‘Bern, Baby, Bern’

Democratic presidential candidate Sanders speaks at Sheboygan South High
by Jeff Pederson
of The Review staff

SHEBOYGAN — Before an estimated gathering of 2,000 enthusiastic supporters at Sheboygan South High School Friday, April 1, Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called for Sheboygan County voters to help lead “a political revolution” in the Wisconsin Presidential primary on Tuesday, April 5.

Sanders, who has been gaining momentum in the polls in recent weeks in his attempt to edge out former Secretary of State, First Lady and Democratic Presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination.

Sanders began his hour-long speech by noting how his campaign has progressed from underdog to contender status over the course of the past year.

“When we started our campaign 11 months ago, we were considered a fringe campaign,” Sanders said. “A lot has changed.

“We have won five of the past six Democratic primaries and I believe if there is a large voter turnout, we will win in Wisconsin,” he said.

After detailing his rise from outsider to top challenger for the Democratic nomination, Sanders took aim at Republicans, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Republican Presidential front runner Donald Trump.

Sanders criticized Walker for reductions in public education funding, anti-union legislation and Voter ID.

Sanders stated that if he is elected president, he will increase funding for public education, require profitable corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, promote health care as a right of all people and fix the campaign finance system.

“I say to Scott Walker and other governors around the country, ‘If you are afraid of free and fair open elections, get out of politics,” Sanders said. “I will be very much the opposite as president of the United States of America as Walker is as governor.”

Sanders went on to detail what he described as a “rigged economy.”

“I called it a rigged because the top tenth of 1 percent of Americans owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent combined,” Sanders said. “I want American workers to be paid a living wage. A living wage is not $7.25 an hour. That is why I am in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. That’s a living wage.

“Are you ready for a radical idea?” Sanders asked the crowd. “Together, we are going to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the top 1 percent.”

Sanders also discussed his plan to offer free college tuition at public universities.

“A college degree is now the same as a high school diploma was 50 years ago,” Sanders said. “Young people should be rewarded for attending college, not punished.

“Student debt is a huge issue in this country,” he said. “Under this plan, students will be able to get a college education with no debt.

Sanders also expressed concern about the future of the teaching profession.

“I heard something distressing when I was in Milwaukee recently,” Sanders said. “I talked with educators who told me that young people are no longer becoming teachers.

“I believe the best and brightest should be encouraged to become educators, not discouraged,” he said. “That goes for those working in pre-K child care for kids 4 and under. We need well-trained and well-educated child care workers in this country and I am committed to making that happen.”

He proposed to pay for the free college tuition plan through a new tax on the financial transactions of large corporations, or what he described as “Wall Street speculation.”

“We bailed out Wall Street, now it’s Wall Street’s time to help out the middle class and public education in this country,” Sanders said.

Sanders also shared his thoughts on Donald Trump’s campaign.

“Every day Donald Trump seems to make some kind of absurd statement,” Sanders said. “I am pleased to say a recent poll has our campaign beating Trump in a Wisconsin by 19 points. The political process should not be about billionaires buying elections.

“I am pledging to do something quite unusual in American politics,” he said. “I am going to tell the truth. It is time to not only elect a new president, but to transform our country. It is time for a political revolution.”

Sanders pointed out how his political philosophy differs from his Democratic primary rival Hillary Clinton.

“Some of the main differences between Hillary Clinton and myself are that I do not present Wall Street or the fossil fuel industry in any way,” Sanders said. “I also do not work to support the upper class.

“I believe in government that is of the people, by the people, for the people,” he said.

While Republican candidates Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, as well as Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton crisscrossed the state campaigning in various Wisconsin cities during the week leading up the state primary, Sanders was the only candidate to make a personal appearance in the Sheboygan area.

Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and former Republican Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina made an appearance at the Cruz campaign headquarters in Sheboygan Falls on Wednesday, March 30.

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