato fries in a booth at the Vienna Inn on Maple Avenue. Here are some excerpts:
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: "I would be extremely disappointed if they [Supreme Court] struck it down. I know personally people, my friends' children are starting to finish college, and not everybody is starting out in a job right away with health insurance. We have a number of friends whose children are able to stay on their family policies because of the Affordable Care Act already. And it would be a terrible shame for them to lose that coverage. I've talked to small businesses who want to provide coverage to their employees. I have a sister in upstate New York who has had patients who have had to forego life-saving treatments for illnesses. We've absolutely got to do something to bring down costs. I think there are misconceptions and fears that it will run up costs, but I think they're wrong."
Virginia: Red or Blue State? "We are so truly a purple state as you've seen throughout Tim's career, we go back and forth. We're proud to be a purple state going so long not being in play. The personal part of that is it means you do a lot of nail-biting, that for me is one of the harder things to do in politics, the uncertainty. So we do get to have robust discussions with people who don't always see things eye to eye. I'm proud to be from a purple state but I hope it's blue in November."
The Obamas: "Tim was the first non-Illinois statewide official to endorse him. They're busy people and one of the things I admire about them is that they protect their family time. We've overlapped a few times personally and professionally."
General Assembly: "Crazy year. We both think politicians have no business putting themselves between women and their doctors. Women facing tough decisions, they should be able to consult with whoever they want to. We both want to reduce abortions but you have to make contraception more available. They're being short-sighted and unwise. We also think it's a distraction from the real issues... My head's shaking sometimes."
More about Anne Holton:
Every morning I read: "I'm a hard copy reader and I read the Richmond Times-Dispatch every morning, I usually do CNN and often The Washington Post."
The last book I read was: "I have a great book club, we've been together for 15-plus years. 'The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating' by Elisabeth Bailey. It's a delightful book about illness and recovery but also about nature."
Favorite meal: "Fresh [central Virginia] Hanover tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella. When planting season starts, we start looking forward to tomato season."
Anyone I would invite to dinner: "Friends and family. If I had another free evening, I would spend it with the kids who have aged out of foster care who I've gotten to know over the years, in particular there are some in a community college program [Great Expectations] at J. Sargeant Community College."
The hardest thing I've ever done: "Watching my children get to the point where it's time to let go, and let them go off and do their own thing. My oldest is about to commission into the Marine Corps, and it's exciting and fun to watch them. The other two have their own ideas. My part is pretty much done. I'm proud and excited but the nail biting comes with the pride."
A dream I have is to: "I don't dream very far ahead. An evening home alone with my husband."
My favorite president is: President Obama
My favorite first lady is: Eleanor Roosevelt
The most daring thing I've ever done: "Tim and I have had a couple of outdoor adventures. Two in particular come to mind. One in the Pyreenes in northern Spain and another hiking Wheeler Peak in New Mexico; there was some pretty steep hiking."
You'd be surprised to learn that I: "I'm a big theater fan; when Tim traveled a lot, my daughter and I took advantage of seeing a lot of theater."
A motto I live by: "I try to take a little time several times a day to be thankful, at mealtime, and there's a Philipians' quote, that, I don't know if I can remember all of the words."
"If There Be Any Virtue:"
"Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."