Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Tim Kaine Tackles Education, Immigration Reform at FIU

Oct 24, 2016

On the first day of early voting in Miami-Dade County, about 200 people turned out to hear Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine campaign for Hillary Clinton.

Speaking on the lawn outside of the Graham University Center at Florida International University (FIU), Kaine tackled topics from Donald Trump’s campaign to immigration reform. He urged attendees to vote.

“We kind of like the polls right now... but I'm here to tell you this one thing: we can't take anything for granted," Kaine said.

He attempted to connect to Florida's Latino voters, referring repeatedly to the year he spent working as a missionary in Honduras and switching between Spanish and English in his remarks. 

That strategy was effective for supporters like mother-and-son pair Mercedes and Osmel Rodriguez, who said they appreciate Kaine's outreach in Spanish and his commitment to his Catholic roots. They came to Miami from Cuba during the 1980 Mariel boatlift and voted early for Clinton and Kaine on Monday. Mercedes said since she was able to come to the U.S. during the tenure of Democratic president Jimmy Carter, she's been a Democrat.

"I'm faithful to my party," she said.

Both Rodriguezes said they're voting for Clinton in the hopes she'll continue President Obama's policy of opening doors to Cuba, where Mercedes's sister and some of their cousins live. And for Osmel's 12-year-old daughter and Mercedes's other six grandchildren, they support the idea of free college for families who make less than $125,000.

The issue of high education costs was a policy talking point for Kaine, who said he and Clinton want to increase early childhood education opportunities and promote technical education, in addition to lowering college costs.

Kaine also spoke in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, saying he and Clinton plan to implement a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally but pay taxes.