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Tuesday at Bernie's: Sanders campaigns for Hillary Clinton at UA

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Alex McIntyre | The Daily Wildcat

Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for Democratic party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at the Arizona Democratic Party's Early Vote Rally on the UA Mall Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders stumped to over 5,000 people on the UA Mall for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, calling on supporters to elect her president this November.

The night began when Zaira Serrato, a UA senior studying neuroscience and cognitive science, took the stage to recount her experience as an undocumented migrant.

As a first-generation American and college student, Serrato never thought she would be able to attend the UA. 

She said once at UA though, like many other students, she was forced to go into debt to obtain an education.

With friends driving cabs on the weekend to pay their debts, Serrato said Sanders and Clinton’s message of free college tuition and the promise of good jobs after graduation resonated with her.

“I urge you to vote for Secretary Clinton this November,” Serrato said.

Sanders said local Congressmen Raul Grijalva is a leader on every important issue for working families.

“There is only one legitimate, rational, capable choice and that is Hillary Clinton," Grijalva said.

Grijalva who introduced Sanders to the stage with chants of "Bernie" resounding from the crowd, said he is a crusader and the leader of a redemptive political movement in this country.

“Arizona is a battleground state, and you can make the difference in terms of who the next president will be," Sanders said.

FiveThirtyEight.com currently forecasts that Clinton will win Arizona’s electoral votes—the first time since Bill Clinton won the state in 1996.

RELATED: Will Arizona go blue this election? UA School of Government and Public Policy professors say yes and no

First Lady Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton will make the case for Hillary this Thursday at Arizona State University.

“We cannot elect a man to be president who objectifies women, brags about assaulting women and refers to our Mexican brothers as rapists,” Sanders said, echoing Michelle Obama’s previous criticism of Trump.

Mary Coffelt, a UA alumna and undecided voter, attended the rally tonight to hear Sanders speak about the important economic issues facing the nation such as income inequality and Citizens United.

To the uproar of the crowd, Sanders addressed campaign finance reform, his major political theme, and said in the first hundred days of a Clinton presidency she will "bring forth a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.”

Sanders conveyed his desire to have a vigorous and vibrant democracy and voiced his concern over America’s drift towards an oligarchy where billionaires can buy elections.

RELATEDCOLUMN: Oh, how the times have changed, Sen. Sanders

“We live in a nation today with a grotesque level of income inequality, worse than any time since 1928," Sanders said.

Kathy Ortega, a mother from Tucson, spoke before Sanders and called on UA students to vote yes on Proposition 206, so mothers like her with children and a disabled husband can have a living wage.

Sanders congratulated the 13 million Americans who voted for him in the primaries and helped him build the most progressive Democratic platform in history that included a $15 minimum wage in order to fight income inequality.

Jacob Wilson, a UA Ph.D. student studying higher education, said he was a Clinton supporter since the beginning but loves the plan for free college tuition Sanders and Clinton built together.

Sanders asked the members of the crowd to raise their hands if they had student debt. 

Just like Serrato, many in the crowd raised their hands. Sanders went on to tout Clinton’s plan to allow these individuals to refinance their student loans and massively reduce their interest rates.

Sanders went on to address America’s history of denying women and people of color the right to vote. Sanders said recent voter suppression laws, like those in Arizona, remind him of our unequal past.

“If cowardly governors don't have the guts to defend their ideas in a free and fair election, they should get out of politics," Sanders said.

Sanders advocated for a path to citizenship for illegal migrants, increased access to mental health treatment, the end to mass incarceration and guaranteed paid family leave. 

Sanders continually relayed his and Clinton’s mutual support of all these policies.

“On Nov. 8, our job is to defeat Trump and elect Hilary Clinton as our president," Sanders said. "This election is important, but politics and the fight for justice isn't just about election day—you got to get to work the day after, too.”

He asked UA students to roll up their sleeves and fight to make the country what it needs to become what it can be.

“Real change always comes from the bottom up and never from the top on down,” Sanders said.

Sanders told supporters to ignore the media when they say big economic and social change is not possible.

“Always, think big not small,” Sanders shouted to the uproar of the crowd before leaving the stage.


Follow Randall Eck on Twitter.



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