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1996 College graduate and actress Elizabeth Banks came to Penn to encourage students to register and vote for Hillary Clinton this November.

Credit: Jashley Bido

1996 College graduate and actress Elizabeth Banks came to Penn Monday to support Hillary Clinton and encourage Penn students to vote in November. Here are five things we learned about her life and political views:

  1. Elizabeth Banks grew up "poor." Scholarship money and Pell Grants allowed her to attend Penn and forge her successful career. She called herself a product of what "shitty politicians" call, “government handouts.” Banks argued that the social programs in jeopardy today are necessary to give all Americans equal opportunities and urged students to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton.
  2. Fewer than 20 percent of elected officials are women — and Banks wants to change that. Through her professional experience, Banks has learned that there are systemic problems that hinder women from holding leadership roles. As America gets closer to developing the next “new economy,” Banks expressed hope that all Americans will have equal say in shaping new systems, asking, “Why are we wasting women?” 
  3. Her first vote was for Bill Clinton. As a 1996 graduate of Penn, Banks had the opportunity to experience two election cycles at Penn. She told students she cast her first ever vote for Bill Clinton, joking, "He was my first guy … he was my first."
  4. Hillary Clinton has been her role model since 1992. Banks saw her in person for the first time at a Bill Clinton rally, and immediately recognized her as a hero for ambitious women like herself. Banks said she appreciates Clinton’s strength and the fact that she always “gets up and keeps fighting.” 
  5. Banks fears a Hillary victory is not inevitable. As Banks puts it, “If it was easy to elect a female president, it might’ve already happened.” Even though many see a Donald Trump presidency as unlikely, poor voter turnout in vital states like Pennsylvania could bring Trump’s bid to fruition. She warned students, "You will regret not voting in this election."
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