Kaine focuses on economy at Detroit speech

Tim Kaine, Detroit
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, gives a speech in Detroit on Oct. 18, 2016.

DETROIT, Mich. (WOOD) — White House hopeful Tim Kaine was back in Michigan Tuesday, talking about the economy and curbing poverty as he addressed hundreds of community leaders and supporters in Detroit.

The event was held at Focus: HOPE, a training facility that helps people learn skilled trades to get into or return to the work force. Kaine told a crowd of supporters and some who are currently going through the programs that there are things that government can and should do to reverse the cycle of poverty. He said it’s a question of what our national priorities should be.

“This is an election that really is a test of our values. This is an election that’s a test of our commitment to one another. I’ve described this an election that is an ‘America looking in the mirror and deciding what is it we see there’ election. It’s a self-definition election,” Kaine said.

He said the Democratic ticket will take on poverty issues with expanded government programs to attack three basic areas: raising income for working families, safe and healthy homes, and education and skills. Fighting poverty, a decades-long battle that has already been waged, is something Kaine sees as both economic and humanitarian issue.

“Fighting poverty is really a growth strategy. It’s a competitiveness strategy. But it’s also a moral responsibility,” he said.

>>App users: Watch Kaine’s speech here

Kaine’s speech came less than 24 hours after his Republican counterpart, vice presidential candidate Mike Pence visited Michigan. The Indiana governor addressed GOP supporters during a private Lincoln Day dinner in Macomb County, less than 20 miles away.

With three weeks to go before the general election, the current electoral vote estimate shows Hillary Clinton handily ahead of Donald Trump.

Polls also show the Clinton-Kaine ticket leading in Michigan and nationwide, but those same polls show enough undecided states to still make the race competitive.

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Kaine last visited Michigan on Sept. 13, for a rally at the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus. His wife stumped for Clinton in Grand Rapids on Sept. 28.

More visits from the candidates and their surrogates are said to be in the works for Michigan, signaling that both campaigns still see the state as an important factor in picking the next President of the United States.  Tuesday, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver announced plans to campaign for Clinton Wednesday in Benton Harbor, Muskegon and Grand Rapids.