Sanders To N.H. Supporters: It's About The Issues, Not The Candidates

May 27, 2015


Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is in New Hampshire for the first time since kicking off his presidential campaign Tuesday in Burlington. And despite the heat, dozens of people came out to show their support.

New Hampshire voters packed the small space of the New England College campus in Concord – waving Bernie Sanders signs in an attempt to stay cool while they waited for the Senator to arrive.

Dozens of New Hampshire voters packed into the New England College campus in Concord to see Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday.
Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR

By the time Sanders entered, everyone in the room was sweating, including Sanders. But he didn’t waste any time before he started outlining his vision, which as voters can agree, he is pretty clear on.

Such as fixing campaign finance reform, closing the income gap, address climate change and reducing college tuition, which was one of the main focuses during the event.

“As president I will make this legislation into law which says that every public college and university in this country will be tuition free,” he said, followed by loud cheers.

The crowd also heard from a handful of New Hampshire college students who discussed their looming student debt. The democratic candidate than took questions from voters  -- some more candid than others.

“I don’t want to be just the party that takes away from Hillary. I want to be able to kick her butt, we need to move ahead. What can we do to get this moving forward? Why can’t we ask Hillary to give up her spot and give it to you?," asked Jeanny Aldrich of Chesterfield.

Aldrich said after the event that she’s behind Sanders because he, unlike Hillary Clinton, speaks to the voters. “Well I’m just saying she is in another echelon, like I said, out of our atmosphere for where most average Americans are at, she has no idea. She has people who tell her what she should be thinking. Bernie knows what we are thinking.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders says reducing college tuition, closing the income gap and addressing climate change would be his top issues if elected.
Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Karl Bergeron, a veteran from Northwood, agrees. “He is more honest, has less ties to Wall Street, won’t accept back money, wants to give kids a college education, wants us all to have health care, all of those, the environment, the infrastructure. Everything that he articulates is something that we strongly need.”

So far only Clinton and Sanders are officially chasing the democratic nomination with former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley expected to jump in later this week.

And although recent polls show Clinton with a huge lead on Sanders – that doesn’t persuade Bergeron from staying in his corner.

“People say to me, you are going to take votes away from Hillary, and I say that is good because I want Bernie Sanders in the White House,” Bergeron told the crowd. 

Like many, Cathy Corkery of the N.H. Sierra Club, also likes Sanders’ consistency and transparency. “I think what is different about Bernie than anybody else is, people who have been clued in and watching politics, know him and they know, he has a record and it is clear what he supports and what he opposes,” she said.

But Sanders stresses to voters that the focus should not be on the candidates but on the issues.

“These campaigns are not about Hillary Clinton or about Bernie Sanders or about Jeb Bush or anyone else, they are about you. They are about the problems that you and millions of people face in our country and we need a civil, intelligent, serious discussion about these issues.”

Sanders also made stops in Epping in Portsmouth.