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Joseph Kennedy III and Jim McGovern host ‘Your Vote, Your Voice’ talk Monday

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(Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

(Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

Congressmen Joseph Kennedy III of the fourth congressional district and Jim McGovern of the second congressional district spoke to students on issues of concern to young voters at the Commonwealth Honors College event hall Monday.

The visit was part of a series of college tours called “Your Vote, Your Voice,” in which the congressmen visited and spoke to students of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as Clark University and Harvard the same day. The events were hosted by the College Democrats of Massachusetts.

Students voiced their concerns on the election to Kennedy. Some of the issues included student debt, immigration reform, gun violence, healthcare and income inequality.

“I think it’s really important for us as Democrats to recognize the frustration that we have seen boil up in the course of this campaign,” Kennedy said to the roughly 80 members of the audience. “That frustration, when it comes from the left and the right, these are problems that we have to solve.”

Kennedy highlighted issues within the criminal justice system. According to Kennedy, one in three black males born in the United States are expected to be incarcerated within their lifetimes.

Kennedy later criticized the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, for offering “anything but solutions.”

He urged to the audience to “finish the job” on Election Day and to ensure that the Democratic candidate and former Secretary of the State Hillary Clinton becomes the next president of the United States

McGovern took an opportunity to court Bernie Sanders supporters to vote for Clinton by stressing the progressive platform of the Democratic ticket.

“Because of you,” McGovern told Sanders supporters, “and your involvement in the primary in this campaign, we have the most progressive Democratic platform in the history of presidential elections.”

McGovern went on to explain Clinton is the best choice for progressives. He cited her work in childcare and also stressed the historical significance of having the first female president in U.S. history.

“I have a 15-year-old daughter. For the first time in her lifetime, I could say, ‘you could grow up to be president of the United States’ and actually mean it,” McGovern said.

McGovern also took the time to commend the UMass community in its efforts to combat hunger in Pioneer Valley and the University’s efforts to divest from fossil fuels.

“This campus basically forced this university system to divest in anything dealing with fossil fuels,” McGovern said. “And my hope is that it’s contagious and it pours all across the country.”

McGovern compared the election results to the Brexit results. He mentioned that polls on Brexit showed that the likely scenario was that the United Kingdom would remain within the European Union.

“We need to get people out and we need to get young people out,” McGovern said. “If they don’t turnout, then (Trump) wins.”

Some students agreed with both Kennedy and McGovern in their concerns if Trump is elected president.

“Personally, I worry about that if (Trump) loses the election, then Donald Trump may refuse to concede,” said Trevor Perkins, a freshman political science major. “That’s kind of a bedrock pillar of democracy that we accept the legitimacy of our elections.”

“Not many people my age want to get involved in politics,” said Viraj Ayar, a freshman economics and political science major. “Personally, whatever your views are of the two candidates running for president, you have these congressmen coming down and reaching out to regular students.”

Danny Cordova can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @DannyJCordova.

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