Friday, April 16, 2021

Plattsburgh ‘Feels the Bern’

People of all ages will rally and “March for Bernie” tomorrow.

A mix of Plattsburgh State and Clinton Community College students and community members will march tomorrow to support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and they are expected to walk in step with the winds of change starting at 11:30 a.m. at the ROTA Gallery and returning at 4 p.m.

Plattsburgh residents Patricia Blanchard, Adam Guillette and Wendy Bridges have organized this event to support the candidate during his campaign.

Guillette said his reasons for co-organizing the march was to even the playing field for Sanders, who has repeatedly criticized the use of corporate money in politics. However, Blanchard and Guillette said they hope this event, along with small, individual donations will add to his surging momentum.

Blanchard also said she helped to co-organize the event because of Sanders’ positive messages of campaign financing reform, free college tuition, breaking up the nation’s largest financial firms, a $15 minimum wage and single-payer healthcare.

“In my 37 years of voting, I have never found a candidate who tells you, ‘This is what I’m going to do, and this is how we’re going to do it,’” she said, adding that his stances on the issues are easily accessible online. “I dare you to find any other candidate (who) has that on their website.”

She also said she likes that Sanders does not run negative campaign ads designed to break other people down, and his positivity goes a long way.

Blanchard said the wage disparity between the rich and the poor, or income inequality, has been a problem since the 1970s.

“I have friends (of) many cultures, many races, many religious backgrounds, but what made us all the same was that we were poor,” she said. “When you’re working 60 hours a week and still need food stamps to feed your family, something is wrong. He (Sanders) has said these issues for 40 years.”

PSUC public relations major Matthew Messina-Toombs said Sanders’ socially democratic policies will benefit many Americans.

“I think that what he’s trying to do and the changes that he’s trying to make are going to be widely beneficial to a large amount of people in the United States,” he said.

Guillette said Sanders’ focus on the “real issues” makes him stand out from the pack.

“He cares about the real issues like our trade deals that pretty much exploit foreign workers and send our jobs overseas,” he said.

Guillette also said a Fair Trade system, in which people in economically disadvantaged producers of American goods are paid a fair wage, would “build up not only our country, but the rest of the world.”

Blanchard said the march is open to all. People will march from the ROTA Gallery, then turn left onto Margaret Street. They will make their way to Broad Street, toward the ACC, and then back the same way to the gallery.

She said she once lost faith in the political process, but Sanders has renewed her vigor.

“I’ve never donated. I’ve never campaigned. I’ve never felt like a candidate is actually speaking for me and saying what I’ve said for 37 years,” she said.

Email Tim Lyman at news@cardinalpoints.com

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