Scores of students, union leaders and community members flooded into the Stamp Student Union atrium at the University of Maryland Wednesday to hear from gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore and other Democratic candidates on the ballot this November. 

The Democratic candidate stressed the importance of the student vote at the rally. The issues candidates are debating this election directly impact students at this university and across the state, Moore said.

“It’s important that people take this moment personally and take ownership of their future,” Moore said at the rally

Moore is a veteran, author and a former CEO of the poverty-fighting Robin Hood Foundation — he has never held public office. His opponent, Republican Dan Cox, is a Maryland House Delegate for District 4.

“My whole life has been about executive leadership, and has been about not just working in communities, but with communities,” Moore said

The Washington Post and university poll at the beginning of October showed Moore up in the polls by a 2-1 margin against Cox.  The two candidates have vastly different stances on issues including abortion and education

Nov. 8 is Maryland’s gubernatorial election and early voting is available statewide until Nov. 3.

[Marylanders can vote on these five referendums on the November ballot]

Aruna Miller, who is running for lieutenant governor and Jaime Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee also spoke at the rally. Miller is a former delegate for the Maryland State House and if elected, would be the first woman of color and the first immigrant elected to a Maryland statewide office.

“If you want to predict the future, you have to go out and create it,” Miller said during the rally, encouraging the crowd to vote.

Also speaking at the rally was Sen. Chris Van Hollen, comptroller candidate Brooke Lierman and chair of the Maryland Democratic Party Yvette Lewis.

“You are in danger of having less rights than your parents,” Lewis said to student voters during the rally.

Co-founder of Students for Wes Caroline Bauk spoke at the rally. When she first met Moore, Bauk, a public policy graduate student, noticed he was different from other politicians because he took her seriously as a student.

“He has been the most helpful and personable politician I’ve ever known,” Bauk said.

[Md. gubernatorial candidates Wes Moore, Dan Cox debate abortion, election integrity]

Brian Wivell is the political and communications director for the local Amalgamated Transit Union, representing transit workers and retirees in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. Wivell was there, along with other union members, supporting candidates he believes are pro-union and pro-labor.

Wivell hopes the Moore-Miller administration will prioritize working class people in Maryland if elected.

Megan Mulligan, a freshman English and public policy major, likes Moore’s stances on leaving no one behind and that a lot of his stances are consistent with values she wants to see in the Maryland government.

Jamal Oakman, a senior government and politics major, voted for Gov. Larry Hogan in 2018. He now regrets that choice, he said.

When Oakman worked in the General Assembly last session, he saw Hogan vetoing bills about transportation Oakman had worked on.

“He was only serving his political interest instead of the will of the people who are the General Assembly in that case,” Oakman said about the current governor.

Oakman said he’s voting for Moore because of the candidate’s education, abortion and infrastructure plans.

Charles Bagget, a sophomore public policy major, commended Moore for his outreach to younger voters through the rally. “Too often younger voters are not represented in the voters share,” Bagget said, “We can absolutely change the political landscape of this country and absolutely improve in ways we want.”