Hillary Clinton's campaign kicked off on Penn's campus Tuesday night with an official campaign event featuring Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, as well as leaders of Penn for Hillary, Penn Democrats and campus organizers. Here's what we learned:
- Penn for Hillary is one of the most active Hillary Clinton campus groups in the country. The organization started out in fall 2014, before Clinton announced her candidacy. With over 750 followers on Facebook, the organization continues to use its grassroots approach to promote Clinton’s candidacy. This kickoff event inspired attendees to get more involved with the campaign, like College senior Tabeen Hossain, who said, “I think coming to this event—this being the first major event of the year—was really good in sparking my passion back up again.”
- Richards believes millennial voters will determine the next president. “That’s a good thing,” she said, referring to the generation of millennials as “the most progressive generation ever, in the history of the United States.” Both Richards and students active in campaign efforts stressed the need to register voters to tap into the power of millennials. By one estimate, students need to be contacted nine times before they register to vote—which is why student volunteers registered 600 new voters during New Student Orientation.
- The future of the Supreme Court will be in the hands of the next president. Richards listed issues from immigration, to women’s issues, to voting rights and civil rights that will “fundamentally be different based on who is the president of the United States.” Richards, who sat in on the recent Supreme Court vote over Texas abortion laws, recounted her experience sitting in the “small…intimate” setting of the court and emphasized how the next president will affect the future. For Richards, “that’s got to be Hillary Clinton.”
- Although Hillary Clinton would be the first female president, Pennsylvania voters have more than one opportunity to make history during this election. Senate candidate Katie McGinty, who Richards predicts would be a "fabulous senator," aims to be the first female senator from Pennsylvania. Penn students will have a chance to hear from McGinty along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at the Penn Museum on Friday.
- The Democratic platform may be the most progressive the party has ever had. Richards discussed the influence Bernie Sanders supporters have had in the election. She alluded to the repeal of the Hyde amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion, as part of the platform. “You only get the justice you fight for,” Richards said.
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