October 31, 2012 — Kate Stanton still has two years to go until she graduates from the University of Miami, but the electronic media and economics major fears that the U.S. economy won’t be fully recovered by then, which would hurt her chances of finding a college-level job to repay her college loans.
That is partly why Stanton, dressed in shorts and an orange UM T-shirt, stood in line on Wednesday waiting to enter UM’s BankUnited Center. She wanted to hear what Republican presidential nominee Governor Mitt Romney had to say about creating jobs.
“It’s a big concern for a lot of college students,” said Stanton, one of an estimated 4,000 people who attended the Coral Gables stop of Romney’s “Victory Rally” tour, which also included stops in Jacksonville and Tampa the same day. “We’d like to know that the economy will be back on track in a couple of years.’
Mitt Romney speaks to an estimated crowd of about 4,000, while, from left, Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack stand behind him.
Almost from the start of his opening remarks, delivered amid chants of “Romney, Romney,” the former Massachusetts Governor addressed Stanton’s concerns and those of the thousands of pro-Romney-Ryan supporters in attendance.
“Many of you from the University of Miami here today want to know that when you graduate you’ll be able to find a good job, but right now half the kids coming out of college can’t find college-level work,” Romney said, adding that 23 million Americans are looking for jobs.
He outlined his five-point plan to create 12 million new jobs, which, he said, includes making American energy independent in eight years, increasing trade with Latin America, providing skills training for workers and making a bigger investment in education, decreasing the federal deficit, and reducing tax rates for small businesses.
Romney also took a moment to urge the crowd to donate to relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy, which battered the Northeast with winds, rain, and flooding.
It was Romney’s second visit to the UM campus in the past 42 days. He last appeared at the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse on September 19 for a Univision network town hall-style conversation that addressed issues of importance to the Hispanic community. His appearance also comes three weeks after President Barack Obama’s Grassroots Rally at the BankUnited Center on October 11.
A pro-Romney crowd of thousands turned out for the Republican presidential nominee’s rally at BankUnited Center.
Such events, says Joseph Uscinski, professor of political science in UM’s College of Arts and Sciences, have given University of Miami employees and the wider UM community “a great opportunity to see the candidates up close, and likely even meet them in person. The UM community gets a vantage point into the election that most people in the country will never get,” Uscinski explained.
“For students, they get to live history as it unfolds. For the last decade, UM has been a leader in high-profile political involvement. We have hosted high-profile debates, forums, and rallies in the last few election cycles, and because of this, our students have been able to be a part of major elections. Our students get to experience politics in a way that students at other colleges simply cannot—up close and personal.”
Uscinski, along with professors Casey Klofstad and Christopher Mann, is teaching a course called The 2012 Election that covers topics such as polling, election law, voter mobilization, and congressional and state elections. Romney’s and Obama’s recent rallies, he said, “provide a way to connect the material from our classes to the campaign as it unfolds. This makes our classroom work come to life.”
“Any exposure to candidates is a great way for the UM community to learn about the issues at stake in the campaign and to directly participate in the democratic governing process,” said Klofstad. “UM has a great history of engagement with presidential elections, and it is great to see this tradition continue this year.”
Romney’s “Victory Rally” on Thursday gave UM employees and students a chance to hear not only from Romney but other prominent figures in the Republican Party. U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who earned her Ph.D. from UM, spoke prior to Romney, as did U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Miami Law graduate.
Rubio had the distinction of introducing Governor Romney. In his remarks, he praised the American free enterprise system, urging people to embrace it. He said the 2012 election is about “a choice between two different futures….There’s no reason our future can’t be better than our past.”
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