**FILE** Tim Kaine

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) kicked off Black History Month Saturday with a stop in Hampton, where he attended a breakfast discussion sponsored by the Greater Hampton Roads Black Democrats.

Nearly 200 people attended the community roundtable held at the Comfort Zone restaurant.

In a speech that focused on the past, present and future, Kaine, 60, talked about a bill in honor of Black History Month that he crafted along with Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Newport News).

“We got a commission passed to try to make sure that in 2019, we do appropriate events to commemorate 400 years of African contributions to who the United States is today,” said the 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee.

He said is optimistic for the future, barring another government shutdown.

“We’re moving forward on budget negotiations, we’re moving forward on the Dreamer issue, and I think we will find a budget deal and I think we will find protection for Dreamers,” Kaine said, referring to young immigrants illegally brought to the U.S. as children who were protected from immigration by a Obama-era program that’s become a sticking point in budget negotiations. “Shutting the government down, not a good idea, but what has to happen is you have to sit down at a table and hammer out the deal that’s necessary to keep up moving forward and I’m committed to that.”

Kaine, whose focus includes voter engagement, particularly among women, said while he learned lessons from his ticket’s upset loss in 2016, he remains focused on his upcoming Senate campaign.

“Take nothing for granted — I definitely learned you can take nothing for granted,” Kaine said.

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This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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