Bernie Sanders rally heats up Bakersfield


Clarissa Alderete

Anthony Alexander, a junior at Independence High School getting excited for the Bernie Sanders Rally held at the Spectrum Amphitheater at River Walk on Feb. 21st, 2020.

Gabriela Reyes, Reporter

Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, made an appearance at a get-out-the-vote rally Feb. 21 at the Bakersfield Spectrum Amphitheater where he talked about his campaign and what he plans on doing if he is elected president.  

  The event started with guest speaker Andrea Guevara, a CSU Bakersfield student who advocates for immigrant rights and opposes private prison systems. 

  “Bernie Sanders has taken a stance against private prisons and detention centers for a long time. He has never wavered,” Guevara said. 

  Lupe Martinez, a local farmer, was also a guest speaker at the rally and shared his opinion and experience regarding the health care system in the United States. 

  “My son almost died because of the lack of medical insurance. We had to carry him to the car and drive him to a hospital in Tijuana in order for him to live. He could not get insurance at the time because he had a pre-existing condition. I believe that health care is a human right for each and every one of us. Bernie Sanders’ plans for Medicare for All is one of the reasons why I will support,” Martinez said. 

  Sanders spoke to the audience and emphasized the purpose of his presidential campaign. 

  “This is a campaign about values. It’s about whether or not we believe we should live with a government and an economy that represents all of us, or whether or not we live with an economy that represents the rich and the powerful,” Sanders said. 

  He proceeded to talk about the current issues that the United States is facing, such as wealth inequality, a corrupt political system, unaffordable housing, and the healthcare system. He also addressed the topics of climate change, the disproportionate criminal justice system, immigration laws, and gun policies. 

  Sanders plans on decreasing the wealth gap within the country, ensuring a job and a living minimum salary for everyone. 

  “What our administration is about is making sure that all of our people in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world can live with security and dignity. We got a rigged economy.” Said Sanders, “We are going to bring our people together, black, white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight around an agenda that works for all of us, not just the 1%. If you work 40 hours a week you are not going to live in poverty.” 

  Sanders spoke about his beliefs in education and what he will do to address teacher’s income and the growing student debt in the country. 

  “My promise is we will fight to make sure that every teacher in America earns at least $60,000 a year. Every person in this country who has the ability and the desire should be able to get a higher education regardless of their income. That is why we will make public colleges and university and trade school tuitions free,” Sanders said. 

  Another topic addressed in the rally that was received well by the audience was Sanders’ health care plan. 

  “Together we will pass a Medicare for All single-payer program. We are going to take on the corruption and greed of the drug companies and lower drug prices of this country. Nobody under Medicare for All will spend over $200 a year for their prescription drugs,” said Sanders. 

  Bernie Sanders finalized his speech by talking about the importance of the primary elections in the state of California, and citizens needed to request a Democratic ballot in order to vote in the Democratic primary elections on March 3. 

  Members of the audience, made up of a wide age range, showed a lot of enthusiasm and support towards the candidate and the proposals and ideologies he is pushing for in his campaign and during the rally. 

  Joey Valenzuela, a 16-year-old student at Stockdale High School, said that out of the policies that Sanders is pushing for, she feels the strongest about healthcare and the Green New Deal. 

  “My family has always had tons of health problems. It is very hard for us to even pay for all that stuff. Also, I’m a huge activist for environmental issues. I don’t like seeing the planet decline at such a rapid pace and I want it to be better,” Valenzuela said. 

  Matt Hinson, a 30-year-old campaign volunteer, also voiced his support on the Green New Deal and the universal health care that Sanders proposed. 

  “Health care is a human right, and I also believe that if we don’t take care of our planet and change things drastically right now, then we aren’t going to have a future,” said Hinson, who also mentioned that “showing kindness and empathy for people is the biggest thing about this campaign, ‘cause our main struggle and focus is making life better for everyone, not just a few people.” 

  Noor Qwfan, a CSUB alumna, was also at the rally to show her support for Sanders. 

  “I am here because I am a Muslim, and being one of the three Western faiths, I truly believe that all of the talk about peace and helping others, and that is what Bernie Sanders stands for,” Qwfan said. 

  A group of Trump supporters was waiting outside of the campaign event to represent President Trump and voice their opinions. They showed up with flags and signs that expressed what their take on the matter was. 

    Grant DeBoer, a 15-year-old student from Bakersfield Christian High School who leans toward the Republican side, showed up because they wanted to see what Sanders campaign was about. 

  “I wanted to hear him talk and get a different side because I have been raised in the Republican side. He is promoting a lot of foolish things like free health care, which is not free. Some of the stuff he says sounds like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” DeBoer said. 

  John Simpson, who is also a Trump supporter, gave his opinion when he was asked about his view of Sanders’ campaign. 

  “I don’t believe in socialism because it has always historically led to violence, chaos, and to genocide. In this country, we are facing an ever-growing divide in the political ground. What I am here to say is that the social programs that are saying they will pull people out of poverty are the same programs that are ultimately going to push everybody down,” Simpson said. 

  Simpson wants anyone who is able to vote to do their research and vote.