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Bill Clinton campaigns for wife Hillary in Buffalo

Former president stresses rising together with New York primary looming

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With both supporters and protesters outside the Grapevine Banquet Hall, Bill Clinton told the Buffalo community that they can “rise together” to support his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The former president spoke at the banquet hall on Tuesday in front of an eager crowd. Clinton also stopped in Rochester on Tuesday in an effort to campaign around New York before the state’s democratic primary on April 19.

Hillary leads the Democratic primaries with 1,712 delegates over candidate Bernie Sanders, who has 1,011 delegates.

UB students are currently petitioning for Sanders to come to campus, but there is no known petition for Hillary to come to UB. The petition currently has 2,920 supporters at the time or print and the university is deciding whether or not to invite Sanders.

But there are UB students in support of Hillary’s campaign.

Daniel Mattle, a senior political science major, works for the Erie County Democrats. Part of his job was to help facilitate the movement of the crowd and encourage others to help Hillary’s campaign in Western New York.

“I think it’s good to try and increase the political activity in Buffalo and give students an opportunity to get involved in the process,” Mattle said.

During his speech, Clinton talked about bringing manufacturing back to the United States to invigorate the economy and provide jobs.

When discussing Hillary, he focused primarily on her earlier accomplishments such as her work in North Carolina when she got out of law school and her efforts as the Senator of New York.

Clinton was preceded by multiple prominent Buffalo political figures including Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner, Lieutenant Governor of New York Kathy Hochul and Mayor Byron Brown, who introduced the former president.

“[We are] hardworking people who know who our friends are,” Zellner said referring to the Clintons. “We didn’t know how good we had it until the next guy came in.”

The crowd was filled with an assortment of political participants – students, members of the community, parents who brought their children and those who have seen plenty of presidents come and go.

Nina Franco and Alexa Federice, seniors at Sacred Heart High School in Buffalo, came out with buttons and signs to support Hillary.

“It’s a big, once in a lifetime opportunity to see a former president speak,” Franco said. “I just think Hillary is the most qualified candidate and that she’s focused on moving forward.”

Outside the venue, however, there was a mix of protesters, from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump supporters to pro-Sanders signs.

But this didn’t interfere with Clinton’s speech.

He touched on the job market, explaining that in certain regions, like Louisiana, there is a need for workers that can be filled. He said people with disabilities struggle to make ends meet and even if they are able to work, it is often at a job that will only pay between $30,000 and $40,000, when medical bills are much higher than that.

Clinton also touched on healthcare, the lack of raises since the Great Recession and national infrastructure before coming to a conclusion: “Together, we can rise again,” he said.

“We can create millions of jobs in America and all rise together,” Clinton said.

He reminded listeners about the 2008 election when both candidates, Hillary and current President Barack Obama, won their home states, but Clinton didn’t sweep “the way she could have.”

“We need to tell everyone we know that this election could matter most in the primary election,” Clinton said referring to the primaries.

Tori Roseman is the senior features editor and can be reached at tori.roseman@ubspectrum.com.


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