Tim Kaine visits University of Minnesota campus ahead of private fundraiser

The Democratic vice presidential candidate talked with students at Coffman Memorial Union

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine talks to students on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 at Coffman Memorial Union. Kaine was on campus for a surprise visit to engage with students one-on-one about issues important to them.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine talks to students on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 at Coffman Memorial Union. Kaine was on campus for a surprise visit to engage with students one-on-one about issues important to them.

Kevin Beckman

Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine visited Coffman Memorial Union Tuesday amid a swarm of TV cameras and young voters hoping to catch a few minutes of the senator’s time.

The unannounced visit came hours after Sen. Kaine, D-Virginia, spoke at the University of Michigan campus. Karen Finney, Kaine’s communications director, said Kaine was in town for a private fundraiser.

“Basically we’re talking to students about the importance of the election and trying to encourage people to register,” Kaine said. “We really want to do well with students under age 30, and that’s why we’re here.”

Kaine said he also wanted to talk to students about the campaign’s efforts to make college debt-free for all students and tuition free for families who make less than $125,000 per year.

Staff members from the Democratic Farmer Labor Party were also speaking with students, encouraging them to vote.

Kaine spoke briefly with Minnesota Student Association diversity and inclusion committee co-directors Brianna Hanson and Simran Mishra, about campus accessibility for nontraditional and commuter students.

“He was actually really interested in learning more about our work with international students [and] making financial aid and fees more transparent,” Hanson said.

Students spoke with Kaine one-on-one on a variety of issues, from mental health awareness to Native American issues.

Andre Montoya-Barthelemy, a first-year public health student and Clinton supporter, spoke with Kaine about the Dakota Access pipeline and other issues with the marginalized Native American population.

“I definitely got the impression that he was listening,” Montoya-Barthelemy said. “He didn’t give any specifics and he didn’t promise anything certainly, but I did get the impression that he was listening and I really appreciate that.”

Will Dammann, a senior and director of government and legislative affairs for MSA, said that though he normally votes Republican, Clinton and Kaine will get his vote this year.

“When I’m looking at these two candidates, I look at Donald Trump and see that he is very divisive and not representing true Republican beliefs,” Dammann said. “Ultimately I can put my trust in Hillary and I trust that she will be able to do the job well.”

Layna Darling contributed to this report.