Rev. Jesse Jackson encourages people to register to vote in Virginia

Jackson is on a 'Healing and Rebuilding' tour

ROANOKE, Va.- – Virginia's gubernatorial race is heating up as the latest numbers show Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie are neck and neck.

As the election countdown continues, an iconic civil rights leader stopped in Roanoke as part of a voter-registration drive.

WSLS 10's Irisha Jones was the only local news reporter in town to have a one-on-one sit-down interview with the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

High Street Baptist Church Baptist gave a warm welcome to Jackson. At the podium, he recited lines from his famous "Keep Hope Alive" speech.

Founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Jackson urged those at the church to focus on issues that bring people together and also learning to live together as one America.

"Things have changed so much in the last 50 years," Jackson said.

Jackson right now is on a "Healing and Rebuilding" tour across Virginia.
He's tackling topics many Virginians will consider when voting for the next governor in November.
One of those issues he discussed is health care.

"Women who need mammograms, pap tests and other medical care can't get it. There are people really against Obamacare but they want affordable health care. They want the omelet but not the eggs. Ignorance and fear blinds us," Jackson said.

The tour also encourages the importance of having automatic voter registration.

"Voting does matter. Voting determines the course of our country. And there are those who discourage people from voting and deny them the right to vote. Use that vote. People who vote sit on juries. Those who vote determine the quality of education," said Jackson.

Jackson visited Roanoke College for a town hall meeting moderated by Sam Rasoul and sponsored by the College Democrats.

Students and those in the community were able to ask questions about the current state of America, including such issues as eliminating student loan debt and restoring voting rights to convicted felons.
Jackson encouraged students 18 and older to register to vote on the spot.

He also said students should have the right to register to vote wherever they live.
The last day to register to vote Oct. 16.