The campaign office for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) opened on Stadium Boulevard in Ann Arbor Thursday night. The Democratic presidential candidate’s event drew more than 150 local supporters and featured guest speakers former gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed and state Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor.
El-Sayed said Sanders’ consistent beliefs on issues like health care and the environment resonated with him the most.
“Let me tell you why I am so excited to be out here for Bernie right now,” El-Sayed said. “It’s not just that Bernie is the frontrunner among candidates for president of the United States, it’s that Bernie has been talking about these issues since before I was born; it’s the recognition of the kind of policies that we need, but even more than that, the kind of politics that it will take to get it done.”
El-Sayed concluded his remarks by connecting Sanders’ campaign slogan “Not me. Us.” to the Constitution of the United States.
“It goes back to those first three words ‘We the People.’ That’s not just a statement, that’s not just a description, it’s an ideal of people continuously choosing to come together beyond the differences that people tell them divide them,” El – Sayed said. “‘Not me. Us’ is about ‘We the People,’ it’s about us coming together in the best interests of our society.”
Rabhi shared his excitement for Sanders’ campaign and vision for the United States, especially on health care.
“I am proud to be here with so many fantastic people to fight for someone who is running, not just one person, but all of us,” said Rabhi. “To fight for an idea that we can create a healthcare system that leaves more money in our pockets and less money in the pockets of greedy CEOs.”
Rabhi said Sanders’ health care policies would lead to more comprehensive coverage for Americans.
“Too many Americans have died because they do not have healthcare or they lack adequate access to healthcare,” Rabhi said. “How many more will we allow to die? Not a single one under a Bernie presidency.”
Rabhi closed by commenting on his own experiences in government and said he trusts Sanders’ judgment to do the right thing.
“One of the things that I like about this campaign is as someone who has been in the hot seat, somebody who has seen in the bullpen how things work in politics, I can tell you that just about every day I am truly disgusted that our American political system has become what it has,” Rabhi said. “They say that money influences policy… but I have seen it firsthand. And what I like about Bernie Sanders and this campaign, is that there is no monied interest, no corporation that he puts first.”
Medical School student Solomon Rajput, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich, spoke to The Daily about his excitement for Sanders’ campaign.
“I am so excited to support and endorse Bernie Sanders for president of the United States. He’s the man with a vision,” Rajput said. “He knows what we need to get done to improve the lives of the regular people in America and we’re going to stick it to the rich.”
LSA freshman Porter Hughes, a member of Students for Bernie at the University of Michigan, said he hopes to see the office as the beginning of a surge of support for Sanders in the coming months.
“This field office is just one piece of the giant grassroots network that Bernie Sanders is building to help start a movement to not only get him elected President but change the politics that are in our country,” Hughes said. “There are so many issues that people are passionate about, and they are ready to make a change. Bernie is that change.”
This article has been updated to accurately reflect Sanders’ party affiliation from (D-VT) to (I-VT).