Local progressive state candidates rally with Bernie Sanders in Pittsburgh

Madison Pastrick | Layout Editor
After the rally speeches, both Fetterman (far left) and Sanders (center) stopped to speak with people in the crowd and sign autographs.

Hallie Lauer | Features Editor

In a crowded ballroom on the Carnegie Mellon University campus, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Democratic Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor candidate and current Mayor of Braddock, John Fetterman, rallied for a political revolution on July 15.

“An idea that seemed radical a few years ago is mainstream now,” Sanders said. When Sanders ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 ideas like tuition-free higher education seemed to far left, but now in 2018, his proposals are catching on with many progressives.

Sanders was there to support John Fetterman as he ran on a ticket with Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA) against Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate for governor and Jeff Bartos, the Republican lieutenant governor candidate.

Joining them were Sara Innamorato, the District 21 Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Summer Lee, the District 34 Democratic candidate for the Pennsylvania House. Both are members of the Democratic Socialists of America

Both Innamorato and Lee ran on campaigns similar to Fetterman’s – all of which stressed building power on a local level.

“We set out to prove that the power of the people is always, always, greater than the people in power,” Lee said.

All of the speakers, including Fetterman’s wife Gisele, touched on the importance of voter turnout in the midterm elections this coming November.

Sanders made his way through his usual stump speech, speaking on topics like affordable healthcare, battling pharmaceutical companies and advancing women’s rights. His ideas centered around fighting for the working class and the importance of the voice of the people.

“The future of America is based on the children, yet knowing that, we have the highest rate of childhood poverty in the world,” Sanders said.

Sanders also took time out of his speech to call out Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon; the Walton family of Walmart fame; and the Disney corporation for cutting large checks to their CEOs’ while most of their workers are underpaid and living below the poverty line.

Sanders wishes to raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour.

“$7.25 is a starvation wage. No one can live on nine or 10 bucks an hour,” Sanders said.

Near the end of his 30-minute speech, Sanders spoke on the current presidential administration and what the next steps are.

“Right now, we have our work cut out for us,” Sanders said. “Our job in the next three and a half months is to make sure we end one party right-wing rule in Washington. And in two and a half years from now [it] is to make sure that Donald Trump is at most a one-term president.”