Bernie Sanders draws thousands at LBCC during SoCal visit

Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune
Bernie Sanders, Democratic presidential candidate, addresses over 5,000 supporters at Long Beach City College on Tuesday, Aug. 6 2019.

As the 2020 election season continues to heat up, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders hosted a rally at Long Beach City College’s LAC (LBCC) campus on Tuesday to discuss his views on a number of hot-button topics.

[Photos from the event can be viewed by clicking here].

Over 5,000 people crowded the LBCC quad, according to Marlene Drinkwine, vice president of Business Services for LBCC, to hear Sanders explain what he would do about climate change, corporate spending, gun control, immigration and other topics if elected president.

This is not the first time a presidential candidate made an appearance on the LBCC’s LAC campus. In June 2016, then democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a rally in the school’s gym where 3,000 supporters attended.

Before Sanders took to the podium, norteño singer Omar Ruiz and his accompanying band greeted guests with lively Mexican music as they approached the stage. Long Beach City College Board of Trustees President Vivian Malauulu spoke to the crowd about her work as a longshoreman and educator before welcoming Sanders to the stage.

“Bernie Sanders is the real deal,” Malauulu said.

The senator from Vermont spoke for about an hour during the rally.

Jacob Daruvala, Riverside County resident, attended the rally in Long Beach. He said he was a Sanders supporter during the 2016 presidential race and is supporting him once again.

Daruvala told the Signal Tribune he agreed with Sanders’ point of view on free or low cost health insurance.

“For someone who is 23, the thought of losing my healthcare worries me,” he said. “And the options don’t look good.”

During the rally, Sanders challenged the pharmaceutical industry and claimed that health care is a human right.

“Families are going bankrupt because they can not pay for medications,” Sanders said.

Also attending the rally was Alan Vargas, who said he was still not sure what candidate to support for the 2020 election.

Vargas told the Signal Tribune his main concern was gun violence in the country and came to hear what stance Sanders took on the matter.

This past weekend, it was reported that about 30 people had been killed in mass shootings that took place in California, Texas and Ohio.

Sanders addressed the shootings during his speech and called out US Senator Mitch McConnell for not “having the guts” to enact gun-control laws.

On the topic of climate change, Sanders gave a “utopian” example of how he would address other nations to reduce fossil fuel and weaponry spending.

“I would reach out to Russia, China, Brazil, India and Pakistan and say, ‘Let’s stop spending money on building weapons to destroy ourselves and instead spend it on renewable energy,” he said.

The senator moved on to speak about affordable housing and his views on rent control. Sanders said he would work to end gentrification in communities throughout the nation.

“It is not acceptable for realtors to come in and buy out homes where working class have lived in for generations and build housing where only the wealthy can afford,” Sanders said.

The senator also addressed the immigration policies in the nation. He claimed that if he won the presidency, he would sign an executive order that would restore legal status to the 1.8 million young people enrolled in the DACA program.

As the event dwindled down and the senator had stepped back from the podium, there was a visible altercation near the left side of the stage. Although it was not immediately clear what caused the small quarrel, there were some individuals being escorted out carrying “Trump” signs.