As part of the launch of the second Ann Arbor Coordinated Campaign Office for the Hillary Clinton campaign Friday evening, U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) spoke to volunteers from Clinton’s campaign about the importance of registering voters on the University campus.
“It’s really an honor to be here and stop by,” Peters said. “I guess when you talk about ‘go blue’ it really has two meanings here at Michigan.”
Peters said it is important for America to move forward together as one and he believes Clinton has the ability to unite the country.
“The contrast between the two candidates for president, to me, can’t be any greater,” Peters said. “I don’t know if we’ve ever had such a contrast between two candidates in the history of this country.”
Speaking about the importance of grassroot movements and volunteer registration of voters, Peters said that the pressure is on.
“The stakes are incredibly high in this election,” Peters said. “It’s not enough to just talk in a room about this, it takes getting out there and working.”
Peters also acknowledged the close race between Clinton and opponent Donald Trump (R), but said that Americans have the power to guide the country in Clinton’s direction this November.
“Some of the polls that are showing his [Trump’s] strength scares me a little, because I don’t think that represents who we are as a country,” Peters said. “So we have to prove to the rest of the world and to ourselves that that is not our country.”
In an interview with the Daily, Peters said if college students want to see higher education reform or college affordability pushes, the choice to vote for Clinton is clear. Peters said since Trump has failed to talk about higher education issues, he believes Trump doesn’t have a serious plan for higher education.
“Hillary Clinton has talked about making sure that everybody has access to college, that it’s paid for or forgiven loans,” Peters said. “And it really build on things we’ve been doing in Congress now.”
In his remarks to the volunteers, Peters also said he spent time earlier Friday with members of the space program at the University and was impressed and proud of the work being done on campus.
“I was in the large vacuum chamber, one of the largest in the country, where they’re building the propulsion engines that may very well take us to Mars in 2030,” Peters said. “The trip to Mars starts in Ann Arbor, Michigan.”
Peters said the eventual next president will have a great impact on whether or not programs and federal support for programs like these will continue.
“In order for all that to continue, politics does matter,” Peters said. “It does matter who you elect, both in the local offices and certainly without question it matters who you elect to be next President of the United States.”
In the interview with the Daily, Peters said it is important for students who voted for Senator Bernie Sanders or favored Sander’s progressive agenda to support Clinton.
“I would defer to Bernie Sanders himself,” Peters said. “Bernie is a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton and I think he made an incredibly powerful speech at the Democratic National Convention. If someone was a strong supporter of Bernie and shares his values, it’s very clear that Hillary Clinton is the only candidate to vote for.”
Similarly with students considering voting for a third party candidate, Peters said he encourages them to cast a ballot for Clinton.
“To vote for a third party candidate is like a vote for Donald Trump,” Peters said.
Washtenaw County Democratic Party Chair Chris Savage also spoke at the event and said he was excited to have volunteers registering voters and a presence on the University campus.
“This is an important place for us, because there is a lot of energy at U of M among the students and among the people who live downtown, so it’s going to be a very busy hive of activity for the next couple months,” Savage said.
Regional Organizing Director for the Michigan Democratic Coordinated Campaign Callie Bruley, who was at the event, said she was excited by Peter’s visit and cited the importance of having volunteers registering voters.
“The Senator was here in town so we wanted to give him a chance to talk to some of our voter registration volunteers and students in the area,” Bruley said. “We’re very excited to have a strong presence here in Washtenaw County, including on the University of Michigan’s campus.”