Former president makes stop at UTPA
Posted: 03/04/2008
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In a swing through South Texas on the day before the March 4 primary election, former President Bill Clinton made a stop at The University of Texas-Pan American - a visit sponsored by the Association of Public Administrators, a student organization on campus.

"Thank you for giving me the chance to come to UTPA," Clinton said as he stepped up to the podium before a crowd of more than 500 in the Fieldhouse.

Former President Bill Clinton spoke to more than 500 people during a visit to the UTPA campus March 3.
Clinton, clad in a suit with his blue cowboy boots, was introduced by Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, following rallying remarks by a number of prominent state and local elected officials who have announced their support for Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president. Clinton said it was only fitting that the race for the Democratic nomination between his wife and her opponent come down to Texas and Ohio.

"Hillary's first job in politics as a very young woman was coming here over 35 years ago to register some of your parents and grandparents to vote," he said. "It started here for her so long ago in this part of Texas."

Clinton talked about the challenging issues facing America and described his wife's position on a number of issues, spending considerable time explaining her heath care coverage proposal to cover everybody, pointing out that Hispanics are the highest percent of Americans without health care coverage.

"Raise your hand if you know someone without health insurance," he asked the crowd, who responded with a large wave of hands.

On education, Clinton said Hillary would open doors of higher education to all Americans and implement a plan of tax credits for students, increased Pell Grants, a crack down on student loan abuse and student loan forgiveness for graduates who go into public service. In the midst of her campaign he also pointed out that Hillary passed the Student Borrower Bill of Rights, which she sponsored.

Before leaving the stage after his 15-minute speech, Clinton urged the crowd to participate in the Texas Two-Step - the state's process of having both a primary and a caucus.

"Tomorrow Texas will be the only place in America where you can vote twice in an election without breaking the law or going to jail," he said.

When asked why he came to UTPA, Clinton said he loved going to college campuses to campaign and to talk to students about Hillary's plans for the future.

"In Missouri, where she carried 110 of the state's 115 counties...I mostly went to college campuses in smaller areas like this. All elections are about tomorrow," he said.

Members and the faculty adviser of the Association of Public Administrators (APA) , a student organization at UTPA , met with former President Clinton during his visit. APA sponsored Clinton's appearance at the campus March 3.
UTPA senior Cesar Aguilar, who was able to get Clinton's signature and even shake his hand, said he appreciates the opportunity to personally see the candidates.

"My major is political science and I want to go to law school, so seeing people like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at Dodge Arena recently really motivates me," said Aguilar, a Mission native, who has lent his hand to some local municipal court campaigns. "I also encourage my friends to go out and vote."

Espiridion Borrego, associate professor and director of the Master in Public Administration program serves as the faculty adviser of the student organization who helped bring Clinton to UTPA. When students get to see a candidate, or in this case an ex-president, live, he said, it gets them energized and engaged politically. He indicated it also assists the faculty.

"Once the students are motivated, it makes it easier for faculty because they become more focused on their studies. They come alive and talk to each other and about the issues. So it is wonderful," he said.