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Kerry visits USF today

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry will speak before an audience of public health officials and first-line defense personnel today to discuss his ideas for national terrorism defense.

The Mass. senator will be making his third appearance in the Tampa Bay area in several months and his first since speaking in Ybor City in April. Mark Kornbealu, spokesman for the Kerry campaign, said this stop is Kerry’s chance to relate the nation’s security concerns to the nation’s youth.

“It’s college students and young people who provide a cornerstone for John Kerry’s campaign. There is so much riding on this election that young people can, do and should care about in this election, like the war in Iraq, the cost of tuition and health care.

“(Kerry) is going to be focusing on the need to protect our country against terrorist threats, something that affects everybody in the nation. Specifically, he’s going to focus on preparing first-responders and the special training they need.”

Political isn’t the only kind of impact Kerry will have on the campus today. The speech, which will begin at 1 p.m. in FAH 110, Theatre 2, will cause parking lot 3, surrounding the Fine Arts building, to be closed from midnight last night until the end of the event, according to an e-mail from Sgt. Mike Klingebiel of the University Police Department. In addition, the e-mail said, access to the USF Federal Credit Union, the Phyllis P. Marshall Center, the USF Post Office and the parking garage may be restricted or delayed due to security measures.

Lt. Joe Anderson of UP said the department aides in such security measures about twice a year.

“These things are pretty standard. Obviously Kerry is going to have Secret Service and his own security, but whenever someone like that comes to campus, we are called on to help,” Anderson said.