Democratic candidates urged students to get out and vote during a pro-choice rally Monday on the Plaza.
The rally began with a DJ spinning hip-hop records, setting the tone for the afternoon as a group of nearly 200 students began to gather.
The featured speakers at the rally were pro-choice Democratic candidates including Tom Strickland, Angie Paccione, Bryan Jameson, Stan Matsunaka and Ken Salazar.
“This is the closest, most important race in the history of Colorado,” said Strickland, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. “I have visited every college and university in the state because I need your help.”
The importance of voting in this election was emphasized throughout the rally.
Angie Paccione, the Democratic candidate for House District 53, was the first to speak.
“In 1973, the government settled the issue about the right to choose,” Paccione said. “Yet, the Republicans keep bringing it up.”
“This is why we are still protecting the right to choose in 2002,” she said. “It is now 30 years later and we have to continue the fight.”
The rally continued with Bryan Jameson, the Democratic candidate for House District 52, posing a question to the excited audience.
“Is anyone out there pro-death?” Jameson said. “I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion.”
“I am pro-choice and I vote.” Jameson said. “There is a lot held in balance and tomorrow’s vote is important, we need pro-choice candidates in office.”
State Sen. Peggy Reeves was in attendance to introduce Stan Matsunaka, the Democratic candidate for the 4th Congressional District, which includes Fort Collins.
“Stan is a true leader and will always tell it to you straight,” Reeves said. “Get out the vote!”
Matsunaka began his speech informing the audience that life as we know it could easily change because of this election.
“Having control of the Senate has helped us fight these issues,” he said. “The right to choose could be taken away in just a fraction of a second.”
“Tomorrow we will be knocking on doors and dragging people to the vote,” he said. “That is what it is going to take.”
The afternoon continued as Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar took the stage.
“The spotlight of the world is now on Colorado because of the decision that we will make tomorrow,” he said. “That decision will have profound implications throughout our country.”
As Salazar continued to speak, voices in the background began to get louder, and students supporting Republican Sen. Wayne Allard appeared.
“All that we are doing is spreading our voice like they [Strickland’s supporters] are,” said Rob Lee, chairman of the CSU College Republicans. “Whatever few numbers we had at the rally is fine, we are simply exercising our rights.”
Salazar responded to the chants of “millionaire-lobbyist” and “baby-killer” that were directed towards Strickland in his speech.
“I understand their opposition,” he said. “But they should go ahead and celebrate somewhere else and give us the courtesy to exercise our rights.”
Strickland was greeted with cheers from the crowd and hugs from the other candidates when he took the stage as the final speaker.
“We know it is a tight race,” Strickland said. “It’s been a long campaign and I am going to sprint to the finish line fighting for a government that represents the people’s voice.”
With that, the hip-hop music began again and students were on their way.
“I thought that it was an awesome rally,” said Michell Burns, a graduate student in forestry. “Strickland is dedicated to supporting young people and we in turn, support him.”
-Edited by Vince Blaser and Ben Koerselman