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Senator Bernie Sanders Speaks with Missouri Voters Before Primary on March 10

By Emily Hood, Executive Producer of FHNtodayTV

In an effort to appeal to Missouri Democratic voters ahead of Missouri’s primary elections on March 10, Senator Bernie Sanders visited Stifel Theatre in St. Louis on Monday, March 9. Sanders looked to convince voters of his progressive message in order to win Missouri’s 68 delegates.

Sanders made remarks on healthcare, specifically on how the healthcare system could be impacted by COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus. St. Louis County diagnosed its first case of COVID-19 on Friday.

“Imagine the insanity where someone thinks they have the symptoms of the coronavirus, but they can’t afford to go to the doctor,” Sanders said in his speech.

Healthcare is a key policy issue for many Sanders supporters attending the rally, and many support his plan to create a national health insurance program. For Jeff Job of St. Louis, MO, having a Medicare-for-all plan could have prevented past hardships.

“My wife had a stroke 12 years ago,” Job said. “Right before that, we had been trying to get insurance and we had been denied for pre-existing conditions several times. We had just been denied for the third time and she had this stroke, and I sat there, debating for I don’t know how many minutes, ‘Can we afford to go to the hospital?’ Can you imagine, someone is having a stroke and you’re debating whether or not to go to the hospital?”

When speaking with supporters, Sanders looked to assure voters that his campaign was capable of beating President Donald Trump amid questions of his electability by ensuring that he would create record voter turnout in the general elections and bring more voters into the democratic process. 

“Our campaign is the campaign of energy and excitement,” Sanders said.

Sanders laid out plans for education by promising to invest in schools with low-income students, ensure teachers are paid $60,000 or more, and make public colleges and universities tuition-free. He also addressed climate change by explaining his climate plan that would build off the Green New Deal. It is estimated to cost $16 trillion.

“My son was born on Nov. 11, 2016, so I’ve been keenly aware during this entire presidency of what kind of world I’ve brought my son into,” Kristen Capps-Jones, a mother from Florissant, MO, said. “I don’t want to have to tell him not to have kids when he grows up because we won’t know if the planet can sustain their lives.” 

Once seen as the Democratic frontrunner after strong finishes in caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, Sanders has slipped in the race after losing 9 states to former Vice President Joe Biden on Super Tuesday, including Texas. Sanders hopes to regain support in a state he nearly won in 2016.

“I think the Democratic Party has gone too far to the right,” Patricia Drake, a nurse from Springfield, IL, said. “I don’t think they are listening to the will of the people. I don’t think Joe Biden is up for this at all.”

Youth voters who attended today’s rally will be voting in the upcoming election for the first or second time. For his young supporters, Bernie’s message resonates with those who are looking for a change and a better quality of life for all. 

“I’ve been supporting him since 2016,” Tiana Bojorquez, a 22-year old voter from Arizona, said. “I don’t think it’s a radical idea that everyone should have a quality of life, should have healthcare, should have a living wage, should have a job. Everybody should have justice. I don’t think that’s a crazy idea.”

Missouri will vote in the Democratic primary tomorrow, March. 10, along with 5 other states to award a total of 349 delegates.

“If we’re going to beat Donald Trump, we need to bring what we call non-traditional voters into the political process,” Sanders said.