'I Am Sick and Tired of Seeing Poverty': Bernie Sanders Holds First Major Bay Area Rallies | NBC Bay Area
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

Full coverage of the race for the White House

'I Am Sick and Tired of Seeing Poverty': Bernie Sanders Holds First Major Bay Area Rallies

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bernie Sanders supporters converged on two Bay Area locations Wednesday to listen to the progressive presidential candidate speak about social and environmental justice at “A Future to Believe In” rallies in San Jose and Vallejo. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Wednesday, May 18, 2016)

    Bernie Sanders supporters converged on two Bay Area locations Wednesday to listen to the progressive presidential candidate speak about social and environmental justice at "A Future to Believe In" rallies. 

    The first rally took place in San Jose, and after Sanders made a brief stop in San Francisco, he headed to the North Bay city of Vallejo.

    As the sun went down at Vallejo Waterfront Park, Sanders addressed a raucous crowd numbering in the thousands, some of whom waited seven hours to see the Vermont senator. He talked for about an hour about immigration, jobs, education and legalizing marijuana in California.

    "To be honest," he said, "I didn’t know there were this many people in Vallejo."

    Sanders spoke with NBC Bay Area before the evening rally and was asked about Donald Trump's remarks during a New York Times interview, in which he said Oakland is one of the most dangerous cities in the country.

    "If I had to keep up with every dumb thing Donald Trump says, that’s all I’d be doing," Sanders said.

    Under the hot sun in San Jose with a banner that read, "A Future to Believe In," Sanders took to the podium about 1 p.m. at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. He gave a wide-ranging, but not surprising, speech about a "rigged economy" and the fact that the country's wealthiest profit at the expense of the working and middle class.

    "I am sick and tired of seeing poverty all over this country, wherever I go," Sanders said to whoops and cheers from the crowd, many of whom described themselves as blue collar workers living in the shadow of Silicon Valley's wealth.

    Sanders voiced his support for comprehensive immigration reform — something for which he is prepared to use to the "executive powers of the presidency," paid family leave, legalizing marijuana, and healthcare for all citizens.

    The presidential hopeful also decried tax breaks for billionares and pouring trillions of dollars into wars, and instead promised to funnel the resources into "[rebuilding] communities all over this country."

    "We are going to create affordable housing so people do not use 50 percent or more of their incomes just to have a roof over their heads," Sanders said in an area where exorbitant living costs are forcing people out of their homes. 

    Sanders blasted Donald Trump for insulting Mexicans and Latinos, "our Muslim brothers and sisters," women, veterans and the African-American community.

    "I know that a lot of people are worried that Donald Trump will become president — that will not happen!" he stressed. "... Love always trumps hatred."

    Ahead of the rally, two shirtless men with the words "Babe 4 Bern" written in blue paint across their pecs showed up in the heat, flexing their muscles and offering free hugs in support of the progressive candidate. The young friends, all of whom looked to be in high school, jumped up and down on a dirt road shouting, "Bernie! Bernie!"

    Tables of “Feel the Bern” T-shirts, pins, hats were on display at the San Jose rally, and the crowds bought them up in droves.

    Feelin' the Bern in the Bay Area Feelin' the Bern in the Bay Area

    This is the Vermont senator’s first major Bay Area rally as he and Hillary Clinton get ready for the June 7 California Democratic Primary.

    "California is on board for a political revolution," Sanders said Wednesday, underscoring the importance of the upcoming primary because 475 delegates are up for grabs.

    A new Fox News poll showed Clinton and Sanders in a close race among California Democratic primary voters (48-46 percent).

    "I've been a big Bernie fan and I like his message of tying things - corporate responsibility and representing how that ties into everyday politics," said Shaunn Cartwright from San Jose. "Other people managed to kill off Howard Dean with the 'Dean Scream' thing - people haven't been able to kill off Bernie Sanders and he keeps going and going as evidenced by last night."

    Sanders won the Oregon Democratic primary Tuesday night.

    "I don't think Bernie can be killed off - It's not just because I'm a silly optimist, it's because you know what's happening on the ground and thanks to social media that tells the other side of the story," Cartwright said.

    Sanders was recently in San Francisco, Oakland, Stockton and Sacramento, where more than 16,000 people showed up to hear him. In Oakland, Sanders received a rousing welcome during a brief visit to his campaign office in Oakland’s Rockridge district, where he told an energetic crowd that the campaign is not over.

    According to Sanders, his campaign is resonating with American youth because they too are in favor of "social justice, economic justice, racial justice and environmental justice." 

    He also decried the way people, who choose to get a much-needed college education, are burdened with thousands of dollars of student debt, which they often paying off for decades. 

    "We should be rewarding people for getting an education, not punishing them," Sanders said.

    NBC Bay Area's Rhea Mahbubani contributed to this report. 

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