Kerry’s daughter stumps for her father

Vanessa Kerry urged youth election participation at Coffman Union on Saturday.

Kari Petrie

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry’s daughter said she used to be apathetic about political issues.

Never a part of her father’s past campaigns, Vanessa Kerry said she was more focused on her own life.

Kerry, 27, participated in a panel discussion on women and education at Coffman Union on Saturday. Approximately 175 people attended.

It wasn’t until she saw how the current White House

administration was handling the country that she became active, she said.

“I guess I woke up and realized the impact my father could have and the benefit this country could have if he was president,” she said. “To be a part of that is such an extraordinary thing.”

Life on the campaign trail isn’t always easy, said the Harvard Medical School student. Kerry said she rarely sees her friends and drinks approximately “18,000 cups of coffee a day.”

“You’re eating pancakes and Diet Coke one morning and thinking you’ve hit an all-time low,” she said. “But it’s worth it.”

Vanessa Kerry, who said she has student loans but declined to say how much she has borrowed, said she can relate to college students in many areas.

First-year nursing student Amy Ojibway said she relates to Vanessa Kerry and her desire to be a doctor.

Ojibway, who attended the event, said she sees Vanessa Kerry as a role model and appreciates Sen. Kerry’s plans if he is elected.

“(John) Kerry’s plan seems so fool-proof,” she said.

Vanessa Kerry said she hopes to get more young people active in the election.

“We can impact this election, but we have to choose to get involved,” she said.

Young voters impacted the elections in the late 1960s and in 1992, Vanessa Kerry said.

“(Young voters) were a huge part of changing history and we need to do that again,” she said.

Alex Cahill, an urban planning senior, said he isn’t involved in politics but realizes he needs to be more aware in this election.

Although Cahill, who was also at the event, said he is unsure whom he will vote for, he said he wants anyone but President George W. Bush.

Cahill said he likes Kerry’s idea to offer four years of free in-state college education for two years of service.

“That’s an awesome idea,” he said.

But he said he is unsure about Kerry’s position on the United States’ involvement in Iraq.

“That’s not my favorite thing about him,” he said.

Vanessa Kerry also touched on the issue of same-sex marriage rights. Although Sen. Kerry does not support same-sex marriage, she said he has repeatedly voted for equal protection of gays.

“My father believes in total equal rights under the law,” she said.

Liz Underwood-Bultmann, an English and geography senior, said she plans on voting for

Sen. Kerry because of his domestic policies, including gay rights.

“He closely reflects my values,” she said. “It’s not perfect, but it’s close enough.”