Minter, Sanders and Zuckerman visit JSC


Agathe Fredette

Bernie speaks out in support of Minter, Zuckerman

Senator Bernie Sanders visited Johnson State College to rally support for Sue Minter, the democratic candidate running for Vermont state governor, and David Zuckerman, the democratic candidate running for lieutenant governor, as part of their “Get Out the Vote Rally” on Oct. 28.


That morning, over 200 people were packed into the SHAPE gym and burst into enthusiastic applause when Sanders, Minter and Zuckerman arrived. Dozens of rows of chairs were set up, but many people had to stand because of the huge crowd size, with some even sitting down on the gym floor to have a good view of the speakers.


While the rally was not scheduled to officially begin until 9:30 a.m., dozens of people showed up almost two hours early and packed into the lobby outside the doors of the SHAPE facility gym to await the arrival of the politicians.


Former presidential candidate Sanders had recently endorsed Minter for the position of governor and came to speak at the rally to encourage JSC students to register to vote and become educated and involved in the political process.


Sanders spoke about the importance of livable wages for Vermonters, addressing the pressing issue of climate change, and the need to get big money out of politics, and the need to provide affordable college for students.


Sanders, as impassioned as he was during his time as a presidential candidate, said that current college students may experience a lower quality of living than their parents did for the first time since the 1930s.
Sanders raised the topic of the Citizens United and how this Supreme Court ruling has allowed big money to grossly affect the outcome of political elections, with billionaires having no limit on how much money they can contribute to campaigns.


“It raises the question of what democracy really means,” Sanders said. “Minter, Zuckerman and I pledge to overturn Citizens United. I have many conservative friends. Democracy is all about listening to other people’s opinions. When we began democracy, only wealthy, white men could vote, and we struggled to allow others to vote. We need your energy not only on Election Day, but after as well.”


Sanders said that he is proud to support Minter and Zuckerman and that both candidates uphold and plan to put into effect many of his beliefs and ideas. Sanders said Zuckerman will be one of the most progressive lieutenant governors in the United States if elected for Vermont.


“Sue’s agenda, my agenda, Bernie’s agenda will not be fulfilled if you think your work ends on Nov. 8 . . . Our participation in democracy is what makes it democracy,” said Zuckerman, who said that Sanders inspired him to become politically involved over two decades ago.


Minter promised to carry on Sander’s message of social reform and progressive steps towards solving the issues of poverty, crumbling infrastructure, job loss and college debt for Vermonters.


Minter reminded people in the audience who are disappointed in the corrupted nature of the political process that they are the ones with the power to create positive change.


“We have a statistical dead heat in my race, and the Republicans may have the Koch brothers, but we have all of you. We need you to get out and vote,” said Minter.


Momentous applause from the audience followed the politicians’ speeches, and Bernie Sanders in particular was swarmed for photographs and handshakes afterwards.


The politicians held four different rallies that day to help spread their message. After visiting JSC, they moved on to Lyndon State College, then the Newport Gateway Center, and lastly the Tip Top Café in White River Junction.