The Cross Insurance Center on Main St. in Bangor held a political rally Friday, Oct. 7 in backing of current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Supporters lined the streets before the doors opened at 9 a.m. for front-row views of the event’s speakers.
Speaking on Clinton’s behalf was Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont and former 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. Community members also spoke about Hillary’s campaign, insisting that she is the only hope for the nation. Democratic legislators Emily Cain and Troy Jackson also spoke in support of Clinton at the event.
At 10 a.m., the rally was brought to task by several speakers discussing the current issues in their lives and how Clinton’s campaign could have an effect on those issues.
Anna Chelsea, a field organizer in Bangor for the Clinton campaign, opened the discussion by explaining how the Clinton team plans to win the upcoming election.
“I believe that we can win. And here at the campaign, we believe that we will win. If every single one of you spends a few hours knocking on doors and making calls, we can change the course of this election. We can ensure that we elect Hillary Clinton,” Chelsea said.
Chelsea explained that Clinton is the leader “that we need,” and encouraged the audience to do their part in Maine to help the campaign.
Emily Cain, currently trying to capture the House seat in Maine’s Second Congressional District, entered the stage and started off by mentioning the recent advertisements run on television by the Wall Street special interest groups and National Republicans. She claimed the advertisements were “twisting the truth about public health policies in Maine” and that “it is shameful.”
Cain discussed the critical issue of Maine families working longer hours and receiving less pay, cutting their sense of financial security. “This is the result of deliberate choices by people in Congress who put themselves first.” Cain emphasized that the Clinton campaign is promising a rise in the minimum wage, an issue that would impact Maine families greatly.
Cain ended her speech by stating, “We need a president who will put Mainers first.”
She then introduced the next speaker, Troy Jackson, former Democratic State Senator from Maine’s 35th District.
Jackson touched on how important the current election is. “There is a lot of frustration, there’s a lot of anger up here in Maine and I understand it, because I’m frustrated too.” He mentioned the decrease in available jobs in Maine and the outrageous student debt, adding that if Mainers want those issues addressed, Clinton is the candidate to vote for.
Jackson told a story from when he was eleven years old. He would spend a lot of time with his father, who was a trucker. The pair once went to a strike for loggers — one hundred men striking because they felt they deserved more money for participating in such a dangerous occupation. Jackson said the landowner refused to help or talk to the men on strike — he simply said, “Back to work for what I’m paying you for or I’ll replace you all in the morning.”
“That mentality of having the power over people is what is ruining this country, in my opinion,” Jackson added.
The final speaker of the morning was Sanders. A former Democratic presidential candidate, he has since withdrawn from the race and is now supporting Clinton. Sanders started the conversation by thanking Jackson for speaking and thanking the audience for their attendance and support for the Clinton campaign.
“People are angry — and they have a right to be angry,” Sanders stated.
“Let me pick up right where Troy left off. Essentially what he was talking about was power. He was talking about the fact that we have millions of people in this country who are working longer hours for lower wages. People are worried sick about the future of their kids, people can’t afford decent childcare; people can’t afford to send their kids to college; people can’t afford to take two weeks off for vacation. That’s the reality for millions of people in this country,” Sanders said.
Sanders started to explain Clinton’s campaign by talking about the criminalization and laws regarding marijuana. He said that in the Clinton campaign, there are plans to revise these laws and relocate incarcerated individuals as to not target those with minor drug crimes that are unjustly in prison or those with drug addictions who need medical help instead of being incarcerated.
Sanders touched on the inappropriate prices in the pharmaceutical industry — people are not receiving the medication, prescriptions and treatment they are in need of due to an inability to afford them. In Clinton’s plan, they will fight to lower these costs by adjusting current healthcare plans to make them more affordable, ensuring required treatments for individuals.
Sanders also brought up Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and how his business exemplifies the corruption Sanders and his allies have decried.
“You and I and Hillary Clinton, we’ve got a bit of a different vision for America than does Mr. Trump. You know, I’ve been running around the country as all of you know for a year and a half talking about a corrupt tax system, talking about a rigged economy, talking about a corrupt political system. And in one day, Donald Trump did more to make my case than I did in a year and a half. You want to get angry? There’s something to get angry about. A multi-billionaire, a guy who has mansions all over the world, lives in luxury, has wealth that the 99 percent have no clue what it’s about and this guy pays nothing in federal income taxes,” Sanders said.
Sanders emphasized Trump’s statements that he believes he’s a “genius” for not paying those taxes. He added that Trump also doesn’t understand why the wealthy have to pay taxes on top of the middle and lower class already paying them.
Sanders and the Clinton campaign, if elected, plan to start making Trump and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.
Sanders highlighted the idea of democracy, stating, “What democracy is not about is a handful of billionaires buying elections and that is exactly what is happening today.”
Sanders identified some of the key focuses of the Clinton campaign — raising the minimum wage, investing in infrastructure to create more jobs, focusing on the quality and equality of education and fronting the current climate change issues.
Sanders also emphasized that if elected, Clinton will ensure that issues such as racism and equality for women will also be a main focus.
He ended the rally by stating, “Politics does not end on election day. What we have got to do for the next month is work as hard as we can to see that Hillary Clinton becomes the next president of the United States. No one can do it alone — the powers of Wall St., the powers of the big money interest are so huge that the only way we transform this country is to make sure that millions of people get involved in the process. This great country belongs to all of us — not just the one percent. Let us go out in the next month and fight. Let us stand together.”