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Sanders first candidate to visit W.Va.

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Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders hosts a campaign rally on Tuesday, April 26 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, W.Va. The

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders hosts a campaign rally on Tuesday, April 26 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, W.Va. The "A Future to Believe In" assembly attracted more than 6,000 supporters.

Lexi Browning

Lexi Browning

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders hosts a campaign rally on Tuesday, April 26 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, W.Va. The "A Future to Believe In" assembly attracted more than 6,000 supporters.


West Virginia is at the top of the list for national issues, democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders said Tuesday at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena on a campaign stop as primary voting unfolded in five states.

“When I talk about the grotesque levels of income and wealth inequality, West Virginia is almost at the top of that list,” Sanders said. “From 1979 to 2012, the top one percent of the people in West Virginia saw their income go up by more than 60 percent on average, while the bottom 90 percent saw their income go down.”

Sanders addressed an estimated crowd of 6,400. The line for the first presidential visit to the state this campaign season wrapped around the Big Sandy Superstore Arena from the front door, along Eighth Street and Veterans Memorial Boulevard and eventually reached the Third Avenue side of Bob Evans on Sixth Street.

The crowd’s chants of “We are… feeling the Bern” were met with Sanders’ opening statement, “Unlike football or basketball, politics is not a spectator sport.”

Sanders said climate change needs to be addressed and the country needs to shift its energy system away from fossil fuels, but those working in West Virginia’s largest industry sector should be taken into account.

“We have a moral obligation to protect those workers in the fossil fuel industry,” Sanders said. “We cannot leave those people in the coal industry, in the oil industry, in the gas industry high and dry, and that is why we have the moral obligation to make certain that those people who may lose their jobs get new jobs.”

Sanders criticized media coverage of United States trade policies, saying it was not a “sexy” issue and that the policies are partially responsible for the lack of job opportunity in America. Sanders also criticized secretary Hillary Clinton for supporting these policies.

“As a result of these terrible trade policies, we have lost millions of decent paying jobs,” Sanders said. “Our message to corporate America is, you want us to buy the products you make, make these damn products here in West Virginia.”

Sanders said 54 percent of working age population has a job in West Virginia, attributing poverty to a higher mortality rate.

“What being poor is about in America is you die at a significantly lower age than people who have money,” Sanders said. “In McDowell County, 77 percent of children under 18 are living in poverty in the United States of America. In McDowell County, men can only expect to live to the age of 63.”

Sanders said in Fairfax County, Virginia, men live on average of 82 years of age and women are expected to live to 85, while in McDowell County, women expect to live to 73.

“I’m not using just West Virginia statistics because I’m here, this is a national issue.”

Sanders won the Rhode Island primary Tuesday night with 55 percent of the vote, while Clinton took 43.3 percent of the vote. Clinton won primaries in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Connecticut.

Megan Osborne can be contacted at [email protected]

UPDATE: This story previously included a statement by Sanders that Fairfax County, Virginia is six miles from McDowell County, West Virginia. While the quote from Sanders was accurate, Fairfax County is 355 miles from McDowell County. 

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2 Responses to “Sanders first candidate to visit W.Va.”

  1. Jason Hall on April 27th, 2016 10:50 am

    Why would anybody in West Virginia vote for Bernie Sanders. He is pro-EPA and anti-coal. He doesn’t really care about what happens in West Virginia and he certainly can’t improve West Virginia’s economy (which was much better off under Bush and Clinton).

  2. Lenny Mansell on April 28th, 2016 1:12 pm

    Bernie Sanders is truly fighting for all of us. See what he says about issues, as opposed to people who misrepresent his policy positions.

    If you hear what he says, and disagree or don’t like his ideas, I can respect that. But let’s be factually accurate about his proposals. Know anybody else who wants you to be able to go to the doctor no matter what? Know anybody else who wants you to avoid bankruptcy due to a medical illness? No any body else who is fighting for a living minimum wage? Know anybody else who would ban fracking? Know anybody else who won’t send our sons and daughters to kill and be killed in unnecessary wars? Know anybody else who is willing and able to take on Wall Street, you know, the folks who brought us the Great Recession of 2008 and got off scott free after wrecking the economy?

    I have long thought that the differences between the Republicans and the Democrats are largely a distraction, meant to keep our attention on fighting each other, as opposed to fighting together against the real folks causing us harm: The millionaire and billionaire class. They have rigged the laws and economy to benefit themselves. They have rigged electoral politics, which is now bought and sold. They have made it law, thanks to the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United ruling which opened up the floodgates to big, unaccountable money, into our political life. The real difference isn’t between the political Left and Right, but between the very top, and the rest of us.

    So this is where establishment politics has gotten us. Don’t you want a fair shot at a decent life in America? Do you think you are getting one now? Check out Bernie Sanders, In my view, he is the only one actually fighting for us.

    There is a saying: “The people, united, can never be defeated”. Sounds reasonable. Okay now, what is the opposite of that? We are divided and the 1% defeats us every day, laughing all the way to the bank…

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