Why I Support Tim Kaine

I'm not much of a politico, but with the countdown to the election, I thought it worth spending a few moments to write of my support of Tim Kaine.

Many moons ago, Tim worked for Mezullo McCandlish who was corporate counsel for the company that I worked for a financial executive.  Tim is just a couple of years older than I am, so I was 28, and he was sage, old 30!  He was helping me navigate a very difficult situation.  I was a newly hired Controller for a commercial contract furniture dealer in Richmond.  There was a very large ($300K+) receivable balance that was alarmingly old--and it was a receivable balance that, had it gone sour, would have likely sunk the company.

Over the course of several months, Tim deftly guided both me and the company through the collection of this receivable. It was difficult emotionally due to the huge financial impact had we not prevailed.  The other party of the receivable happened to be some of the nastiest (and highest profile names) that I have ever had to deal with--people accustomed to getting their way--winning sans scruples.  I was basically offered  ten cents on the dollar and advised by the other party's lawyer that I should take it if I knew what was good for me.  Thankfully, I was young and idealistic thinking that I had a good case coupled with the very real fact that accepting the offer would buckle the business. my employer.

It was under these circumstances that I came to know, trust and respect Tim.  We literally had our 'business life' in his hands.  Unlike many attorneys I have worked with over my career, Tim had the ability to balance the letter of the law with the practicalities of business.  In working with Tim, I learned the power of articulating the shared outcome and then strategizing a collaborative way  to realize that outcome.  These were not outcomes to 'put one over' on another -- as the party in my story tried to do to me.  Rather, these were outcomes grounded in fairness and founded on principles that people of honor like to use as a foundation for their accomplishments.

That experience served me well as my career developed.  I hope that I educated several attorneys on the importance of articulating and then realizing a shared outcome that often results in understanding both sides of the argument and working toward an acceptable outcome (centered on fairness and principled dealings).  It is not about winning or losing, but rather on optimizing an outcome when there are two parties at odds but who genuinely want to find a shared outcome.  It's about empathy, shared understanding and ultimately compromise. 

Now, in the case that I shared, the issue was simply the other party trying to abscond with $300k of furnishings for $30k.  It was a simple case of the other party coming to the table with an unacceptable objective--and one that connoted the underhanded business ethics that this group of people seemed to engage in with impunity. We prevailed (oh yes, there is justice!) because the other party had failed to take care of a very simple business matter---changing their registered agent.  The registered agent was served with the law suit and failed to respond to the suit.  Oh, yes, I was counting the days after our suit was served.  On day 21, we received a default judgment and we promptly filed our Write of Fieri Fascias.  Oh what a sweet day it was when Tim called me and said that he had the party's lawyer on the phone and they wanted to negotiate.  You see, the the sheriff was at their building tagging furniture to be resold to satisfy the judgment.  These underhanded businessmen, so used to getting the upper hand, had been trumped by two young, smart, ethical and determined young professionals. (Their behavior was so bad that one the partners of the entity called me to share his disgust and that he was not a party to this underhandedness). 

In business matters, as with political or religious matters, hard line ideologies are unproductive. Further, there is NO room for unethical or heavy handed tactics. Rather, than engaging energy into defending a hard lines, I want my politicians to engage in the letter and spirit of finding practicable shared outcomes to bridge differences.  My experience with Tim is that he was and is just that sort of person. Further, my experience with Tim in those formative years of my profession helped shape my own sense of developing and working toward shared outcomes--something that served me very well.

Tim and I never discussed politics, though I remember the president of my company saying:  Tim will be Governor one day.  Indeed that came to pass.  Tim embodies all that is good about the true meaning of being a 'public servant'.  I do not worry that Tim will put his ego or ideology above the public good.  In fact, I never smelled a whiff of either in my time with Tim.  Rather, I was always impressed with his intelligence, integrity and work ethic.

 Ideologues of any ilk scare me.  I know that Tim embodies everything that is positive about the role of a true public servant.  I am confident that he can use intelligence and understanding to build a cohesive vision of a shared outcome and as important that he can elicit collaboration to achieving those outcomes.

I am proud of all that Tim has achieved, and I'm grateful for all that I learned from him when we were both young professionals.  More importantly, I'm confident in his leadership and his gift for being a real agent for positive change.

Whatever your viewpoints, I hope that you will vote on Tuesday.


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