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On Tuesday, Democratic candidate for the United States Senate Katie McGinty addressed an audience of students at Penn. | Courtesy of Penn Democrats

Credit: Ilana Wurman , Ilana Wurman, Ilana Wurman

As election season sweeps across Penn’s campus, United States Senate candidate Katie McGinty reminded students that who they vote for in the presidential race isn’t the only decision they’ll make in November.

On Monday, Penn Democrats, Penn for Hillary and the Student Sustainability Association at Penn welcomed McGinty to discuss the upcoming election. A win would guarantee Katie McGinty a spot in the history books as the first female Senator from Pennsylvania.

However, a seat in the senate wouldn’t be McGinty’s first time in office. In the 1990s, she became the first woman to run the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Bill Clinton. McGinty has also served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Ed Rendell, a position she leveraged to advocate for clean and renewable energy.

McGinty is now seeking a seat in the United States Senate after only a few months as Gov. Tom Wolf’s Chief of Staff. She said she believes her experience makes her uniquely qualified for office.

McGinty’s speech focused on Philadelphia, which she described as a vibrant and culturally rich city, while also addressing problems that the city faces, such as poverty, unemployment and health care. She added that she would “stand up for the fabric and strength of the community” as a Pennsylvania senator.

McGinty is one of several candidates for the state’s senatorial election to speak at Penn this semester. Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district, Joe Sestak, came to campus in October, and Pennyslvania Mayor John Fetterman is slated to come speak in March.

Penn Democrats president Max Levy said that the speaker events are meant to give the student body a chance to get involved in the voting process. By bringing in the candidates they hope to educate students about the different platforms and encourage them to think about the senatorial election as much as the presidential election.

College and Wharton senior Sebastian Negron-Reichard said he still needed to hear the other candidates before making a final decision but he thought McGinty presented a good background on environmental issues and showed experience.

Negron-Reichard, a native of Puerto Rico, asked the candidate about her opinion on the current debt crisis in his home country. McGinty answered that citizens should have a right to negotiate the debt.

She also commended the students present for coming to hear her opinions.

“It’s all up to us. The bottom line is that there’s so much at stake,” she said.

She urged the students to become involved by spreading the word and voting, adding that the young vote is critically important in the 2016 Senate elections.

“[Student] voice critically matters,” she said.

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