Sanders visits Vado before New Mexico primary

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Michaela Román

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally on May 21 at Vado Elementary School in Vado, New Mexico.

Amanda Guillen, Editor-In-Chief

 

As two protestors mocked and insulted the long line of Bernie Sanders supporters, Bertrand Perdomo urged the media and others to focus on the reason they were at Vado Elementary in Vado, NM.

“Don’t feed the negativity,” Perdomo said. “Media, don’t give them the attention they want.”

Perdomo, a native of Los Angeles, now lives in New Mexico and is a teacher in Anthony. He, along with other residents of New Mexico, will take to the polls to vote in the state’s primaries on June 7.

Thousands of supporters from the state and its surrounding areas came out to support Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, who is also a Democratic presidential candidate.

Sanders began the rally by addressing New Mexicans and some of the issues the state faces. He also spoke about the state’s high school graduation rate being the lowest in the country. Sanders said that over 30 percent of students in New Mexico are dropping out or are not graduating when they should.

Throughout the rally Sanders hit some of his key platform points, which included income inequality, the decriminalization of marijuana, comprehensive immigration reform, climate change and raising the minimum wage.

Sanders echoed Pope Francis’ thoughts on American policy and said, “We need a moral economy not an economy based on greed.”

In addition to his other points, Sanders asked the crowd how many in the audience were in debt because of student loans. The majority in the audience booed and raised their hands.

“Young people are asking me, how does it happen that when we do the right thing and we go out and try to get the best education that we can,” Sanders said. “Why is it that we are ending up 30, 50, 70 thousand dollars in debt?”

Gabriella Moreno is a recent graduate of UTEP. She said that, although she did have the help of scholarships, she is still in debt and believes that Sanders’ outlook on education is necessary.

“There were some semesters where I had to pull out loans and I’m in debt now. Not huge debt, but it’s true what he says,” Moreno said. “If you want to improve your country, why hinder young people getting an education by charging them a ridiculous amounts of tuition when in reality it should be easily accessible to us?”

Sanders said that public universities and colleges should be free to anyone who wants to pursue higher education.

“We should be encouraging people to get an education, not discouraging them, and that is why I believe that in the year 2016 it is not good enough to talk about public education being first grade through twelfth grade, not good enough anymore,” Sanders said. “We need to make public colleges and universities tuition free.”

Sophomore education major Angelica Hinojos attended the rally with her mother and two younger sisters. They arrived at 8:15 a.m. to beat the crowds.

Hinojos said that Sanders offers opportunities to different minority groups and that this rally was a learning experience for her and her family. She said that she hopes that more young voters and students will attend events like the Sanders rally in Vado.

“Voice your opinion,” Hinojos said. “You should always try to find a way to make our society better.”

Amanda Guillen may be reached at [email protected]