AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was back in western Massachusetts, Monday night, to rally college students and local supporters at the Mullins Center on the UMass campus.
At 2:00 P.M., a crowd of supporters lined up outside the arena’s doors, two and a half hours before they were scheduled to open, and a whole five hours before the beginning of the rally.
Monday’s rally for Sanders comes a little more than a week before the Massachusetts presidential primary, one of several nationwide to take place on “Super Tuesday” March 1st. An Emerson College poll released earlier in the day found Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are in a dead heat in Massachusetts, with each candidate drawing the support of 46% of the voters.
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This is not Sanders’ first campaign visit to western Massachusetts. He held a rally at the UMass Fine Arts Center in January, with a stop at the MassMutual Center in Springfield for a rally back in October. Clinton also visited the region back in October, where she held a fundraiser at the Delaney House in Holyoke.
One concern 22News has heard repeatedly is how college tuition can be adjusted. Courtney Cottle, UMass student, said, “I think we should address education the most. I think it’s something where, we know a lot of people are in debt, and it has its own toll. So that’s something that really needs to change.”
Not everyone who’s here is a Bernie supporter. Some students have been telling 22News that they want to hear this presidential candidate’s position on topics that affect millennials.
The one topic most students are talking about, is making college more affordable. Other issues include finding a job for the first time, and doing so in an economy where millennials can support themselves.
Miles Gordon, UMass student, said, “Make living wages for us to be able to live on our own, where we don’t have to necessarily have to live without parents for a year after college, because that’s probably what I’m going to have to do now.”
“Focusing on the middle and lower class, the income of families and bridging that gap in America, because there’s a huge inequality wealth problem,” said Emily McNally, UMass student.
The Massachusetts primary is one week from Tuesday.