Cate Edwards, 22, daughter of Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards, postponed starting work at Vanity Fair in New York City to campaign for her father and Sen. John Kerry. The Princeton grad recently spoke with the Hurricane’s Patricia Mazzei.
What has being part of a presidential campaign been like for you? What do you think you have contributed to it?
Oh, I hope I have contributed! We’ve visited 46 colleges in two months. We’ve been trying to energize students, let them know of the importance of the election and of getting involved and staying active. It’s been a whirlwind experience, sometimes three weeks seem like three months and three months like three weeks. It happens to me all the time that I wake up not knowing where I am, even when I wake up in my own bed.
It’s tiring to travel, but it’s also energizing, and it’s an amazing opportunity to see America and Americans. I’ll never forget it; it’s an important process and you quickly get used to it. We’ve had so much support, and I have my family and friends to keep me grounded.
Pundits have suggested that the youth vote will be very important this election, but how do politicians keep young people interested and involved in the political process after the election?
If we see the results come in, and we get the change we want as a generation, and see the success of our participation, then I think that will keep us energized. My father and John Kerry have an optimistic vision about our future, and I think that’s energizing to young people.
With so much of the campaign focusing on the war in Iraq, we haven’t heard much about some other issues, like higher education.
It’s unfortunate that the issue of university education has been overshadowed. The cost of college tuition has risen by 35 percent in the past four years, and graduates are leaving school with higher loans than ever before. My dad and John Kerry plan to offer a $4,000 tax cut per year for the student or the family to pay for college. When you think about it, $16,000 in four years is huge.
What has the campaign been doing to address the controversies regarding elections in Florida?
It’s very complicated. We’re trying to promote and protect the vote. We want to have a voting rights representative in every precinct to make sure that everyone’s allowed to register and to vote, and to see that there’s no voter suppression, particularly in swing states. We are making every effort to oversee that.
Do you disagree with your father on some of his positions? If so, which ones?
There are a few things we don’t necessarily agree on, but he values the right things. We have a slight disagreement on gay marriage, but I’m excited about his candidacy and I support him. Plus, it’s not my views that really matter – he’s the one running for office.
What do you see your father doing if he loses the election? Will he stay in politics?
We haven’t thought about that yet. I hope-I don’t think that’s going to happen. Change is really needed in our country right now. To be honest, I can’t even tell you what we’ll be doing in November. Right now we’re just thinking of the next [few]days.
Patricia Mazzei can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.