On September 28, I spent the day covering the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders Campaign Appearance at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. for my political/social issues blog “This Week With Mitch Grosky.” In addition to taking over 500 photos, I also conducted brief interviews with a number of the people there. After being addressed by a number of college officials and state officials, Governor Maggie Hassan (now running for Senator) spoke to the crowd.
She was followed by the entrance of Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders.
Bernie Sanders spoke first, speaking of the importance of electing Hillary Clinton as President. He also spoke about some of the issues–education, climate change, minimum wage, and others–that they share in common.
Then Hillary Clinton spoke about some of these same issues, as well as the importance of universal pre-Kindergarten (pre-school), spending most of her time addressing the theme of the day: “Debt Free College.”
This is her education plan which would dramatically reduce college costs for most students. The plan calls for making public colleges and universities tuition-free for families who earn less than $125,000 per year, making community college free for all students, and helping students to significantly lower their current debt by refinancing at lower interest rates.
After speeches by Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton, there was a panel discussion or Question and Answer session in which both featured speakers answered pre-selected questions from the audience about their plans for education reform. The enthusiastic full-capacity crowd of 1,200 seemed to really enjoy both the speeches and the bonus question and answer session.
I was struck by a couple of things:
First of all, it was easy to discern and appreciate the real excitement in the audience as people waited in line to enter with eager anticipation, and as they actually listened carefully to the speeches of the afternoon–especially those of Secretary Hillary Clinton, U.S.Senator Bernie Sanders, and Governor Maggie Hassan.
Secondly, I was impressed that the people there expressed nearly universal approval of and strong praise for Hillary Clinton. Sometimes when people look on facebook or on the various news programs, they get the impression that everyone sees this election as a choice between the “lesser of two evils.” That was certainly NOT the case here. These are people who strongly believe in Hillary Clinton, who deeply admire who she is and all that she has accomplished in the past approximately 30 years. These are people who enthusiastically support her and are totally committed to her.
In each brief interview that I conducted, I focused on two major questions. First of all, I asked, “Are you here to support Hillary Clinton or to make up your mind?” In nearly every single case–including those involving former Bernie Sanders supporters–I found that people had already made a firm commitment to support Hillary Clinton.
Secondly, once they acknowledged that they were already supporting Secretary Clinton, I asked them, “Could you give me a couple of reasons why you feel that she is the best candidate for President?” People voiced strong opinions in support of the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. What follows are excerpts from some of the conversations which I had with well over a dozen supporters.
I see a woman who is brilliant, knows policy inside and out, and who cares for everyone around her. . . She came out at the beginning of her campaign talking about (reasonable gun limitations) when nobody else did, and she’s met with survivors (of gun violence) all over the country in small groups . . . it’s on her agenda.” –Clai from West Berlin, New Hampshire
“I’m here as a volunteer, for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and we’re concerned about the gun violence that’s taking the lives of over 30,000 Americans per day, and Hillary has come out and said that she’s going to fight the NRA and fight for sensible gun laws, and Donald Trump has not said that, so I’m very much supporting Hillary for that reason. . . Here in New Hampshire, there are a lot of gun owners, and there’s no reason that the second amendment can’t go hand-in-hand with sensible gun laws.” –Deb from North Hampton, New Hampshire
“Her message ‘Stronger Together’—I firmly and confidently believe in that. She’s all for getting our country together—something I firmly believe and I think that’s what we need today, especially with all that’s going on. The world is a scary place, and thinking about Trump ruling our nation scares me to death. It took me a while to come to Hillary, but I strongly believe in her message, ‘Stronger Together.’”–Veronica from Cambridge, Massachusetts
“I’ve been a supporter of hers for like 15 years . . . I lived in New York; I volunteered on her staff and so on . . . I feel that she brings a view and she understands the problems that are going on in the community, and I think she will do so much better than Donald. I mean Donald is very upsetting because he’s spouting bigotry . . . he’s spouting separation. It’s just amazing the things that he’s said. He makes me feel that he doesn’t feel sorry for the words he’s expressing. . . He’s saying things that some people feel, and they’ve been afraid to say—whether (those things) are right or wrong. He’s given them carte blanche to say those things . . . and it’s very scary because you have a population that might THINK those things about their neighbor, but he’s expressed it so (it seems like it’s) OK to say those things.” –Denise from Roxbury, Massachusetts
“I am neutral right now. What’s important to me is that the students are educated (about) the candidates and that we get as many students as we can out there to vote on Election Day. . . The biggest issue that I’m interested in is education. I’ve always been really interested in education, and I’m listening to what the candidates have to say about student debt . . . This is not something that is on the forefront of most people’s minds, so it is our responsibility to make sure that issue is covered, and that we’re voting in favor of what’s best for our generation —Allison, Executive Editor of “The New Hampshire,” the School Newspaper at UNH—from West Hartford, CT
“I’m here in support of Hillary Clinton. I think she’s fantastic. I’ve been following her for years. I think she’s absolutely brilliant. For me, personally, it would be the ACA (Affordable Care Act or Obamacare), but it’s having a first woman President . . . it’s huge; I mean we have to break that barrier . . . everything that the Democrats stand for, quite frankly, and what the Republicans are against.” She indicated that she was “not at all” impressed by Donald Trump—“It’s very scary; we can’t have that; we just can’t have that . . . I think he’s dangerous; I think he would take us down financially. I think he would promote hatred, and other countries would be coming against us, and we would bear that—that hate and that burden. The Supreme Court is also at stake; we’re looking at 3-4 Supreme Court seats – the next 20 years . . . I have zero confidence in Donald Trump (in making those appointments), and I’m terrified quite frankly. –Natalie, originally from New Hampshire but now living in Florida
“I’m already in support of Hillary Clinton. She’s good for jobs. She’s good for the colleges. She‘s good for the college students. She’s good for a lot of issues that the American people are concerned about. I’m not interested in Donald Trump’s candidacy; I think he’s a farce. He talks a lot. Big talk, but I don’t think he can put anything behind his words. . . I don’t believe him; he’s lying to the American people.” –Keith from Kennebunk, Maine.
“Those are the two reasons (that I’m supporting Hillary Clinton)—daughter number one and daughter number two –those are the number one and two reasons that I’m supporting Hillary Clinton. (The fact that she’s a woman) is important to me because it’s kind of unprecedented. We’ve seen our first African-American President, and that’s amazing, and it would be nice to see . . . a woman, and it’s not a party trick in my mind. I think that she is the most qualified person for this job, and the fact that she’s a woman is really icing on the cake. There are only a handful (of her positions) that I have any disagreement with her about.” He indicated the following as important issues for him: “The issue of racial equality; that tops for me right now. The environment is tops for me right now. Not as much for me the story of the economy. I’ve lived in a lot of countries in the world, and I know what world economy is, and it takes a little bit of perspective to understand what economy is like in this country. Granted I’m a somewhat privileged person, but even with that, it’s hard to compare poverty in Guatemala and Haiti to what everyday working class people are feeling in the United States. But I will say that over the last 8 years, we’ve seen a whole lot of positive change that we never saw in the previous 8 years.” He indicated that he “absolutely” liked that Hillary Clinton would continue the politics of Barack Obama. . . “I’m very much aligned with the ideology of Barack Obama, and Bernie—absolutely Bernie, as well. Gun control, by the way, is also right up there on the list. . . I think we just need reasonable gun control. It’s obvious. It’s sensible. You go anyplace else in the world and people talk about the United States. (They ask) Does everyone carry a gun? Do you have to fear for your life when you walk down the street? The answer is no, but that fear is there for a reason, and you spend time in other developed world countries and they don’t have the same issues we have . . .” —Chad from Ipswich, Massachusetts
“I’ve made up my mind (to support Hillary)–since 2008. Experience, Brilliance, Commitment. -–Sylvia from Salem, Massachusetts
“I’m supporting Hillary. I’ve been a Democrat most of my life, so that’s part of it, but I also think that I’m not so much afraid of Donald as I am of the image that he portrays, and the ability for the rest of this country to look at that and have bad behavior because of it. He noted that the image he projects to the rest of the world “is even scarier. . . the lack of respect for all human beings and the inclusiveness that he rejects . . .” –Ted from Durham, New Hampshire
“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton. She’s far more experienced and she knows what’s she’s doing whereas I don’t really like Donald Trump. What about Donald Trump particularly bothers me? Oh, let’s see: the fact of his bigotry, the fact that he once went on record saying that he wouldn’t mind dating his own daughter, the fact that he went over to Scotland and kicked people off their land using . . . eminent domain. . . In addition to that, he led basically a lynch mob against the Central Park Four who were accused of assault.” —Bill from Durham, New Hampshire.
“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton. I agree with most of her plans, and I think she’s a strong leader, who can cross beyond party borders. I support most of her social plans, like I support the LGBT community and the Black community especially.” –Jared from Exeter, New Hampshire
“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton. I think Hillary has more of the majority of the people around our country’s needs in mind—over Trump, and that’s the way I think our next President should be. I think there’s a lot of unemployment currently . . . she has plans like implementing solar panels that will solve two problems in one—to make sure we have clean energy as well as employing more people. . . I think Donald Trump has this certain mindset that the top one percent of our country has, and that’s just not the majority of the thoughts and opinions of the people in our country, and I don’t think that the President should represent just the top one percent.” Menat from Exeter, New Hampshire
More Faces in the Crowd at the University of New Hampshire Event for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders
for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders
For over 300 MORE photographs of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Maggie Hassan, and Others at this event, please check me out on facebook at Hillary and Bernie Visit UNH!