Sen. Marco Rubio visited Southeast Idaho Falls residents Sunday evening as Idahoans prepare to cast their vote in the presidential primaries March 8.
“I need your vote this Tuesday,” Rubio said. “You elect me, and I promise you, we will do what needs to be done, and we will leave for our children what our parents left for us, the single greatest nation in the history of all mankind.”
Rubio’s speech came just hours after he won Puerto Rico and continues to be the third contender as the battle for the Republican nomination comes to a head.
Still, voters aren’t entirely sold on a particular candidate, including Rubio. Many came to Rubio’s rally to clarify and better understand some of the issues.
“I was hoping that by coming, I’ll maybe learn something I didn’t know before, so that would help me kind of pick who I want to vote for,” said Shaylene Sorrow, a junior studying communication.
Rubio’s speech highlighted his commitment to constitutional principles and small government. He claimed to be the most conservative candidate in the presidential race.
“I’m as conservative as anyone running for the President of the United States,” Rubio said. “According to The National Journal, the most conservative senator in Washington D.C. is named Jim Risch, and he’s endorsing me. He would not endorse me if I was not a conservative.”
Millennial voters have been a target demographic for many of the candidates this election season, and Rubio’s rally drew in millennial living in Idaho, including several BYU-Idaho students.
“College students are going to college for what?” said Ethan Kammerman, a sophomore studying business marketing. “To get an education so they can build their families, so they can have a bright income for their families, so they can live the American dream, I guess you could say. And so it’s really important that they get involved in politics, cause they reason why they’re going to college is to provide a future. If you don’t get involved in politics, there won’t be a future to provide for. Being involved in politics will secure that opportunity to have a better future.”
For others, involvement in politics means a proactive approach to future decisions and laws that will impact millenials’ individual lives.
“We are young adults in this country, and we’re beginning to become more affiliated with the government and policies and everything that is being done in this country,” Sorrow said. “We’re going to be affected by it. A lot of the decisions that are going to be made or by what the presidents do. So, we should be a part of it.”
Rubio’s speech also focused on an older demographic: veterans.
“We owe you an extraordinary debt of gratitude,” Rubio said. “Our veterans took care of us, now we have to take care of them and we’re not. (…) when I’m president, our veterans will be able to take their VA benefits to any hospital or any doctor that they want to go to.”
Veterans were not the only people who Rubio spotlighted at the rally.
“I think it’s always appropriate to stop and thank our firefighters, our EMTs and our police officers for what they do for us and for our country,” Rubio said.
The rally did not convince everybody though; some are still waiting for this upcoming Tuesday to decide their vote.
“I haven’t decided 100 percent yet, but he is definitely one of the top picks of my two, and I respect him, and I think that he would make a great president,” Kammerman said.
Idaho is not the only state to vote March 8. Hawaii, Michigan and Missisippi will also be holding their Republican primaries that day.