Thousands scream at Sanders Vancouver rally - KPTV - FOX 12

Thousands scream at Sanders Vancouver rally

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A small, old gym in Vancouver rumbled and shook Sunday afternoon as presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders ignited crowds at Hudson’s Bay High School.

Sanders’ campaign said at least 7,500 attended, with most hearing the Vermont senator speak briefly either outside or in an overflow room in a separate wing of the school.

There was thunderous applause as he took center stage at the main rally, with the most deafening cheers when Sanders talked about higher education.

“Last time I heard, getting an education wasn’t a crime that deserves punishment, “ Sanders said. “We must make public colleges and universities tuition-free.”

That resonated and stuck with many who’d hoped Sanders would talk about just that.

Washougal resident Paige Roberts said she’s a college student in the healthcare field and worries about being strapped with massive student debt.

“Nobody just has $200,000 just to go to college,” Roberts said. "So we are really supportive and hoping he can make a difference.” 

Sanders ran the gamut on other issues — talking everything from environment, immigration reform and police brutality — but adding extra punch to healthcare, wages and the economy, and class wealth. 

"Here in Vancouver, we say to the billionaire class -- we say to corporate America -- we say to Wall Street: No, this country is not going to become an oligarchy. We are a democracy,” Sanders said. 

Supporters told Fox 12 Sanders sold them when he refused to sellout to big, corporate donors. 

“We’re the ones helping him pay for his campaign,” Roberts said. 

The senator capitalized on that when he talked about his Democratic rival.

“I do not believe real change is going to come from a candidate like Hilary Clinton that receives millions of dollars from Wall Street,” Sanders said.

Vancouver resident Matthew Grichs decorated his sweater with Bernie pins and created a large sign of support for his very first political rally.

“There was so much energy in this room,” Grichs said. "I’ve never felt so much positive vibrations. It was quite fantastic to see him.”

Several people at the rally said attending the event did not change their vote, but rather solidified it. Most said they were firm in their vote for Sanders and said it would be a “tough choice” to vote for Clinton if Sanders lost the nomination.

Grichs said he chooses his candidates based on individuality rather than party. He said he if he can’t vote for Sanders, he’d support John Kasich before Clinton.

After Vancouver, Sanders headed straight to Seattle for a rally and wrapped up his night in Washington with another appearance in Spokane. 

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