YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An enthusiastic crowd of supporters greeted Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as he arrived at the Covelli Centre on Monday morning.
One couple even set up a tent outside, arriving at midnight Monday. They said they “feel the Bern” and are confident Sanders will address issues that could really help the Mahoning Valley, if he makes it to the White House.
Robert Parry, of Austintown, said Sanders stands out among the other candidates.
“I support Bernie. He’s the only sane one in this whole campaign,” he said.
Sanders was introduced by State Rep. Nina Turner (D-Ohio), who fired up the crowd prior to his arrival on stage.
Among topics discussed were women’s rights, education, jobs and infrastructure. Sanders said he would push for paid family and medical leave legislation, as well as free public education by taxing stocks and bonds. He also touched on his plan to provide free healthcare for the country, something he said has raised a few critics’ eyebrows.
Although critics say free public healthcare would be unrealistic in a country the size of the United States and may cost America jobs, Sanders said the plan has been proven to work in other large countries to their benefit.
“How can every other major country provide healthcare to all of their people, but somehow we can’t? I don’t believe that. I believe in a Medicare-for-all healthcare system,” he said.
Sanders also lashed out against what he called greed on Wall Street and in corporate America and urged a more pro-worker policy.
“I think it’s time for Wall Street to start helping the middle class of this country,” he said.
Much of the interest here in Youngstown is foreign trade deals that could affect local factory jobs. Sanders is against them, and he said that is what separates himself from opponent Hillary Clinton.
“Not only did I vote against every one of these disastrous trade agreements, I help lead the opposition against them,” he said.
Sanders ended his speech saying he will defeat Republican front-runner Donald Trump because “love always trumps hatred.”
Jonathan Stafford, of Boardman, said Sanders’ message resonated with him.
“He did more than just show up and give a speech. He literally gave the truth,” he said.
Clinton was also in northeast Ohio but not in the Mahoning Valley on Monday. She has stops planned in Akron and Cleveland. She was in Youngstown Saturday night.
Trump is also planned to speak at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport on Monday night. Ohio Gov. John Kasich spoke at Brilex Industries on Monday morning.
Sanders supporters say the key to Sanders winning Ohio is making sure everyone gets out and votes.