Vice President Kamala Harris, Democratic Party members speak at rally at UCLA
Vice President Kamala Harris, Los Angeles mayoral candidate Karen Bass and second gentleman Doug Emhoff attend a UCLA rally Monday. The vice president and other California Democratic Party officials joined the campaign event to promote Bass’s candidacy for the Tuesday midterms. (Anika Chakrabarti/Photo editor)
Nov. 8, 2022 11:09 a.m.
This post was updated Nov. 8 at 9:52 p.m.
On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris and other Democratic Party officials called on students at UCLA to vote in the midterm elections.
Hundreds of Bruins and Los Angeles community members attended the rally at the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center, which was hosted by the California Democratic Party in coordination with the Bruin Democrats. The rally also served to campaign for LA mayoral candidate Karen Bass.
Speakers at the rally included the chair of the California Democratic Party, Rusty Hicks, and chair of the LA Democratic Party, Mark Gonzalez. Other speakers included Assemblymember Isaac Bryan, State Sen. Sydney Kamlager and State Controller Betty Yee alongside Harris, Bass and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.
Bass, currently the representative for California’s 37th congressional district, will face Rick Caruso, a billionaire real estate developer, in the Tuesday mayoral election. Bass and Caruso advanced past the June 7 primary, where they received 43.1% and 36% of the votes, respectively, out of dozens of candidates.
Many of the speakers at the rally described Bass as a community organizer who is in touch with younger voices and prioritizes making a difference in others’ lives.
“Take a second to visualize what LA could look like with a mayor who prioritizes our voices like that. … Don’t just visualize that. Go out and vote,” said Bailey Swain, a field organizer for Bass’s campaign and a UCLA alumnus, at the rally.
Bryan, assembly member for California’s 54th district, said he attended and spoke at the rally to advocate for people to vote for local offices and propositions.
Other speakers also focused on the importance of young voters as the future of the country.
“College campuses are so important. You are the epicenter of voting power, ” Kamlager said in her speech. “You debate, you explore curiosity, you learn, you provoke, you innovate, you inspire, and that is democracy. And that is what is at stake.”
Harris attributed the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and appointment of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to hold a seat on the court, to voters’ participation.
Bass also talked about how having active young people on her campaign allowed for a social movement that she said would likely have been impossible without them.
“I’ve been on the campaign trail now every day for a year, and it’s so exciting what we have built because LA has come together,” Bass said. “Our fight for justice goes on forever, and so we always have to make sure that the next generation is prepared to lead.”
Gabe Feiner, a fourth-year economics and political science student, and Zain Raja, a fourth-year political science student, said they came to the rally to support voter turnout, especially among younger voters. Feiner, a registered Democrat, said he is worried about the results of the upcoming midterms but was excited to see other engaged students at the event.
Additionally, even though California is considered a safe Democratic state, there are still important battleground races nationally to watch, Raja said.
“It (democracy) can have great strength in lifting people up. On the other hand, it is extremely fragile,” Harris said. “It is only as strong as our willingness to fight.”