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Sen. Tim Kaine and Josh Throneburg encourage students to vote

Kaine and Thronebrug discussed the importance of youth voters, climate change and the future of U.S. democracy

<p>If Throneburg wins, he will be the first Democrat to hold the fifth district congressional seat since 2008.</p>

If Throneburg wins, he will be the first Democrat to hold the fifth district congressional seat since 2008.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine and fifth district congressional candidate Josh Throneburg were hosted by University Democrats, Black Student Alliance and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at U.Va. Wednesday for a public student forum in Newcomb Commonwealth room. Kaine and Throneburg presented their respective platforms and encouraged students to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.

Kaine and Throneburg, flanked by family members, students and campaign signs, addressed students, answered questions from BSA and NAACP representatives and then opened the floor for questions from the general audience. 

The forum centered around Throneburg’s bid for Congress in Virginia’s fifth district, which encompasses the University. Throneburg is running against incumbent Bob Good, a Republican who was endorsed by Donald Trump in 2021. If Throneburg wins, he will be the first Democrat to hold the fifth district congressional seat since 2008. 

“I'll be honest, I'm a really optimistic person,” Kaine said. “I've never been more troubled about the country than I am now at age 64.”

Kaine addressed Good’s history and said his voting history in the House is evidence of an unwillingness to cooperate. Good has voted against verifying the 2020 presidential election results and the Honoring our PACT Act, which proposes medical services for veterans exposed to toxic substances. 

“We take an oath — ‘I will 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 legit election is a violation of that oath in my view.”

An ordained minister and father of two, Throneburg framed his introduction around the centrality of young people in his campaign. 

“We have said from the beginning that young people will be the primary stakeholders in our campaign, because us old folks are going to move on and you're the ones that are going to have to live and inhabit and run this world,” Throneburg said. 

Prior to the forum’s conclusion, Throneburg reaffirmed that climate change is both the catalyst and central priority of his campaign. Citing the risks of climate migration, devastating droughts in California and growing food and resource shortages, Throneburg called on voters to rally for politicians committed to a sustainable future. 

“You have the opportunity and the power right now to vote for people who will actually work hard to mitigate the negative effects [climate change],” Throneburg said. “The votes that you’re taking right now are going to have a dramatic impact on your future, so I encourage you to get out there.”

Throughout the forum, one of the most consistent messages was the importance of voting, with both Kaine and Throneburg saying that voting in the midterm elections was important regardless of the outcome. 

Throneburg and Kaine also spoke at length about the mounting threats towards minorities, including the recent Supreme Court hearings threatening to strike down affirmative action, the gentrification of historically Black neighborhoods and Governor Youngkin’s attempts to block critical race theory from being taught in Virginia public schools.  

Both Kaine and Throneburg stressed the importance of ant-iracism, advocating for initiatives like affirmative action and civil rights protections as means of establishing equity and representative institutions. 

“It has become this deep, deep part of my soul that everyone is entitled to equal opportunity,” Throneburg said. “So making sure that we are trying to put together a level playing field, where everybody gets to have access, where every different person, regardless of their background or their family’s background, can be given the space and resources to build a life for themselves is deep, deep inside my own soul in terms of what I want.”

In an interview with The Cavalier Daily following the forum, Kurali Grantham, vice chair of political action for BSA and second-year College student, said that he hopes that Kaine and Throneburg’s initiatives are successful as they are working at the national level and can have a large impact. 

“Especially when they talk about issues like climate change and affirmative action that are important to me, it’s good to hear both [Kaine and Throneburg] talking about how they’re addressing those issues,” Grantham said.

Early voting in Virginia began Sept. 23 and organizations on Grounds have been hosting events and encouraging students to participate in the election. Student Council is also offering free rides to and from the polls for early voting and Election Day offered through Charlottesville Yellow Cab Services and UDems has been helping to register students by tabling near Newcomb Hall. 

“Without losing my sense of optimism, we're worried, and there's a lot at stake,” Kaine said, “Frankly, the only solution to what ails us is more participation.”