Deutsch campaign comes to USF

After sitting for 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Peter Deutsch has decided to make a run at the U.S. Senate seat left open by Bob Graham, who decided that he will not run for reelection when his third term in the Senate ends.

Deutsch will be on campus today to speak at an open forum at a stop on the campaign trail to introduce himself to people all over Florida. It will be the second college campus visit for Deutsch, who visited the University of Florida in January.

“The vote of young people all over the state is absolutely essential,” said Celeste Wolter, finance coordinator for Deutsch’s campaign. “Just look at the 2000 election. Every vote matters, and it is very important for students to stay up-to-date on current events.”

Deutsch is one of five candidates for the Democratic nomination. Also running is former USF President Betty Castor. Wolter said Castor’s ties to USF would not necessarily present Deutsch with an obstacle.

“This is a great opportunity for students to get to know the congressman and, if anything, it helps students make an informed decision,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for students to meet an experienced congressman and ask questions specific to their needs and to issues in Florida. We want student-voters to explore their options, especially going into the primaries.”

John Duddy, president of the College Democrats at USF, also stressed the importance of educating students before the election.

“We were contacted by (Deutsch’s campaign) about coming to USF and took the opportunity. We don’t necessarily endorse Deutsch, but we do advocate students — all voters really — becoming politically astute before voting,” Duddy said.

Duddy said Deutsch is just one of several political candidates expected to visit USF this year. While no others have been confirmed, he said, the College Democrats are negotiating with other candidates to come to the campus.

Deutsch, 45, was elected to the Florida House of Representatives at the age of 25. Since being elected to Congress in 1992, he has consistently voted to better fund crime fighting, better education and promote peace in the Middle East.

Deutsch represented the 20th Congressional District, including most of South Florida. Protecting the South Florida environment has also been an important aspect of his career.

The forum will be held at noon on the fourth floor of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center. After an introduction by Deutsch and a description of his campaign goals, the forum will consist of Deutsch answering questions from the floor.