VP nominee campaigns in Ames to connect with college students

By Aaron O’Neill

Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine stopped by Iowa State University this Monday on a mission to reach out to millennials. Television cameras, secret service agents, campaign organizers, supporters and critics all packed into the Great Hall of the Memorial Union to see the former Virginia Senator stump for his running mate, Hillary Clinton.

Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, took to the stage to talk about family and sick leave, LGBT equality, women’s rights, minimum wage increases, and the motivation that drives Clinton through her political career. He stressed Clinton’s career-long passion of assisting children and families, accusing Donald Trump of only having a passion for himself. “We’ve never had a great president in our country whose top goal is looking out for number one,” Kaine said.

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The attacks against his political opponent continued through the speech as he criticized Trumps maternity leave plan, which would allow women to collect unemployment over six weeks of paid leave. Kaine compared the plan to Clinton’s, which allows 12 weeks leave with two thirds of the worker’s salary. “It should be an employee benefit because this is part of the modern workforce,” he said.

Kaine finished his speech making his case for college affordability. To a round of applause, he spoke about working with Bernie Sanders to develop a plan to guarantee debt free college. He explained, “this is how you give your workforce the skills they need.” Clinton and Kaine’s plan also guarantees free in state tuition for families making $125,000 or less.

The people attending the rally seemed to be diverse in age, race, and political affiliation. Among the first through the door was Michelle Jacoby, a freshman studying environmental science. As a Virginia native, Jacoby was already a fan of Kaine and many of his polices, despite describing herself as more Republican leaning. When asked what issues are most important to her, Jacoby cited climate change as one of the problems she wants to hear discussed more.

“I’m kind of upset with this election because we haven’t really talked about the environment very much at all,” Jacoby said.

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Latham Hendrickson, a 19-year-old engineering student also waited in line to show his support. He said that although he is a Democrat and Hillary supporter since 2008, this election has become more about preventing a Trump presidency than addressing issues.

Hendrickson said “It’s less about the issues and more about avoiding complete disaster.”

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine have been putting much of their effort towards building up a younger voter base similar to Barak Obama’s campaign in 2008 and 2012.  As the first presidential debate approaches, current national polls have Democrats leading by an average of only six points. Kaine hopes to tip the odds in their favor by encouraging young people to get involved in the political process, volunteer, and vote.

“Hillary and I are with you, and the other guys are against us and want to take us backward,” Kaine said at the finale of his speech. “We’re going forward; we’re not going backward.”

 

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