Democrats kick off statewide campaign

Handing out buttons, bumper stickers and T-shirts on the Set, the Florida Democratic Party kicked off its Second Annual Donkeys Rock Tour.

“We need everybody at FAMU to come out and vote,” were the words emphasized by Scott Maddox, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party. “We’re out here to talk to the students about what John Kerry can bring.”

The tour is a statewide campaign that informs students across Florida about the political process. A large student rally and press conference on the campus was held in conjunction with the tour.

“This tour is outreached directly toward the universities and students across the state,” Maddox said.

The Donkeys Rock Tour is scheduled to expand from Pensacola to Miami, visiting 20 schools, including 11 state universities such as Florida State University, the University of South Florida and the University of Miami. They will visit five community colleges and two other HBCUs including Bethune-Cookman College and Edward Waters College, to energize young Democrats about voting.

“The Donkeys Rock Tour energizes the next generation of Florida’s voters to get out there and vote for the party who has the best plan for their future,” Maddox said. “John Kerry’s plan is better than George W. Bush’s.”

There were also student volunteers who support the Florida Democratic Party. They helped pass out free buttons and T-shirts, while talking to students about voting and getting involved.

“I support Donkeys Rock because it makes the student body more aware about the Kerry campaign,” said Melanee Gardener, 20, a junior from Lakeland.

Last year, the Donkeys Rock Tour registered over 500 students

FAMU, signed up numerous volunteers and gained national and statewide recognition as the first Democratic state party of its kind. Many people are responsible for this and took part in starting the tour.

“This tour is very important for Tallahassee and Florida A & M University,” said Jon Ausman, former chairman of the Leon County Democratic Party.

This year, U.S. Senate candidate, Betty Castor and representatives from the John Kerry/John Edwards campaign will join the tour.

“Most people think college students don’t vote, but we think that the students at FAMU are a big part of America,” said Maddox.

“We really want this movement to have an impact on the school as a whole,” Gardener said.

In addition to voter registration booths, music and refreshments, the Donkeys Rock Tour will feature student speakers, local officials and the FDP Chairman and staff at every stop.

Donkeys Rock, an interactive, entertaining political experience, has attracted thousands of students by offering prizes and giveaways.

“We really want Kerry to come out on top, so we have to show it and not just talk about it,” Gardener said.

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