Russ Feingold visits UWRF campus to encourage students to vote
October 19, 2016
Russ Feingold (D), Wisconsin candidate for the U.S. Senate, teamed up with other democratic politicians to encourage UW-River Falls students to vote during a rally in the Falcon’s Nest on Sunday, Oct. 16.
Feingold previously held the Wisconsin seat in the Senate from 1993 to 2011, then lost his seat in 2010 to his now competitor Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Now Feingold is visiting all 72 counties in Wisconsin to voice his plans and encourage people to vote. His visit to UWRF is one of many stops.
Feingold said that he attributes a lot of his campaign's success to millennials getting involved. He said that support from young voters comes from his liberal record in Senate, having been the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act.
“I’m probably the happiest when I’m on a college campus,” said Feingold. “Partly out of jealously because I want to go back, partly because it makes me feel good about the future, and that motivates me.”
During his speech, Feingold spoke about two key issues that he said he will focus on if elected: climate change and college affordability. When it comes to college affordability, Feingold stated, college debt not only negatively affect college students, but the economy as a whole.
“It’s a community issue, and we can do something about it,” said Feingold.
Feingold said if elected, he will work with Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to push a bill through Senate that would allow students to renegotiate their college debt.
Joining Feingold at the event were Franken and Diane Odeen (D-River Falls), candidate for the Wisconsin State Senate. Both spoke about party unity and the issues that need to be focused on, both at the state and federal level. For Odeen, this involved investing in the UW System, increasing the minimum wage and decreasing college debt.
“I am running because, like Russ, I am not satisfied with the status quo,” said Odeen. “Here’s the thing: People in Wisconsin, they want a government they can trust. They want good schools, they want clean water, but that’s not what we’re getting from Madison.”
Like Feingold, Franken spoke about climate change, stating that there is no other country where a major political party denies climate change.
“I’ve got three grandchildren,” said Franken. “I don’t want them 50 years from now saying, ‘Grandpa, you knew climate change was real, you were on the Senate, why didn’t you do anything?’ and also, ‘Why are you still alive?’”
Franken also used his speech to campaign for Feingold, saying that the Wisconsin Senate seat is one of the key seats to having a democratic majority in Senate.
“Russ is a hero, and we need him back,” said Franken. “You need Russ there. I need Russ there. Hillary will need Russ there.”
In the midst of Republican politicians stepping away from the Republican presidential nominee, Feingold stressed not only the importance of displaying party unity, but also for non-partisan cooperation.
“For the country’s sake, we have to make sure that a Democratic president is elected and we get a Democratic majority in the Senate, because divisiveness is being used as a political tool in a way that is really anti-American,” said Feingold. “This goes beyond normal politics, this goes against the very nature of our country, and so it’s exceptionally important that people put aside partisan differences.”