Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Robert Kennedy Jr. visits campus to discuss campaign

CW / Jennifer Stroud

On Wednesday, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. visited campus to discuss his ongoing campaign. 

Kennedy spoke to students, faculty and members of the community at the Bryant Conference Center. 

He discussed his background in Alabama, including his time spent in the state working on his biography of Frank M. Johnson, a judge who assisted with integration during the Civil Rights Movement. 

“My family had a lot of history in this state during the Civil Rights Movement, so I’m very, very happy to be here,” Kennedy said. 

Kennedy talked about his goals for the presidency, including advocating for environmental causes, lowering the cost of living and addressing the mental health and addiction crises in the country.

He also compared his visit to the debate that was held on campus in December.

“I think I’m the only candidate that’s actually talking about what I’m going to do for this generation and making them a priority in my administration,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said many of his supporters will be asked, “Why are you supporting this anti-vax, anti-science, wacko guy?” in response to some of his controversial stances on topics like COVID-19 and vaccines. This was accompanied by a discussion of media bias and the public perception of Kennedy.

Kelby Olson, a freshman majoring in economics and finance, attended the event.

“I was interested in seeing what an independent candidate had to say. However, I wasn’t convinced that RFK has a legitimate shot to win the 2024 election,” Olson said.

Austin Yoder is a freshman majoring in biology who attended the event to learn about Kennedy’s platform.

“I just wanted to take the opportunity to hear a new perspective, hear from a different voice that you don’t hear in many other major news outlets,” Yoder said. 

Jack Diaz-Drake, a senior majoring in criminal justice, said he was interested to hear Kennedy’s platform in person, but ultimately felt like the candidate’s message was ineffective.

“He began his speech directly speaking about struggles that young Americans face financially due to high inflation then began weaving into a ramble of conspiracy and it completely lost me,” Diaz-Drake said in a direct message. “I think a vote for Bobby is a vote for Trump, and I am not giving a vote to that guy.”

Kay Reyes, an alumna of the University, discussed meeting Kennedy’s father, Robert F. Kennedy, when he visited campus during his 1968 presidential campaign.

Reyes was a sophomore at the University when the elder Kennedy visited Foster Auditorium to discuss his campaign goals. After his speech, Reyes, who ended up being able to speak with him personally, said she wanted to tell Kennedy how much she enjoyed it.

Reyes said she tries to attend the campaign events of as many political candidates as possible and was thrilled to hear about Kennedy Jr.’s visit to campus.

At Wednesday’s event, Reyes met Kennedy and told him the story of meeting his father.

“Well, hopefully, you’ll get to meet my son too,” Kennedy responded. 

Kennedy also encouraged those in attendance to sign a petition to help him get on the presidential ballot in Alabama.

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