Five hundred people in Plattsburgh “Felt the Bern” Saturday, April 16, and marched for Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, carrying signs, shouting, “Feel the Bern” and “All of Us” as they walked from Trinity Park to the Plattsburgh State campus.
Plattsburgh resident and co-organizer Adam Guillette said he and two other Plattsburgh residents, Patricia Blanchard and Wendy Bridges, organized a march Saturday, Feb. 27. Guillette said they decided to hold another march to encourage more people to vote for Sanders in Tuesday’s primary.
Because he believes in Sanders’ message, Guillette had worked with others in the community to canvass every weekend between Feb. 27 and April 16. He said that, in Clinton County, Sanders’ supporters outnumber those of his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Although Sanders is an independent, he caucuses with the Democrats, and Guillette said Sanders’ decision to run as a Democratic candidate helped him. There were 291 delegates up for grabs, according to the New York Times.
“People are more warm to someone running in the ticket,” Guillette said.
He also said this race gives voters a choice in whom they want for president: an establishment candidate like Clinton or “someone who tries something different,” like Sanders.
As the crowd marched past PSUC’s Memorial Hall, marcher Tracy DeCoste said she supports Sanders because of his consistency.
“Bernie has been walking this walk for 30 years, and he hasn’t really faltered from his message,” DeCoste said. “I think of him as somewhat of a prophet because he’s talking about the same things 30 years ago that nobody acted upon.”
People drove by looking at the people carrying blue “Bernie 2016” signs, and some honked their horns in support. Marchers cheered as they walked up Broad Street.
Associate Professor of History Connie Shemo’s mother, Mary Alice Shemo, also marched last Saturday. She said she couldn’t vote in Tuesday’s primary because she is not a registered Democrat. However, she was confident that Sanders will win the Democratic nomination.
“I’m going to vote for him in November,” she said amid chants of “Feel the Bern.” “We’ve been waiting for a long time for someone who really addresses and understands the issues that affect (our) everyday lives.”
PSUC speech-language pathology major Jennifer Soriano said Sanders is the most “holistic” of all the candidates currently vying for the presidency.
The California native held a pink sign that read, “AMOR = PAZ.” In English, it read, “Peace equals love.”
“He thinks about how the U.S. affects the world,” Soriano said. “What America does affects so much of the world.”
After the march, the crowd returned to Trinity Park. Clinton County Democratic Delegate Maria Dezotell tried to rally the people there to vote for her to go to the Democratic National Convention.
She spoke passionately as a Sanders supporter. She is new to the political scene, having spent years as a Vermont teacher.
“I hope I convince you all that I am all for Bernie,” she said. The crowd cheered. “If someone tries to change me the other way, I will say no.”
The people shouted for change throughout the city streets, and regardless of the New York primary’s outcome, they have made their voices known.
Email Tim Lyman at firstname.lastname@example.org