As part of his 30-city speaking tour, California businessman, Tom Steyer, conducted a town meeting at USFSP advocating impeaching President Trump.
More than 100 people filled up a conference room in the Student Life Center. They waited patiently for Steyer to answer questions from the public alongside Mayor Rick Kriseman who served as moderator.
Despite the low turnout of young people and students, the crowd was energetic and responsive to remarks made by Steyer about issues like Brett Kavanaugh’s judiciary hearing.
“In his hearings, we have a clear example of injustice disregarding the rights of women to be equal citizens,” Steyer said. “It’s way past due to tending that in the United States.”
He spoke on climate change, health care, immigration, equality, and criminal justice as crucial issues that demand attention and policy changes. In the corner of the conference room, a staffer assisted people behind a table with impeachment petition envelops one could sign and seal.
Steyer launched the campaign Need to Impeach in October, and according to its website, the petition has attracted 5.9 million signatures. The political donor has between now and Election Day to push for an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives.
According to a New York Times article, Steyer was the largest Democratic political donor of the 2014 Midterm election. Consequently, his non-profit group NextGen America spent $87 million in the 2016 elections.
NextGen America has focused on backing democratic governor races in Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, California, Arizona, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.
During the Democratic primary for Florida’s governor, it was reported that the group donated $1 million to Andrew Gillum’s campaign. Gillum, the state’s first African-American gubernatorial nominee, took the nomination with more than 35 percent of the vote.
After introducing Steyer and stating the importance of voter registration, Mayor Kriseman referred to Steyer as “a true public servant that hasn’t been elected.” The statement received roaring applause from the crowd.
Steyer said that one of his strategies for the November elections and the presidential election of 2020 is to attract young people to the ballots.
“My role is less important. I’m going to look at it and say what can I do really to contribute? We wouldn’t be doing youth voter mobilization if someone else was doing it,” Steyer said. “We’re doing it because it wasn’t being done.”
The billionaire environmentalist and Democratic political donor founded the Need to Impeach campaign last October. He believes rallying young people is essential as they now represent the largest bloc of eligible voters in the nation.
Despite Steyer’s strategy to promote younger voter activity, student turnout was low Friday
“The bad thing about town halls is that the turn out is mostly seniors. A lot of the younger generations don’t know about it or don’t care about it,” said Marquis Shields, 28.
Shields, who works for a Tampa Bay LGBTQ non-profit called Project No Labels, wasn’t surprised about the low turnout of young people at the event.
“If we want change, it has to start with us,” Shields said. “See what you can do for your community. Try and have a positive influence on what’s going on around you because to be misinformed is an injustice itself honestly. That’s why I’m here, I want to be informed.”
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