Andrea Dukakis, the 22-year-old daughter of Michael S. Dukakis, came to Cal State Northridge Wednesday to tell more than 500 cheering students that, as far as she’s concerned, father knows best.
“My father believes that everybody should have the opportunity to succeed in our country,” Dukakis said. “My father would not tolerate for a minute any institution that discriminates against women or any other minority.”
Dukakis, who graduated from Princeton University in 1987, has crisscrossed America for two months stumping for her father and urging college students to register and vote.
“There are a bunch of issues that college students can latch onto in this campaign and convince others to get involved,” Dukakis told the crowd at the University Student Union.
On each issue--education, the environment, the homeless, human rights, health care, day-care, civil rights and the Equal Rights Amendment--her father, she said, has demonstrated his commitment as a Democratic governor of Massachusetts and a presidential candidate.
Attacks Reagan’s Record
Conversely, in each of these areas, she said, the nation has suffered under Ronald Reagan and George Bush.
She said her father raised the minimum wage in Massachusetts while the Reagan Administration opposes an increase in the federal minimum wage; her father was one of the first governors to have his state divest in companies doing business with South Africa while Reagan has opposed sanctions, and her father quadrupled loans and grants to low- and moderate-income college students while Reagan has reduced federal grants.
She also cited Reagan’s veto of the Clean Water Act and his initial opposition to a proposal requiring companies that are closing to give workers 60 days notice. She also charged that he has failed to act on acid rain even as states like Massachusetts seek to combat its destructive impact.
Her remarks won points with Scott Svonkin, 22, chairman of the university’s Hunger Task Force.
“I was impressed how well a peer of mine was able to address a large audience and communicate some serious ideas,” said Svonkin, who plans to vote for Dukakis.
But Jon Yenney, 21, a registered Democrat who is leaning toward George Bush, was less impressed.
“It was too quick,” he said. “She just touched the surface of a lot of things. . . . I was kind of skeptical.”
The CSUN speech came in a tightly scheduled day of seven public appearances in Los Angeles for Dukakis, including a tour of the Horace Mann Child Care Center in Burbank. She also spoke at the Cal State campuses in Los Angeles and Fullerton to promote “Opportunity 88,” a statewide Democratic program to motivate students to register and vote.
The second of three children, Dukakis has been to 15 states in the last week and 35 overall, she said in a brief interview. This included stints as a field coordinator in Iowa and Florida during the primary campaign.
She is uncertain about her plans after November, though she said she aspires to a career in communications, possibly journalism, and to remain politically active. She completed an internship as assistant to the editor of Women’s Day magazine this summer.
One surprise on the campaign trail has been the absence of anti-Semitism, she said. Her mother, Kitty, would be the nation’s first Jewish First Lady. Michael Dukakis is Greek Orthodox.
“My mother says she hasn’t encountered it, either,” Dukakis said. “I think we perhaps anticipated more. . . . We haven’t really experienced that very much, thankfully. Maybe that’s a good sign of our country turning away from that.”
Bush’s California campaign has also made use of three of the vice president’s five children as campaign speakers, said spokeswoman Donna Lucas. They have focused on crime, national defense, the economy and education, she added. Jeb Bush, 33, recently toured the campaign’s Burbank headquarters.