First lady urges Rhode Islanders to get out and vote

President Barack Obama is expected to arrive Thursday

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama both paid a visit to Rhode Island on Thursday.

With time running out and a Brown poll showing the race for governor is extremely close, First Lady Michelle Obama stopped in Providence to campaign for Democratic candidate Gina Raimondo.

A crowd waited patiently inside the gym at the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex to hear the first lady speak.

Dozens of people lined up outside of the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex on Thursday.
Dozens of people lined up outside of the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex on Thursday.

“I know we can elect Gina Raimondo as governor and I know that together we can build a future worthy of all of our children,” Obama said. “Get it done. Get to the polls. Stay fired up, ready to go. Make it happen Rhode Island. We’re counting on you.”

Raimondo was grateful for the support from the first lady, and shared in her enthusiasm in encouraging Rhode Islanders to make a stop at the polls next Tuesday.

“I’m working as hard as I can for these next five days, and I need you right there with me to drag this over the finish line,” she said.

Supporters who waited for several hours to see the first lady in person were not disappointed.

“She’s flawless. She’s a brilliant public speaker, and she’s just a really positive role model for young people in our country right now,” said Shelley Nichols of Providence.

On Thursday night, President Obama arrived in Rhode Island ahead of an event Friday morning at Rhode Island College, in which he will speak on the economy and the importance of pursuing policies to help women succeed.

The event will be held at the Murray Center, with doors opening at 7:30 a.m. Friday. The address is scheduled to begin at 11:10 a.m. For security reasons, the White House asks attendees not to bring bags and to limit personal items.

Though the president is not expected to appear with Raimondo, Eyewitness News Political Analyst Joe Fleming said the visit could impact voter turnout.

“It’s a non-presidential election. Democrats in the State of Rhode Island tend to vote less in non-presidential elections. So this is going to help here,” he said. “It’s going to show Democratic voters in Rhode Island that the president does care about Rhode Island, does care about who the governor is.”

President Obama previously canceled a visit to the college on October 16 so he could continue to monitor the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak.

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