Reno’s campaign trail leads her to USF

With six days left until the Sept. 10 Democratic gubernatorial primary election, former Attorney General Janet Reno will make her way on to campus Sunday to address USF. Out of the three Democratic candidates, only Reno and Daryl Jones have made their way on campus this semester.

In recent debates, all of the candidates have criticized Republican Gov. Jeb Bush’s policies and procedures.

Reno says on her Web site that she seeks the office of governor for Florida to get the most important issues discussed and on the table. Her top issues are improving the lives of children, advocating for elders, improving Florida’s schools and protecting the environment.

Reno said her number one priority is improving Florida’s education system to the point that it can compete against other states. Reno also said going to college campuses is important because students vote, too.

“I think it is important they vote, and I think it is important for them to see public officials and candidates firsthand so they can form their own judgments,” Reno said. “They can ask hard questions, so they can really feel that they have a solid firsthand about the process.”

Susan MacManus, a political science professor at USF, said it is important for each candidate to come to college campuses because they were ignored for too long.

“The 2000 election showed that the 18-24 age bracket does count, no matter how old they are,” MacManus said.

If elected governor, Reno would be the first female candidate in Florida’s history to win the top executive position. Reno, a native south Floridian, became the nation’s first female attorney general and graduated from Cornell University and Harvard Law School.

In recent polls, Reno has been in a dead heat with Tampa lawyer Bill McBride. An article in the St. Petersburg Times that cited the Mason-Dixon Opinion Research poll found that McBride was preferred slightly over Reno to run against Bush, but the poll also showed that neither Reno nor McBride could surpass the incumbent in the general election.

MacManus said she expects the governor to make an appearance before the general election.

“Candidates had a wake-up call to get the young vote in,” she said. “Young voters are now in the big pool for grabbing.”Reno was the longest serving attorney general since the Civil War. Prior to her appointment by President Bill Clinton, she served 15 years as Florida’s state attorney for Dade County.

Jared Boldemann, Reno’s events coordinator, said USF is not the only college campus she has visited.

“She will be going to FAMU and up to Tallahassee on Friday, as well,” Boldemann said.

Reno will speak and have a candidate meet-and-greet for about an hour in the Marshall Center Ballroom Sunday afternoon starting at 2 p.m.