MONTPELIER – Hundreds of people filled the State House lawn Saturday to support Sen. Bernie Sanders in his bid for president.
The senator from Vermont is running for president in 2020 and held a rally in Montpelier. His supporters echoed many of his statements regarding topics such as climate change, universal health care and wealth inequality.
The rally started off with a performance from Grammy winner Brandi Carlile. The singer song-writer said she loves and supports Sanders because he is a good man and a true altruist.
“During his life Bernie has done a great thing which is destigmatize a concept of fairness in this country that we all needed to start taking seriously a long time ago,” Carlile said.
She then started signing “The Times They Are a-Changin’” by Bob Dylan.
Hope Petraro, a junior at Montpelier High School, said she regularly thinks about world issues. Petraro said like many other people of her generation, the question that is at the forefront of her mind is how can she advocate for what she believes in?
“How can we as a state and as a nation create real and exacting change and push for equality and justice in all facets of the world we live in? I support Bernie Sanders because he stands up for the reform American people need. He’s a candidate who advocates for comprehensive legislation and the necessary infrastructure to support low income, working and rural Vermonters,” she said.
Petraro said she supports Sanders because he’s willing to act on climate change which she called “a defining issue of our time and one that’s already unleashing it’s effects.”
Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen talked about his support for Sanders as did Rep. Peter Welch. Sanders was introduced by journalist and activist Shaun King.
Sanders talked about the need to reduce pharmaceutical costs and how large companies like Amazon need to pay their fair share when it comes to taxes.
He weighed-in on the anti-abortion legislation being passed in states like Alabama and Georgia.
“In Vermont, we understand that women have a constitutional right to control their own bodies. It is not politicians in the U.S. Congress or the state governments or the local government that will control a woman’s body. It is the women of this country themselves,” he said.
Sanders talked about his potential opponent in the 2020 election President Donald Trump. He said his campaign focuses on confidence, optimism and love.
“That the underlying principles of our government will not be greed, hatred and lies,” he said, adding it will also not be racism, sexism, xenophobia and religious bigotry which are currently being pushed by Trump’s administration.
Sanders said Trump is a “pathological liar” who is hurting the country and the world by ignoring climate change and pushing for more use of fossil fuels. Sanders said people have a moral responsibility to address climate change so their children are left with a healthy, habitable planet.
Sanders is running for president a second time after losing to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary. He talked about the difference between that campaign and this one.
Sanders said the ideas he talked about four years ago were considered by the main stream media and establishment politicians to be radical and extreme.
“Well, a lot has happened in the last four years. Raising the minimum wage to a livable wage? Not so radical today. Guaranteeing health care for all as a human right? Not so radical today. Creating up to 15 million jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure? Not so radical today. Legalizing marijuana? A radical idea four years ago, not so radical today,” he said.