U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer of Washington’s sixth congressional district visited UW Tacoma Nov. 2 as part of the Get Out the Vote Rally. The rally was hosted by the Young Democrats of Washington and held in William W. Philip Hall. The goal of rally was to encourage support for Cantwell’s re-election campaign and also increase voter turnout by inspiring others to vote.
Before the rally, students and community members had the opportunity to mingle with various candidates and former politicians. There were buttons, shirts and other items available for attendees in support of Cantwell’s campaign. Attendees also had the option to sign up to volunteer to aid the candidates.
The event began when Cantwell and Kilmer arrived. The politicians gathered at the front of the room and Victoria Woodards, mayor of the city of Tacoma, spoke first. Woodards told the crowd about the importance of voting and helping others vote. She lead the rally with the motto, “Fired up, ready to go!”
“There are only four days left. If you don’t have a plan, get a plan to vote,” Woodards said. “We cannot rely on others to win these races. We have to vote! So make sure that you not only make a plan … but help five others make sure they have a plan.”
Woodards was followed by several other local candidates who gave speeches about their campaign goals that ranged from healthcare and education to affordable housing. Kilmer encouraged guests to really think about who they want to be making decisions for them because elected candidates have an important impact on shaping and carrying out issues on the ballot.
“How do you want to feel [after election day?]” Kilmer asked. “Do you want to know that we knocked on every door and called every person? Because what’s on the ballot is healthcare. [For] every one of you students here, college affordability is on the ballot. An economy that works for everyone is on the ballot. Civil rights and voting rights and progress in that is on the ballot.”
Following Kilmer’s remarks, Cantwell spoke and encouraged Pierce County residents to get out and vote.
“That’s why we’re all here this afternoon with four days left,” Cantwell said. “To just encourage people to get out and vote. We got to go out into this weekend getting every single person we can in Pierce County to go and vote because, as Derek just said, it could mean the difference between someone winning and losing. It could mean the difference of who controls the legislature and who doesn’t.”
Cantwell then went on to describe her past achievements, one of them being the creation of the University of Washington branch campuses: UW Tacoma and UW Bothell. She also explained her re-election campaign goals that included net neutrality — the principle that internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally and not discriminate against or charge users differently — affordable housing, including housing for homeless students, healthcare and the continuing expansion of Medicaid.
She also stressed the importance of allowing individuals with pre-existing conditions to be covered by healthcare. Lastly, she explained her goals for preparing for the future economy by creating more apprenticeships, developing better skill training and increasing opportunities for young people to become educated.
“These are things we want to do,” Cantwell said. “We just got to get by this Tuesday and get the votes in for people that will help us make these policies a reality.”