Driving up in her trademark red Ford Ranger, Janet Reno parked on the Set Friday and walked up to join 300 or so FAMU pep rally attendees.
The gubernatorial candidate spoke briefly about voter issues and despite the poor sound system, which made it difficult to hear, Reno, 64, may have accomplished her objective: voter awareness.
“You can make a difference, so get out there and vote,” said Reno during her three-minute speech on Jackson-Davis lawn during Rattlermania.
Several students cheered and waved her blue campaign posters as she spoke.
“Janet’s goal in coming here today was to educate the people that are supporting her,” said Spokeswoman Nicole Harburger.
“She has been to FAMU several times and the students here are very supportive of her.”
Despite the crowd’s receptiveness to Reno, many students were unsure of who the gubernatorial candidates were, details of the race, and where candidates stood on issues.
“I never really heard of the candidates. I know of her (Reno) and that’s because of today,” said Mike
Jackson, 19, a sophomore from Larrel, Pa.
Other students had similar responses.
Tangela Crawford, a senior from Pahokee, said she has not had time to learn about each of the candidates running for governor.
Reno, one of the three Democratic candidates, is the only gubernatorial candidate to visit and campaign on campus.
For some students, that made a difference.
Javonte Adams, 20, a senior business student from Minneapolis, said it was good to see Reno on campus even though he said he felt like it was “too little, too late” for her to start visiting.
But Adams said her coming to FAMU would impact how he votes.
Reno, in a phone interview, said she wants to enhance higher education in the state of Florida by working with governing boards in increasing diversity among the students and faculty.
If elected governor, she said she also wants to attract the brightest professors by offering attractive salaries and more resources for research.
Reno is also for U.S. Sen. Bob Graham’s, D-Fla., ballot initiative that would create a constitutionally protected board of governors to oversee the boards of trustees at each university.