On Saturday, April 19, presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (NY-D) visited West Chester, talking to locals and out-of-staters alike about the big election issues. Congressman Joe Sestak opened the event, which was held at the 175-year-old West Chester Fire Department Station 52 from 7:30 to 10 a.m.
Parents with young children, college students, military vets, anti-abortion volunteers and others came together to see the politician who could be our first woman president. As the crowd waited for Clinton’s arrival, Sestak talked to them about why he decided to support Clinton in the race for presidency.
Sestak said that he could not stay for Clinton’s arrival, and following his speech was another by teacher turned public service official Barbara McLlvaine Smith. McLlvaine Smith, working out of Harrisburg, told the audience about stories of people lacking healthcare and spoke of why she supports Clinton.
The cheering crowd greeted Clinton, who arrived with supporter and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell for the stop on the campaign trail. Fire fighter Ted Hartz joined Clinton and Rendell on stage, as a way to honor and represent first responders local and elsewhere.
In addressing the election issues, Clinton’s speech covered healthcare, education, economy, energy independence, as well as our efforts in Iraq.
Clinton’s ideas on healthcare involved a push “towards universal healthcare,” and adding that people are being denied coverage until it’s too late.
Regarding education, Clinton discussed her plans which ranged from focusing on pre-school all the way up through college level education. Clinton called education a “passport to opportunity,” adding some problems she had heard along the campaign trail concerning college tuition.
“Everywhere I go, I meet young people who cannot afford to go to college,” Clinton said. This was not only in reference to Pennsylvania, but to the entire country and the issue of ever-increasing tuition rates.
In talking about the economy, Clinton referred to the 90s and compared it to America’s present day issues surrounding the national deficit.
Clinton stated her belief that the country needs to get back to a balanced budget by creating new educational programs and fixing tax problems. The presidential hopeful discussed the idea that there wasn’t proper training for technicians to work on the computerized cars of today. Clinton also stated how people of higher incomes were being taxed less than those whose income was significantly lower.
To honor the country’s founding forefathers, Clinton talked about how well their ideas for keeping checks and balances worked. Clinton connected to the idea of presidential power today and how the distant past relates to the current election year.
“It’s so important that we elect a president who understands to the core of her being what it is that made this country great,” Clinton said. Emphasis on the word “her” brought cheers from the crowd, for the idea of the possibility America has for its first woman president.
One comment by Clinton seemed to sum up not only her ideas regarding the current administration, but also what many Americans feel. Clinton said that as the Republican candidate, McCain would only continue the Bush administration’s ideas on issues such as Iraq and our economy. The New York senator told the crowd gathered at the fire station that she believes we cannot continue on those paths.
Signs of support for Clinton waved in the crowd in response to her words on the big issues of the ’08 election year. A young boy waved a Hillary ’08 campaign sign over his head, while another supporter’s sign read “Hillary Has It All.” A woman showing her Hillary spirit held up a black and white sign reading, “Gotta be Hillary” as Clinton continued to wrap up her speech.
At the end of her visit, Clinton thanked the crowd for their support of her presidential campaign efforts and headed off stage. As the New York Senator made her exit, she and Rendell shook hands and signed autographs for attendants standing along the barricade gates.
Carol Dwyer is a third-year student majoring in English and communication studies. She can be reached at CD660170@wcupa.edu