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Michelle Obama rallies for Sen. Mark Udall at Colorado State University

Video: Patrick Enslow CTV11


First lady Michelle Obama spoke in support of Democrats during the rally for Sen. Mark Udall (D) at Colorado State University Thursday afternoon.

Obama and Udall spoke on issues of women’s rights, interest rates on student loans and the importance of young people’s involvement in elections. Healthcare for all, job creation and unemployment were also discussed by representatives of the Democratic party.

The need for students to get involved in the election was emphasized greatly during the rally.

“If you think every young person in this country should have a chance to go to college, we need you to step up now,” Obama said.

Betsy Markey (D) running for Colorado Treasurer, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D), Sen. Michael Bennet (D) and Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) opened the rally.

“Moving forward means raising the minimum wage, respecting women’s reproductive freedoms and equal pay for equal work,” Udall said. “If you vote, you can complain.”

Bennet said Colorado’s economy is thriving, compared to a few years ago. Colorado has created 200,000 new jobs, is fourth in the country for job creation and the unemployment rate has dropped from 9.1 percent to 4.7 percent.

Hickenlooper discussed access to jobs for college graduates as well.

“When our young citizens finish their education, we are going to get jobs out there for you guys,” Hickenlooper said.


Focusing on equal rights was a top priority at the rally. Equal pay for equal work and women’s reproductive rights were the main topic of this issue.

“We have reduced teen pregnancy by 40 percent in Colorado,” Hickenlooper said.

Cheers from the crowd supported Udall’s mention of marriage equality and college affordability.

“That is something I support a lot,” said Aja Mattise, sophomore biology major when speaking of pay and gender equality. “It makes me feel more comfortable and confident in casting my vote for them.”

Bennet spoke about how the decisions made in Washington influence the younger generations more than anyone else.

“What we don’t do in Washington is more important to college students than folks of my generation,” Bennet said.

An emphasis on making college affordable pulled positive reactions from the crowd.

“More young people are graduating from college than ever before and your President has helped to expand financial aid,” Obama said.  “We don’t want you to struggle starting out in life like the President and I were.”

The first lady stayed after her speech to meet and greet with the crowd, give hugs and shake hands with her many supporters.

Alyvia Finney, junior human development and family studies major said she was trembling after shaking Obama’s hand. Finney referred to the speech as passionate and powerful.

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Photos: Eliott Foust

 Obama and Bennett discussed the importance of the values at hand rather than differing political views.

“Democrats don’t always agree on everything and that is fine,” Polis said. “It is an election of values.”

The representatives said it is important to cross party lines in order to move forward.

“Mark has reached across party lines and he has focused on real solutions like getting the best services for our veterans and working to balance budgets,” Obama said.

Obama commended Udall’s efforts on ensuring that the victims had gotten what they needed after devastating floods and wildfires in Colorado.

Udall, who’s great-grandfather was a professor at CSU, was described by Obama as practical and tenacious.

“His politics have always been consistent with his values,” Markey said.

The rally focused on making sure that every person felt that their vote would count.

“Democracy’s not a spectator’s sport,” said Kathryn Tinker, democratic field organizer. “It only works when we all get involved.”

Obama referenced young people’s involvement on social media in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and mentioned the large turnout of President Obama’s campaign and his visit to CSU in 2012.

“That was the conventional wisdom, that young people don’t care,” Obama said. “But boy, did you all show up for Barack Obama … You used every social media tool, things I hadn’t even heard of.”

Obama and other representatives emphasized the need for students to vote in the next twelve days, up until election day Nov. 4.

“It is election day today,” Bennett said. “And it’s election day today all the way until election day.”

For the first time in Colorado history, mail-in ballots were sent to every registered voter, which can be dropped off in the Lory Student Center or mailed with “two stamps,” Obama reminded.

She asked the crowd who had voted so far, and the hands raised were “not enough.” She encouraged students to bring their sorority and fraternity to the drop off box with them.

“Bring the cute guy or girl you met at the party last weekend, or for the parents in the room, [those you met] at the library,” Obama said.

Each representative spoke about the importance of young people taking part in the election process.

“There is a lot of potential just in this room,” she said.

Collegian Reporters Sady Swanson and Christina Vessa can be reached at or on twitter at @sadyswan and @chrissyvessa.

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