Sen. John Edwards to visit Tallahassee

The Florida A&M University student body is no stranger to big name politicians. This semester Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have visited the campus.

Now, Rattlers will brace for the arrival of Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards, as the John Kerry and Edwards campaign rallies throughout Florida.

Edwards will be on the steps of Coleman Library Sunday at 5 p.m. to promote the Kerry ticket for presidency. An unlimited amount of free tickets will be distributed at dormitories, the cafeteria, Coleman library, Gaither Gymnasium and the Student Government Association offices beginning Friday morning.

Edwards seemingly impromptu visit was coordinated through the Democratic National Committee, the Florida Democratic Party, the FAMU Chapter of College Democrats of America and FAMU’s SGA.

“(This visit shows) the Kerry/Edwards campaign has committed themselves to winning the state of Florida,” Democratic Spokesperson David Levy.

“Sen. Edwards couldn’t be more excited and appreciative of the welcome and receptiveness from the University,” Levy said.

Members of the FAMU College Democrats said they have been working diligently to get Sen. Kerry or Sen. Edwards to FAMU.

“We have been in constant contact with the Florida campaign manager for the Kerry/Edwards via e-mail or by phone,” said Tamia Booker, president of College Democrats.

“I am extremely excited and I am glad that he recognized that he needs to come to the largest HBCU and reach out to African Americans,” Booker, 21, a senior political science student from Philadelphia.

SGA President Virgil Miller agreed, adding that the campus will benefit as well.

“This is a very historical occasion for the FAMU students,” Miller said.

“This speaks volumes to the level of influence our student body has on the national political scene.”

Levy said they are expecting an enthusiastic crowd and want as many students to come out and participate in this event.

According to Levy, Edwards will address some key issues such as health care and jobs as well as complimenting the FAMU student body for it’s high percentage in registered voters.

Throughout the semester, SGA has been stressing the importance of voting and registering voters.

“We contacted both campaign teams, Kerry/Edwards and Bush/Cheney to give them the chance to express both of their political views.

The Kerry/Edwards team has just taken advantage of speaking with the most registered voters on a campus, in Tallahassee,” said SGA Secretary of State Dominique Johnson.

“Ninety-four percent of FAMU’s student population is registered to vote.”

In lieu of the Florida 2000 presidential election fiasco, Johnson said this is an opportune time for students to have some unanswered questions answered.

“People have questions, and it’s always better to receive answers instead of being disenfranchised” Johnson said.

Students like Gregory Bacourt are waiting in anticipation of the Edwards’ visit and are proud of FAMU being an active part of a presidential campaign.

“I feel that I’m blessed to be at a university that the candidates feel is important enough of an institution and that they realize that our vote will make a difference,” said Bacourt, 20, a junior social work student from Miami.

Bacourt said despite the fact that majority of the attention has been towards larger universities, FAMU is still the number one HBCU in Florida.

“We are so active in so many different areas that people recognize us (and know) that are voice needs to be continued to be heard,” Bacourt said.

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