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I thank my parents for creating in their generation what I take for granted in mine. Through protests, music and, more importantly, votes, they helped to shape a government that trusts me to make responsible decisions and is working to foster the equality that our founders dreamt of two centuries ago. My classes have as many women as men and our nation's universities have begun to reflect America's diversity. We're moving in the right direction, but the goal is distant and far from secure. At this crucial time of unprecedented economic prosperity and peace, we cannot afford to take a step backward by voting for a candidate who fails to understand the important issues facing our nation. I encourage all of you to join me tomorrow in voting for a future of clean air, strong schools, affordable college education, reproductive freedom and civil rights by voting for Al Gore. Gore fought hard to help bring about the longest economic expansion in United States history. He cast the tie-breaking vote for the 1993 economic program and helped to create business opportunities for minorities and women. Thanks to the Clinton-Gore administration, the nation is enjoying the longest economic expansion in history, the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years, the most new jobs ever created under a single administration, the highest home ownership rate in history and the lowest poverty rate in 20 years. Whereas eight years ago we were experiencing record budget deficits, we are now profiting from record surpluses. Al Gore would take advantage of our unprecedented economic success by shoring up Social Security, expanding Medicare, paying down the debt and enacting targeted tax cuts to benefit those whom prosperity has not touched. He would never squander our hard-earned surplus on tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest 1 percent of the population. Al Gore has been a leader in improving educational opportunities for all Americans. He has championed efforts to pursue proven strategies for improving public education by reducing class sizes, improving standards and accountability and bringing technology into our classrooms. He has worked to increase access to higher education and lifetime learning, and he has advocated for get-tough proposals to make schools safer and drug-free. If elected, Gore will help parents and students make college more affordable by making up to $10,000 of college tuition tax-deductible. His plan would also finish wiring every classroom for the Internet and train students and teachers to use information technology to individualize learning and bridge the digital divide. And Gore is opposed to school voucher programs, which drain much-needed money from our public schools. If elected president, Al Gore would work hard to involve every American in our democratic system, not just those with money. Unfortunately, many Americans feel their voice in the political system has been overshadowed by special interests. In particular, Gore will fight for the bipartisan McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill -- a proposal not supported by Gov. Bush -- which will ban unlimited contributions to national parties and regulate campaign activities by outside groups. And finally, a Gore-Lieberman administration would work hard to ensure that abortion remains safe, legal and rare. It's hard to imagine women losing the right to choose, and harder still to believe that the next president could appoint Supreme Court justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, whose opinions would turn back the clock on many hard-won freedoms. That is the reality behind Gov. Bush's so-called compassionate conservatism. All of us have a choice tomorrow. We can choose to undo much of our progress or we can build upon it. I challenge my peers to lend their voices to that decision. Ralph Nader claims there is no difference between the two major parties. The fact is, there are stark differences between the leading candidates -- their visions, their policies and the future they'll work to shape. I often wonder what happened to the energy and activism that came to define the social and political movements of the 1960s. Whereas my friends play video games, send e-mails and download MP3s, my parents' friends were being sent off to war against their will. Now is not the time to become complacent. Our nation has come so far over the past 40 years, and I hope that America's youth takes part in this presidential election and joins me in voting for Al Gore.

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