Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and Ann Arbor community members congregated at the University of Michigan Museum of Art Thursday to hear U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
During his speech, Sanders emphasized the need to make college tuition-free and to lower the unemployment rate, as well as the importance of an economy that works for the middle class.
“Our job is to create an economy that works for the middle class and not just for Donald Trump and his billionaire friends,” he said. “To make that happen, we need millions of Americans to stand together and fight back around a progressive agenda.”
Speaking to the economy as a whole, he noted it has improved since Obama took office, but there are still millions of people who are unemployed or underemployed.
“Hillary has a very specific plan to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure,” he said. “And create millions of decent paying jobs.”
Sanders also addressed issues around climate change, pointing to tweets and statements made by Republican nominee Donald Trump that state it isn’t happening. Clinton, he said, respects scientific arguments and will work to use this information to improve environmental efficiency.
This is Sanders’ second time on campus — in March, while campaigning to be the Democratic nominee, he spoke at the Crisler Center on issues including the wage gap, high incarceration rates, and his views on college tuition.
Engineering junior Ron Keenan said Thursday he was excited to get the opportunity to hear from Sanders because he voted for him in the primary but is planning to vote for Clinton in the election, so he’s interested in how their ideas compare.
“I’m also just really excited to listen to him, here what he has to say, hear how he compares his views to Hillary’s,” Keenan said.
LSA senior Miranda Henry said she came to the speech because she is inspired by Sanders’ views.
“I felt really inspired by him as a candidate, and what he stood for, and the way he spoke,” she said. “It’s also exciting to see him here on the campaign to support Hillary too.”
She also said she appreciated that he is still advocating his views even though he is not the nominee.
“He still wants to make a change, it’s not about becoming president. It’s about transforming the politics and the way our national runs,” she said.
LSA junior Emily Kaufman, who voted for Sanders in the primary, said she agrees with Sanders on most issues and also likes that he is now supporting Clinton as the nominee.
“I really stand with 99 percent of his policies,” she said. “Seeing him here to support Hillary, just the unity with the Democratic party, is something that I really support.”
Kaufman said she was always planning to vote for the Democratic candidate in the general election, but is especially satisfied that Clinton is incorporating some of Sanders’s policies.
“I did have some reservations about Hillary, but seeing that she’s willing to take on some of Bernie’s policies and ideas really shows me that she’s a transformative candidate and that she can evolve,” she said. “As a transgender person, knowing that she’s very supportive of trans rights, having people in my life that know her and have met her really has pushed me toward voting for her.”
Daily Staff Reporter Caitlin Reedy contributed reporting.