LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Presidential-hopeful Bernie Sanders stopped in Lordstown Sunday afternoon as part of a campaign swing through several pivotal states.
Sanders, who is considered one of the Democratic Party’s front-runners, spoke at a public event to several hundred people at the high school, hosted by the American Federation of Teachers.
During the visit, Sanders criticized General Motors’ decision to end production at its Lordstown plant.
“What we have to decide is, whether in our democracy, we are going to allow a handful of billionaires on Wall Street close down profitable plants like this one here in Lordstown,” Sanders said.
He said large corporations shouldn’t be able to dictate trading policies for their benefit and destroy American jobs.
“We’re fighting for the future of this country. We’re fighting for the future of our children,” he said.
Sanders said there needs to be an economy that works for everyone, not just the top 1%.
He also talked about making his education policy changes.
“We’re going to have a great Pre-K, affordable childcare universal program. We’re going to make public colleges and universities tuition free,” Sanders said.
Prior to Sanders’ event, Republicans held a press conference, saying Sander’s “socialist policies are out of touch with Ohio.” They touted what they called President Donald Trump’s economic accomplishments.
Inside, Sanders’ message resonated with audience members.
“For him to come out here and support us, he’s always been on the picket lines, he supports unions. It just really means a lot because we need General Motors here because if not, the whole community, it’s just going to be devastating,” said Cheryl Jonesco, a transferred GM employee.
“I feel like Bernie understands us when he was talking about families being ripped apart. That’s what I see every day in the classroom and with our own friends and throughout the community,” said Lordstown teacher Tiffany Davis.
At Sanders’ event, a heckler was also removed after yelling.
Sanders’ appearance was just one stop on his four-day Rust Belt tour, which started in Madison, Wisconsin and ends Monday in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
WKBN at the event. Check back here for highlights on Sander’s event, or watch First News at 10 and 11 p.m.