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Wednesday
Oct202010

In Texas, Democrat Bill White Rallies on College Campuses

Photo Courtesy - Bill White for Texas(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Democrats are busy trying to get young voters out to help head off Republican gains Nov. 2, and the Texas gubernatorial race is no exception.

Hundreds of students and Austin Democrats gathered Wednesday in front of the University of Texas tower.  Longhorn Students for Bill White teamed up with the University Democrats Tuesday night to host “Bill White’s Rally to Restore Competence,” discussing issues ranging from education to Texas unemployment rates.  The rally kicked off with UT student government representative Jeremy Yager urging students to vote in the following two weeks.

“Let’s move Texas forward and finally restore competence to the governor’s mansion,” Yager said.

Student involvement isn’t new for the White gubernatorial campaign, which has set up more than 40 student-run Bill White groups across college campuses statewide.  It’s a more aggressive approach than that of Republican candidate Rick Perry, whose campaign contacted already established student conservative groups, such as the Young Conservatives of Texas.

According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, only 17 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds voted in the last Texas governor’s race in 2006, whereas 45 percent of people older than 30 years old voted.

Cameron Miculka, public relations representative for UT’s University Democrats group, says combating voting apathy on college campuses is the main focus this year.  Clubs use their own resources to pass out flyers, set up information tables, make phone calls and even go door-to-door.

“A vote from a student has just as much importance as anyone else,” Miculka said.  “When they see that a candidate is coming to their school to speak to them about education reform it really resonates, he isn’t just a face on television.”

Not everyone in the audience walked away convinced, however.

Kevin Cissell, a 20-year-old pre-med student, asked White a few questions after the rally concerning the future of higher education.  His main concern -- Texas cutting 25,000 students from the Texas (Towards Excellence, Access and Success) Grant.

“You cut grants that are helping people like myself, poor students who are trying to just go to college, that’s cutting opportunity for the future,” Cissell said.

Early voting in Texas began Monday and will continue until October 29th.

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ABC News Radio