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Kaine and Throneburg hold election season forum with UVa students

Voters between the ages of 18 and 25 account for 37% of voting power in the Commonwealth, according to the Virginia Department of Elections — and during Wednesday’s forum at the University of Virginia, students were urged to use that power to the fullest.

“I’ve never been more troubled about the state of the country than I am today,” said Senator Tim Kaine to nearly 60 attendees. “We’re worried, and there’s a lot at stake. Frankly, the only solution to what ails us is more [voter] participation.”

Senator Tim Kaine and 5th District Representative candidate Josh Throneburg spoke at the student-hosted forum to encourage the young attendees to go to the polls next Tuesday.

“Young people are the primary stakeholders in my campaign,” Throneburg said. “Us old folks are going to move on, and you’re the ones who are going to inhabit and run this world, so I love spending time with people who have a deep investment in their future.”

The Democratic duo answered questions from students about the upcoming general election. About a third of the audience raised their hands when Throneburg asked who already had participated in early voting.

The event was co-hosted by students from the Black Student Alliance and the University Democrats. Members of each organization emphasized the importance of young voters to hold elected officials accountable for accurately representing their constituents.

The most commonly discussed issues among students and hosts who posed questions during the one-hour segment included topics of student loan debt forgiveness, racial justice, reproductive rights and affirmative action.

In response to questions about critical race theory, Throneburg told the audience that he originally had struggled to recognize his privileges of upbringing and generational wealth from his white community. But after he had reflected on a $50,000 loan that he received from his father to pay the down payment on his and his wife’s first home, he began connecting the dots about his own privilege, and the systems of inequality experienced by Black people. He also stated that disparities can be corrected with the right legislation.

Senator Kaine promised not to discuss Throneburg’s incumbent opponent for long, but he offered the students a round of facts to let them know why Republican Representative Bob Good would not protect their interests.

“We take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic,” Kaine said. “To not vote to certify a president after a legitimate election is a violation in my view.

“I know lots of things that Good is against from looking at his voting record. I have a hard time finding one thing this guy is for.”

Kaine went on to remind the audience that Good had voted against bipartisan legislation such as the infrastructure bill, the gun safety bill following the mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, a bill that would allow veterans exposed to toxic chemicals in Afghanistan and Iraq and a bill to invest in semiconductor chips.

Although he is running as a Democrat, Throneburg reiterated his mission to serve all 5th District residents and address the issues that matter most to them.

“There are two worlds that live in the fifth district,” Throneburg said. “First is the red, rural, agricultural world, and the other is a more urban, democratic world. I feel like I’ve spent half my life in both, and it makes me feel like I can do a good job representing the people here.”

At the end of the forum, Throneburg seemed to have made a positive impression.

“Some really important questions were asked,” said UVa University Democrats secretary Ella Nelson. “I was happy to hear Josh advocating for things like affirmative action in college admissions and other things that really affect us as college students.”

“It’s clear to see they’re both passionate about what they’re doing. Josh came off like a normal guy in the best way,” said Black Student Alliance Political Action Committee Chair Terrell Pittman. “He’s a pastor and he’s involved in the community. It’s nice to see someone who’s like us who is here to voice our opinions on our behalf.”

Early voting for this year’s U.S. Representative general election ends on Thursday, November 3rd. Polling places for the November 8 election are available on the Charlottesville City and Albemarle County government websites.

Read the Daily Progress voting guide for more important information on election season.


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