Hillary Clinton draws packed crowd to PBSC
Campaigning on her 69th birthday today, U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton spoke at Palm Beach State College, touting her plans for a stronger America and encouraging the energetic crowd to vote.
“If people get out and vote, we will have a victory on Nov. 8,’’ she said over applause. She noted that more than 200 million Americans are registered to vote, the largest number in the nation’s history, and more than 50 million of them are young voters.
“It may be my name on the ballot, but it really is about all of you,’’ she said. She stressed that there is much at stake in this year’s election, including the future of the economy. “This is not just about what we’re against; it is about what we are for,’’ she said.
She reiterated a laundry list of issues she would tackle including helping the middle class by freezing federal taxes for those earning less than $250,000 a year, generating jobs, investing in clean energy, universal pre-K and free community college tuition for families earning less than $125,000 a year. She also discussed increasing the national minimum wage, raising taxes on the wealthy and equal pay for women.
“I’m very optimistic about what we’re going to do together,” Clinton said.
Attendees began forming a line hours before the doors opened at 9 a.m. for a chance to see Clinton. Just two weeks ago, former President Bill Clinton was at the College’s Belle Glade campus campaigning for his wife.
Before Hillary Clinton entered the stage to deliver her roughly 30-minute speech, flanked by Secret Service agents and with Audra Day’s hit song “Rise Up” blasting in the background, the crowd heard from several politicians, including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, Delray Beach City Commissioner Al Jacquet, who in August won his bid for the Florida House District 88 seat, and Randy Perkins, Democratic candidate for the District 18 Congressional race, who all said they are rallying behind her.
Nelson said the decision is in the hands of voters. “Do you want somebody who flies off the handle on any issue or do you want somebody that’s prepared?’’ he asked.
Frankel, whose 90-year-old mother was in the audience, she said she gets emotional thinking about the possible historical significance of the election. “After 238 years and 43 presidents, we have an opportunity to elect a woman for the highest office in our land —not just any woman, the most prepared candidate ever,’’ she said.
This is the second time in recent history that Palm Beach State College has hosted a major party presidential candidate on campus. Eight years ago this month, President Barack Obama, while on the campaign trail for his first bid for the White House, hosted an economic summit in the gymnasium. John Kerry, during his White House bid in 2004, also held a rally at the College.
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Photography by Kristi Sorrow; video by Idalia Centeno