Update (4/13/16): On Tuesday, April 12, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders drew more than 4,000 supporters — many lining up as early as 2 p.m. — on Tuesday night at Marist College’s McCann Center in Poughkeepsie. The event, which marked the first appearance by a 2016 presidential candidate in Dutchess County, comes at a critical time in the heated race between Sanders and his Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State and former New York State Senator Hillary Clinton. New York’s primary occurs on Tuesday, April 19.
With introductions that included self-proclaimed “fractivist” and Gasland director Josh Fox and R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe, Sanders addressed a packed arena of college students, veterans, and other supporters for about an hour, covering such topics as marriage and pay equality, social security, law enforcement, healthcare, the environment and — to roars from the crowd — tuition.
The economy — and minimum wage — were also prominent topics of discussion. Drawing parallels between his campaign and that of Franklin Roosevelt’s, and inspired by a visit to the FDR Presidential Museum and Library in Hyde Park, Sanders quoted sections of the 1944 State of the Union address, proclaiming that “poverty is a death sentence” and that “true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.”
Calling out Clinton, Sanders challenged his opponent to release transcripts between her campaign and Wall Street, reminding the crowd that his campaign is entirely funded by individual contributions.
In an effort to assuage fears stemming from the momentum of controversial GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, Sanders added, “Donald Trump will not become president,” noting “Every national poll has me beating him by double digits” and praising America’s diversity.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will hold a rally at Marist College in Poughkeepsie on Tuesday evening. Sanders will be accompanied at the event by R.E.M. lead singer, Michael Stipe.
Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro had invited all presidential candidates to visit Dutchess County leading up to the New York primary on April 19. In an email to students on April 11, Marist College’s Dean of Student Affairs, Deborah DiCaprio, confirmed that Marist College had agreed to host any debates, town hall meetings, or other campaign-related events.
The Sanders campaign responded to Molinaro’s offer and scheduled a rally at Marist College on Tuesday, April 12, at the school’s McCann Arena.
Key issues of the Sanders’ campaign to be discussed at the event include income and wealth inequality, racial and LGBTQ inequality, Wall Street reform, and — perhaps most significant to students — college tuition.
Marist senior and Sanders supporter, Charlotte Karol (’16), expressed her sentiment about the rally. “I am personally very excited to see Bernie Sanders speak and to provide my support for him in person. Regardless of your political views, this is a major historic moment and we are very lucky to host it at Marist.”
According to a CNN summary of the recent New York Fox News Poll, Hillary Clinton leads Sanders by 16 percentage points in New York. However, if a general election were to take place now, those polled indicated that Sanders would be the best candidate to defeat GOP frontrunner Donald Trump by a projected 19 percentage points, while Clinton would lead Trump by 16. Both Sanders and Clinton are campaigning vigorously throughout the state in order to pick up the momentum to win the New York’s 291 delegates.
Security at the event will be handled by both Marist and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office. For security reasons, the Sanders campaign is not permitting attendees to bring bags; personal items will be limited to small items, such as keys and cell phones.