Young Americans for Freedom leads trip campaigning for Virginia pro-life senate candidate



Franciscan University’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) brought 25 student-volunteers to Virginia over the All Saints break in order to promote the pro-life cause in the November election.

Students traveled to Roanoke, Virginia, to canvass in support of Nancy Dye for the Virginia senate.  The volunteers were given a survey to ask voters to encourage them to go to the polls and vote for the pro-life candidate on Nov. 3.

Ned Hesser, a senior catechetics major, said it is important for students his age to show that they still have traditional values in a society that doesn’t think young people still hold these beliefs and that advocates for things such as abortion and gay marriage.

He also said it was good that the students were talking to the voters and that this disproves the stereotype the media shows of the pro-life movement being made up of just “old, white men.”

Tommy Valentine, a junior history major and president of YAF, said, “I think students learned a lot about, you know the power of personal outreach … the fact that the media always says that ‘oh most people are pro-choice’ … but when you go out and really see that most people are pro-life and they’ll vote that way if they’re informed of where the candidates stand.”

Valentine organized and led the Virginia trip.

Valentine said, “I think especially at Franciscan people underestimate the power of politics to really change the culture.”

He said that people need to take action so laws against abortions after 20 weeks gestation can be passed and Planned Parenthood can be defunded. He said he wants to get students involved in politics, so in the upcoming years as more pro-life candidates are elected, Roe v. Wade could potentially be overturned in 5-6 years.

He also said if Virginia leads the way in the pro-life movement, other states will follow.

Women Speak Out PAC, a partner of pro-life organization, the Susan B. Anthony list, sponsored the weekend.

Tim Edson, national field director of the Susan B. Anthony List, said that Women Speak Out PAC is a partner of the Susan B. Anthony List and is a super PAC aimed at amplifying the voices of women opposed to pro-abortion extremists in Congress.

Edson hopes that in 2016, the Susan B. Anthony List and Women Speak Out PAC will broaden their efforts in battleground states to elect pro-life candidates for president and maintain a pro-life majority in Congress.

“Women Speak Out PAC is working in key state senate races to show that protecting the lives of unborn children and women through common sense abortion limits is a powerful political issue,” said Edson.

“Not only does the pro-life cause bring traditionally conservative voters to the polls, but we can also use it to make inroads with voter groups that do not traditionally receive the pro-life message, including Democrats and Hispanic voters. …Often times these voter groups don’t know how extreme and out-of-touch their politicians are on abortion.”

Valentine arranged a similar Virginia trip in 2013. This trip was a campaign in support of Ken Cuccinelli for governor. Despite the students’ efforts, Cuccinelli was not elected.

In regards to this and the future of the November election, Hesser said, “It’s really important that we stay involved, and that we continue to do things like this, because even if it doesn’t have an immediate effect on this election, it still serves to show that these values still have a place in our society among … our generation.”

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