Danville's Goodyear Plant Postpones Sen. Tim Kaine's Visit In Fear of Confederate Flag Protest

Danville, VA-- Senator Tim Kaine tells ABC 13 that for the first time ever, he was uninvited from an event in fear of a possible protest. That protest was about the Confederate flag.

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber plant in Danville was part of Kaine's five day tour of Virginia focusing on job creation and economic development. Less than 24 hours before he was supposed to be here, Kaine says Goodyear postponed his visit.

Kaine was supposed to be right here at 7 a.m. He planned to visit the workers here during their shift change. He said he has worked with Goodyear on a number of issues over the years and was looking forward to the visit. Most recently Kaine testified at a hearing in Washington on a case about unfair trade practices. He said It was about China dumping low cost tires into the U.S market, which in turn hurts domestic auto tire plants like Goodyear. Goodyear asked Kaine to help them and he said they won the case.

He was hoping to talk to them about that, greet workers and tour the facility. Goodyear reached out to Kaine on Wednesday and said city of Danville's new ordinance banning the Confederate flag from city owned flag poles may spark a protest outside of the plant during his visit. Kaine said he was disappointed.

"I've been in elected office since 1994," he said. "I'm very used to protest and if there's a protest, you walk in, you say hi folks and then you go your business. This is the first time an event has ever been canceled because of a protest. Even if I disagree with folks, they have their first amendment rights so that doesn't worry me, but the company was nervous about it. It's their house not mine. They get to make the rules."

Kaine said he looks forward to the continuing his partnership with Goodyear and hopes to be here soon.

Goodyear emailed this statement to ABC 13.

Goodyear strives to create an inclusive environment for our associates and consumers. As a global business responsible to our employees, customers and plant communities our decisions must balance the needs of all stakeholders.

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