Tipper Gore campaigns at Metro State University

by Tess Langfus

About 400 people crammed into Metropolitan State University’s St. Paul campus on Tuesday to hear Tipper Gore promote her husband’s presidential campaign, where she noted three prominent issues: education, Social Security benefits and Supreme Court appointments.
“He is the only candidate who wants to strengthen our schools,” she said to a cheering crowd. “And he is very committed.”
She spoke of Gore’s proposal to increase teachers’ pay and the promise of a college tuition tax credit.
Speaking on the nation’s current economy, Tipper said the unemployment rate was the lowest on record and noted the record-high homeownership.
“We have a lot of work that is unfinished and we’re not satisfied yet,” said Tipper.
“Think of the things we can achieve,” she added. “We can do this.”
Tipper reminded the crowd that the decision of who will be appointed to the Supreme Court is in the hands of the next president.
“Electing a president is very serious,” Tipper said. “We don’t take it lightly.
“What brings us together is the fact that we have a passion for our country and what we can do,” Tipper said, stressing the importance of voting in the tight election. “You may hold the key to victory in your hand.”
Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton introduced Tipper and the other women who briefly spoke in support of the Gore-Lieberman ticket. Included were Betty McCollum, DFL candidate for Congress; Susan Vento, wife of the late Rep. Bruce Vento; Sheila Wellstone, wife of U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone; and Mary McEvoy, professor of educational psychology at the University and Minnesota DFL associate chairwoman.
Sayles Belton pumped up the crowd by leading cheers of Gore’s name and chants that each person in attendance should bring five non-voters to the polls.
“This is about civil rights, human rights and the protection of our own lives,” Sayles Belton said.
“We are not where we need to be as a nation,” said Sayles Belton. “In order to get there, we need to move forward.”
Kim Doyle, a returning Metropolitan State University student, said she is undecided regarding the candidates and welcomed the opportunity to hear Tipper speak.
“I’m torn on certain issues and I just wanted to get her perspective as the wife (of Gore) and mother,” she said.
“It helped me make some decisions. I think the thing that was really torn, for me, was the pro-life issue, but I realize there are many other issues too and that you can’t just vote on one issue, and so you have to kind of look at what the package is.”
Doyle said she was disappointed that the other speakers took time away from Tipper and had hoped there would have been a question-and-answer period following her speech.
Vanessa Lotito, a Metro State social work senior, said she came to support Gore “because he is for families and I think he has a better heart than Bush.”
Makeda Zulu-Gillespie came with her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Mariama, to hear Tipper talk about Gore’s education policy and Social Security benefits.
“Education is very important to me,” Zulu-Gillespie said, adding that his proposal to give mothers who stay at home with their children Social Security benefits is also appealing.
“I just quit my job of nine years to stay at home with my children. It was a hard decision, and we’re not doing as well financially, but it’s worth it for (Mariama’s) benefit,” she said. “So knowing that’s a value of his means a lot to me.”