GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – For the first time since winning Wisconsin’s presidential primary last April, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) returned to the state Wednesday to campaign for Hillary Clinton and promote voting early.
Sanders spoke at a rally at the Salvation Army Kroc Community Center in Green Bay Wednesday afternoon after a rally in Madison.
The crowd waiting when doors opened at 3:45 p.m. was smaller than the crowds that showed up for Sanders before the state primary, when Sanders held rallies in both Green Bay and Appleton attracting thousands of people.
Sanders focused his speech on how Clinton will help the country with her economic plan. He also talked about raising the minimum wage, improving the criminal justice system, and making college affordable.
And he brought up last weekend’s report by the New York Times suggesting Republican nominee Donald Trump could have avoided paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years.
“At a time when the very rich are becoming richer, when Donald Trump has done more to explain what a rigged economy is about than I could ever do, by showing the world that a multi-billionaire who has mansions all over the world, who lives in the lap of luxury, pays zero in federal income tax year after year after year. That, brothers and sisters, is what a rigged economy is all about,” Sanders said.
After the rally Sanders spoke to Action 2 News one-on-one.
During that interview Sanders addressed his reason for endorsing Clinton by saying, “I can’t tell anybody how to vote. That’s each person’s conscience, but I would ask people to think how they would feel if they wake up the day after the election and Donald Trump is President. In my view Donald Trump would be a disaster for this country. I will do everything I can to prevent that from happening.”
Since the endorsement Sanders says Clinton has adopted some of his agenda.
“Hillary Clinton believes that we should raise the minimum wage to a living wage, that we need pay equity for women, that we should rebuild our infrastructure, and create good paying jobs, that we should make public colleges and universities tuition free,” added Sanders.
Sanders nearly swept Wisconsin in the Democratic presidential primary, and people coming in to the rally told us they needed to hear from him why he was supporting his former Democratic rival.
“There’s still a lot of things that I’m not really on Hillary’s side about. It’s more that I recognize that Trump is going to be a lot worse for our country than I think Hillary would be, so it’s more that I’m settling for her rather than going in on her side,” Sammy Lett of De Pere said.
“It was a pretty heated primary, so once he conceded the nomination I was still with him, kind of on that train. But he got Hillary to change her platform to more match his, so that pushed my support close to her,” Austin Carron, who came from Manitowoc, said.
Former Sen. Russ Feingold, who’s challenging first-term Sen. Ron Johnson, joined Sanders for the rally in Madison. There, Sanders said he was proud to endorse Feingold’s return to the Senate, noting that the Wisconsin senator campaigned for him in Vermont. Sanders was running as an Independent, not a Democrat.
In Green Bay, Sanders was introduced by Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, who’s running against Republican Mike Gallagher for the open 8th Congressional District seat.