(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – With the 2004 presidential election just around the corner, music and television superstars hit the road this week with hopes of encouraging college students across the country to get out and vote.
The two-week road tour sponsored by the Kerry-Edwards Campaign, brought together entertainment sensations including: Scott Wolf of “Party of Five,” Tom Delonge of Blink-182, Max Weinberg of “E” Street Band, Kelly Limp of “The Real World-New Orleans,” Melissa Fitgerald from “The West Wing” and Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic formerly of Nirvana.
Visiting campuses in ten battleground states with Sen. John Kerry’s stepson Chris Heinz, the celebrities will work to engage students in a dialogue about the democratic process.
Their ultimate goal: for all students to vote.
“We’re encouraging students nationwide to take advantage of their right to vote,” Wolf said after the second day on tour in Colorado. “Nothing is more empowering then voting for what you believe in.”
A 1990 graduate of the George Washington University with a degree in business administration, Wolf said he never used his degree — instead he became an actor.
But he never forgot his first exposure to politics in the nation’s capitol and jumped at the chance this election season to talk to college students about the importance of casting their vote.
“It is really a privilege to bear witness to how passionate kids are about the next leader of our country,” Wolf said.
The Kerry-Edwards campaign spent the last two months visiting college campuses across the country, urging voter registration. According to the campaign, more than 112,000 new Democratic student voters have registered to cast their ballot in the upcoming election.
Heinz said that young Americans are facing tough choices with the skyrocketing education costs and a dwindling job market.
“This makes it even more important for students to vote,” he said.
In 2000, Al Gore won several states by margins smaller then the size of a college dorm. In Florida he lost by only 537 votes and in New Mexico by only 366 votes.
Wolf’s alma mater has two dorms that have more than enough students to have turned the election. One dorm has 1,049 beds and another has 729. Several others house over 400 students, most of whom are eligible to vote.
Heinz and Wolf said the tour has given celebrities a real opportunity to get involved in the democratic process.
But big names urging students to vote is no new concept.
Xina Eiland, a 1990 graduate of the University of Michigan, registered to vote in 1988 after Jesse Jackson spoke to students on her campus about the importance of casting their votes.
“His appearance on campus motivated me to get more involved in politics,” she said, remembering a register-to-vote drive on campus. “I was able to relate to him and it really encouraged me to vote.”
Eiland said she thinks celebrities appearing on campuses will galvanize many of the politically apathetic students to be more involved in the electoral process.
“Kids today want to see change — that’s what they are voting for,” she said.
The tour will visit Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It also featured a special reunion performance by Grohl and Novoselic, who have not shared the stage in a public performance for over ten years.
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