Kaine appeals for Black students’ vote, slams Trump
[subtitle]The VP nominee also calls for support of small businesses[/subtitle]
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Democratic vice presidentialA candidate Tim Kaine outlined Hillary Clinton’s plan to push for more funding for historically Black universities and colleges, while condemning Donald Trump for having the backing of racist groups like the KKK during a recent campaign stop in Tallahassee.
Kaine took a short ride to FAMU campus from the Domi Station, a small business incubator, where he told owners that he and Clinton will simplify the process of opening up a start-up business.
Later, the Virginia senator also reminded the 500 FAMU students who showed up for the Friday afternoon rally on the Set that they not only need to vote, but they should recruit others to make sure Trump doesn’t get elected.
On Monday, the Clinton campaign announced that it will begin a voters’ registration drive at six state universities in Florida, including FSU and FAMU. The drive will continue through Oct. 11 when registration ends.
The stop at FAMU last Friday was the first of many that the Clinton campaign plans for HBCUs across the country, Kaine told the crowd.
“You have a superb reputation of any university of student activism and of getting people to understand the critical importance of voting,” said Kaine, wearing a green FAMU cap. “So we’re starting, actually, a national movement with HBCUs and other universities, as colleges are coming back into session, to talk to students about registering and voting. And we want FAMU to lead the way.”
Kaine suggested that FAMU students and all Blacks should be proactive by volunteering to help the Clinton campaign. He didn’t specifically name Trump as the one behind dissuading Black participation in the election, but said, “the other side sure thinks it matters because an awful lot of people are doing an awful lot of work to put restrictions in the way to reduce votes of African Americans, to reduce votes of young folks.”
He added: “If they think your vote matters so much that they want to try to make it harder for you to vote, then I hope your vote – I hope you conclude that your vote is valuable because they sure think it does. We’ve got to have strong support of young voters and voters of all ages. And you’re in a unique position to be able to do this.”
As part of Clinton’s education plan, she has an initiative to invest $25 billion in HBCUs, Kaine said. They also plan to make college a debt-free experience, he said.
Kaine’s message seemingly hit home with the crowd. Brandon Johnson, a senator in FAMU’s student government, said he was especially impressed with Kaine’s knowledge of the needs of Black colleges and the sincerity of his tone.
“It wasn’t that I could see a fake speech,” Johnson said. “I could tell he has a genuine interest in HBCUs.
“He came out very enthused; very personable and into the crowd. His speech was very much what I wanted to hear. He gave us a plan about investing in HBCUs and that’s very important. Showing his commitment is very important to us as students.”
During his stop at Domi Station, Kaine called Tallahassee a “talent-rich community” because of its two universities and a junior college. He praised mayor Andrew Gillum for supporting the incubator concept for small business, saying setups like Domi Station are becoming the wave of the future and government should be the catalyst for increasing the shared space concept.
“We believe that government has a role for the good and things like this are perfect,” Kaine said during an exclusive interview with the Outlook. “The jobs are going to grow because of innovation on the private side but if government can do things to provide a platform or space, especially for that new business to get started it makes it a little bit easier.”
Both he and Clinton come from families that ran small businesses at a time when the process involved lengthy bureaucracy, Kaine said, adding that they would move to streamline the process.
Kaine spent some of his time at Domi Station in one-on-one conversations with a handful of owners of the small businesses. His talk was motivating, said Barbara Wescott, owner of Swell, a company that promotes loyalty programs for businesses.
“I think when you have someone of that caliber that came with all of the people that were with him, it says that you are on the right track; you’re doing the right thing,” said Wescott, who has been in business for two years. “The validation that comes from that is really, really important. It’s a big boost to morale because we are all building this community.”
Jide Opeola, owner of Bevi Mobile, an app development and design company, said he was especially impressed with the fact that Clinton wants to put a plan in place to offer financial assistance to small businesses.
“You can offer the best services and products but for some businesses you need money to grow,” Opeola said. “The topic (of government funding) resonated with me. I think he realizes that small businesses are the foundation of America. A lot of small businesses are popping up every day so therefore it’s a force to reckon with. He realizes that and he is trying to do his due diligence as far as making sure these small businesses have what they need.”
Kaine went on to tout his efforts as a civil rights lawyer early in his career to illustrate how much he understands the issues that Blacks face. For instance, he said, he fought against housing discrimination at a time when Trump was being sued for discrimination over the issuance of housing through his company.
“Donald Trump has a different point of view,” Kaine said. “You’ve heard during the campaign he’s ridiculed people with disabilities. He’s ridiculed people if they had – if they were of Mexican American origin. He has said that anybody who’s Muslim should be treated as second-class religiously.
“That’s not the way we do things in this country. It’s not the way we do things.”