I met him through Walter Tejada. Walter had been a community organizer for more than a decade and was the de facto leader of a large and growing Hispanic community in Northern Virginia. Walter was indefatigable. He was becoming a political powerhouse in Arlington and would be elected to the Arlington County Board in 2003. Years later he would become the first Latino to Chair the County Board.
At the time Tim Kaine was Lieutenant Governor of Virginia with big ambitions. Demographics were changing rapidly in Virginia and suddenly, for Democrats, the Northern Virginia region was a rich source of votes and a key to electoral victory statewide. He was attending a reception for Walter high up on the terrace of what was then the Rosslyn Key Bridge Marriot Hotel. There was such a 'gee-whiz' aura about Kaine. He had a broad smile and an immediately likeable persona; greeted everyone in such an authentic, endearing manner -'Llamame Tim' he would say. He spoke adeptly to everyone in Spanish and followed conversations with excellent responses. He even answered reporter's questions in the language. It was the first time I heard him speak about his time in Honduras and his Catholic faith. His friendliness, his use of Spanish, his bright, optimistic smile and good natured banter made him instantly attractive and charming.
- Published in Politics