John Edwards, the democratic vice presidential candidate, visited Florida A&M University’s campus Sunday, pressing for votes in what Edwards called a key battleground state.
“Here in Florida, we are at ground zero for who the next president of the United States is going to be,” said the senator from North Carolina.
In an atmosphere made electric by one of the closest campaign seasons in modern history, the importance of the two weeks leading up to the election was not missed by students in attendance.
“I stand here with great anticipation of what the next two weeks has in store for the students of FAMU and the citizens of these United States,” said SGA President Virgil Miller, speaking to the crowd of nearly 10,000 people before Edwards arrived.
Each of the speakers who addressed the crowd, all affiliated with the Democratic Party, urged the audience to vote early.
“The key to early voting is to get those folks who might otherwise procrastinate or not vote at all out to the polls,” said Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum, a former SGA president.
Edwards pointed out what his ticket would do to assist college students.
“We’re going to give direct help to states who will keep their college tuition down,” Edwards said.
In addition to promising a tax credit of up to $4,000 for tuition payments, Edwards also said a Kerry/Edwards administration would promote a plan to encourage recent college graduates to give back to the government.
“You give us two years of public services to your community, your state or your country; we give you four years of college tuition in return.”
Students at the rally seemed pleased with the Kerry/Edwards proposed plan for college students.
“To see that they have a focus on those agenda items brings optimism to my heart,” said Student Senate President Ramon Alexander.
Edwards also addressed the issue of minimum wage in a post rally interview.
“This is again a big difference between George Bush and Dick Cheney, and John Kerry and myself. We are for raising the minimum wage, they have not been.”
Kerry has called for the minimum wage to be increased to $7.00 an hour, nation wide.
Edwards attempted to make clear to the crowd the importance of their vote.
“We can be out their 16, 18 hours a day, working, campaigning, reaching out to people, but at the end of the day it’s you that can change this country. You can change America.”
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