Vanessa Kerry, the 27-yearold daughter of presidential hopeful John Kerry, outlined her father?s vision for America while campaigning in Sykes ballroom Thursday afternoon. Vanessa energized the crowd of over 500 with a speech that urged young people to take a stand and vote on Nov. 2, due to the issues that have a direct impact on young people, such as the war in Iraq, education, and the economy. “This is our future on the line,” she said. She used the elections of John Kennedy and Bill Clinton as examples of younger voters having made a difference in determining a presidential election.Besides persuading young people to vote, Vanessa described her father?s plans for Iraq, while criticizing the Bush administration.
“I?d like to know why we were rushed to war,” she said to the crowd. Vanessa then spoke of her father?s own plan to win peace in Iraq, claiming a Kerry administration would, “make friendships and alliances, so we?re stopping terrorists before they even become a cell.” Vanessa also said her father would, “tell America the truth” in times of war.
After speaking about foreign policy issues and the turmoil in Iraq, Vanessa moved on to education issues. “Education is the backbone of this country,” she said. She promised, if elected president, her father would fully fund and support the No Child Left Behind Act, which President Bush stood behind a few years ago. The bill strives to create equal opportunity for students and schools across the country.
“You want a flip-flopper, write a bill called No Child Left Behind, and then don?t fund it,” she said.
Vanessa continued speaking about education issues. She spoke of her father?s desire to increase funding for pre-school and head start programs, ensuring children receive an equal opportunity for education early on.
According to the speech, a Kerry administration would also help young people pay for college by offering a plan that would require two years of military service in exchange for a paid tuition at any instate college a young person desires.
Vanessa also mentioned her father?s plans for other domestic issues, including the economy and healthcare.
According to Vanessa, a Kerry administration would roll back the tax breaks for the wealthy, while keeping them for middleclass families. She said her father would also be economically and fiscally responsible.
While speaking about healthcare, Vanessa told a personal story dealing with her father?s battle with cancer, which he overcame due to his strong healthcare coverage.
“He wants everyone to have that same kind of healthcare coverage,” she said, promising her father would work to ensure every American has healthcare coverage, if he?s elected president. After speaking about her father?s plans for America if he becomes president, Vanessa again encouraged young people to vote on Nov. 2.
“Everyone in this room has the power to determine this election,” she said, due to the fact Pennsylvania is a crucial swing-state.
“Nov. 2 is when we get hope in this country again,” she said. When Vanessa Kerry finished her speech, the microphone was passed to students who had questions for the senator?s daughter.
Vanessa answered questions that dealt with Palestine, education, and the economic impact of President Bush?s tax cuts. She also acknowledged that she doesn?t know about every issue. “I?ve been studying hard to get every policy down and this is harder than med school,” she said.
Rushed for time, the questions were cut short, but Vanessa stayed for a few extra minutes for photo opportunities and to answer a few more questions from students. Once the event ended, students rocked the room with roaring applause, flashing their Kerry/ Edwards signs in the air. Most of the students also had a positive reaction to Vanessa?s speech. “She?s an excellent representative for her father?s campaign and the ideals the campaign represents,” said P.J. Dakes, a junior at WCU.
“I really felt that everyone could relate to her. She was really down to earth,” said Gretchen Smith, a senior at WCU.
Vanessa Kerry has taken a break from Harvard Medical School to campaign for her father. Along with her sister, Alexandra Kerry, Vanessa introduced John Kerry to the nation on primetime at the Democratic Convention last July.
WCU?s College Democrats, who meet every Wednesday at 3:30 in Main Hall, organized the event. For those who wish to forward issues, concerns, or questions to Vanessa Kerry, send an e-mail to the address CShields@PADems.com