Sanders To Tulsa Crowd: 'Together We Can Accomplish Anything'
TULSA, Oklahoma - Speaking to a crowd of thousands, a Democratic presidential candidate told Tulsans, “When we stand together, we can accomplish anything.”
Just after 7:00 Wednesday night, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders took the stage at the Cox Business Center in downtown Tulsa – his only scheduled stop in Oklahoma.
For many in attendance, the day started early as thousands formed a line; the Sanders campaign said nearly 6,900 attended the rally, inside, and he spoke to another 2,000 who were outside.
Sanders took the stage to an enthusiastic crowd and preached his message of a political revolution, saying people are tired of the “same old, same old political and economic establishments,” and said, together, people can make sure the government works for everyone, not just a few.
“No president can bring changes this country needs alone. The only way we make the change this country needs is when millions of people stand up,” Sanders said.
He told the crowd that real change starts from the bottom up, not the reverse. Sanders said his campaign understands that and that people can’t let the “Trumps of the world divide us up.”
Sanders also reached out to the well-known love of football here in Oklahoma, saying that in a democracy the people are the athletes.
Sanders touched on topics like the economy, criminal justice, education and healthcare.
He said he’s tired of much of the wealth going to the top one percent and that he has a “radical idea” to create an economy that works for the working class and that the current minimum wage is a "starving wage."
Sanders also said women make .79 cents on the dollar compared to men and he said it’s “just old-fashioned sexism.”
The senator also said he wants to create a federal jobs program to put people back to work. He said by reinvesting in our infrastructure we create millions of decent-paying jobs.
Sanders also spoke about a “broken criminal justice system,” and how people arrested for a marijuana charge will have a criminal record, but those on Wall Street who have stolen millions only pay fines.
The Democratic presidential candidate said, at the end of his first term “we will end the disgrace of having more people in jail than any other country.”
Education was also a big topic in Senator Sanders’ speech. He said there is something wrong when hundreds of young people want to go to college but can’t because they can’t afford it.
He also spoke of student debt and said, if elected, he would allow students in debt to refinance at the lowest interest rate they could find.
“People should not be punished for getting an education they should be rewarded for getting an education. People should not be having to pay off student debt for decades,” Sanders said.
Sanders said, despite being compared to Santa Claus by some for wanting to ‘give everything away for free,’ he would accomplish his goals by implementing a tax on Wall Street.
Another topic the senator spoke about was healthcare. Sanders said gains have been made by the Affordable Care Act, but that 29 million people are still without insurance and that we pay the highest prices for prescription drugs in the world.
His solution, he said, is to move forward with a single-payer healthcare program.
Sanders said he was aware of the critics, but had a message for them.
“Some think I’m thinking too big, but don’t tell me that in America we cannot guarantee healthcare to all people. Don’t tell me we don’t have the guts to take on the drug and insurance companies. Don’t tell me veterans have to sleep in the street. Don’t tell me African Americans have to be fearful about walking the streets of America,” he said.
Sanders also touched on a number of other topics, including the need for teachers, family values and the momentum of his campaign.
The speech lasted about an hour but was slightly delayed early on. An audience member had to be treated by medical personnel. While that took place, Sanders stopped speaking to make sure the person was attended to.
Sanders isn’t the only candidate making his way to Oklahoma this week. Republican candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are making appearances in Oklahoma City on Friday. And Ted Cruz will be in Tulsa Sunday.
Oklahoma’s primary is March 1st, you can find more information about the election and where to vote.
NewsOn6.com will be live streaming the events and over the air on channel 6.3 and Cox cable channel 53.