Tags: Sanders | labor | country | health

Sen. Sanders Labors in New Hampshire

By    |   Monday, 22 Sep 2014 07:47 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent social democrat from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats and one-time Brooklyn high school classmate of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., crossed over to nearby New Hampshire to attend a recent breakfast sponsored by the AFL-CIO at the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Manchester.

The inescapable inference one would draw is that Sanders wants to be part of the conversation as the "progressive primary" shapes up for 2016 to determine who will represent the far left of the Democratic party in a likely race against Hillary Clinton as the centrist and favored candidate.

The even was covered by C-SPAN as part of its Road to the White House series, and the announcer noted that Sanders planned to host town hall meetings in Iowa in September.

Sanders was introduced by Mark MacKenzie, president of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, as a friend of the labor movement. MacKenzie noted that Sanders had been elected mayor of Burlington, Vt., in 1981 by a mere 10 votes.

Sanders began his speech with an attack on "the billionaire class and the big money interests" for "targeting organized labor." The reason, he declared, is because collective bargaining enables workers to earn a decent wage and have a voice in democracy. He stated a goal that every worker in the country who wants to be in a union should be able to be a union member. He then praised Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who was in the audience, as a leader in promoting the rights of veterans on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that Sanders chairs.

The senator stated his theme clearly — that the country faces more serious problems than at any time since the Great Depression, and if one considers the planetary challenge of climate change, perhaps even more serious. For the country to go forward, he called for people to come together to analyze and solve these problems, and "for working people to come together to take on the greed and the selfishness that we're seeing all over this country."

Turning to economic issues, Sanders made what he called the "blunt" statement that "The great middle class of this country, the envy of the entire world, is disappearing, and our job is to rebuild that disappearing middle class." He proclaimed that every kid should have the right to go to college, regardless of income, as he and his brother did, despite the fact that his immigrant father came to this country with no money at all.

He added, "People who work hard are entitled to earn decent wages" and "the wealth of this country should be fairly distributed, not going just to the top 1 percent."

Sanders lamented that 40 million Americans are still without health insurance, that the United States is the only industrialized country that does not recognize healthcare as a right and he vowed to change that.


Interestingly, he went on to say to recognize the anger that exists, although he suggested some of it is misdirected. "But whether you're in the Occupy Wall Street movement or whether you're in the Tea Party movement and you're a conservative, you have a right to be angry, given what's happening in the economy today."

(Archived video can be found here.)

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Robert-Feinberg
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent social democrat from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats, crossed over to nearby New Hampshire to attend a recent breakfast sponsored by the AFL-CIO at the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Manchester.
Sanders, labor, country, health
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2014-47-22
Monday, 22 Sep 2014 07:47 AM
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