YPSILANTI (WWJ) — Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke to a crowd of more than 10,000 supporters on Monday afternoon on the campus of Eastern Michigan University.
The Democratic presidential hopeful took the stage at the EMU Convocation Center. Sanders reiterated his push for student loans to have the lowest possible interest rates while having Wall Street speculators pay for many of his ideas to help students and the middle class.
“After Wall Street crashed the economy, they came begging to the United States Congress, they said ‘yes, we were bad boys — bail us out,'” Sanders said. “And the middle class bailed them out. Now it is Wall Street’s time to help the middle class.”
Sanders said under his legislation, students will be able to refinance their student loans and debt at the lowest interest rates they can find.
“How insane is it that we are punishing people for decades?” Sanders said. “I’ve talked to people who’ve been paying off student debt for 25 years. [They’re] more in debt today than when they took it out 25 years ago.”
Sanders said he’s going to work to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and guaranteed to give new mothers three months paid leave.
“It is not only the need to create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure,” Sanders said. “Flint, Michigan may be the worst example of a collapsing infrastructure, but it is not the only example.
Kevin Chapman, 21, was among the long line of voters standing outside the Convocation Center early Monday morning to hear Sanders speak.
“I think that our country is in dire need of a change politically, economically, socially,” Chapman said. “I feel as though he has the best platform for the Democratic Party, he has the best chance to win the nomination.”
Some students and supporters waited up to five hours outside the Convocation Center to get a seat for the rally.
In wrapping up his nearly hour long speech, Sanders said his campaign is about the courage to stand up to billionaires, large financial institutions and insurance companies.
“Together we have an opportunity in this campaign, not only to elect a new president, but — more importantly — to create a political revolution which transforms our country,” Sanders said.
Sanders called for the resignation of Michigan governor Rick Snyder in the wake of the Flint water crisis. He said there are no excuses for the undrinkable status of Flint’s water supply and wrote that Snyder knew about the lead in Flint’s water long ago and did nothing.
“Because of the conduct by Gov. Snyder’s administration and his refusal to take responsibility, families will suffer from lead poisoning for the rest of their lives,” the release stated. “Children in Flint will be plagued with brain damage and other health problems. The people of Flint deserve more than an apology.”
Sanders and democratic opponent Hillary Clinton are set to host a debate in Flint on March 6, two days before Michigan’s presidential primary.