U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va., the 2016 Democratic vice presidential candidate, joined students at Florida A&M University Friday to help launch a voter registration kick-off. The stop to The University’s Set was one of many Kaine made as he campaigned around the country.
Kaine, who recently became Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton's running mate was the former Mayor of Richmond, Va., and Virginia’s governor. He took the stage Friday at FAMU alongside his wife, Ann Holton, to touch base on pivotal platform points. Kaine discussed the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the value the institutions have on the country.
“HBCUs have a role that is every bit important today and tomorrow as it was when universities like FAMU were founded. Hillary Clinton and I understand the importance of HBCUs and that's why we have an initiative as part of our education plan to grow jobs in the 21st Century, to invest $25 billion in HBCUs, so we can keep training the talent for the 21st Century,” Kaine said.
Kaine and Clinton’s education initiative seeks to revitalize Pre-K education, career and technical education and debt- free college for Americans. The education initiative piqued the interest of FAMU students like fourth-year political science student Kimberly Rolle, of Miami who thought this initiative was a good one.
“I think it’s good that they want to do this,” she said. “I just hope they can deliver and not make broken promises. Kaine would be a perfectly fine vice president if he and Clinton can do it.”
Kaine continued his speech to address other issues that at stake in the election, briefly discussing Clinton's efforts to reform equality via her lengthy history of activism. Kaine also shed light upon Trump’s shortcomings in regards to equality as well.
“He’s ridiculed people with disabilities. He’s ridiculed people if they were of Mexican-American origin. He has said that anybody who is Muslim should be treated second-class religiously,” Kaine said recalling Trump’s words. “That’s not the way we do things in this country.”
Kaine concluded his speech with acknowledging the strong student activism within the university, saying, “You have a superb reputation of any university of student activism and of getting people to understand the critical importance of voting.”
Kaine revealed that he and Clinton are starting a national movement for HBCUs and other universities as colleges are coming back into session to talk to students about registering to vote, asking FAMU to lead the way.
FAMU Student Government Association member Deja Sawyer told students during the opening of her speech for Senator Kaine, “We are stronger together, the time is now to get out and vote.”
The senator then expressed the significant efforts North Carolina officials made to impede blacks from voting, revealing they acted with “surgical precision” to make it difficult for African-Americans to vote.
FAMU alumni Jalen Fitzpatrick of Tallahassee agreed with the senator that voting is vital for our African-American youth, sharing his thoughts about the registration process as a volunteer voter registration specialist.
“Updating your information is very important for voting. Some students are registered to vote in another city or state and not locally. Our goal is to get their registration updated, so they can participate in the local elections. It’s really easy. It’s only seven things you must answer with your signature and you’re done.”
Oct. 11 is the last day for Florida residents to be registered to vote in time for the Nov. 8 election.