Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is heading to North Texas on Thursday to rally with fellow Democrats.
The 75-year-old Vermont senator, with other Democratic Party leaders, will gather with grassroots activists and supporters at noon at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie to talk about their goals, ranging from boosting the minimum wage to adopting comprehensive immigration and tax reform.
“At a time of massive income and wealth inequality and a shrinking middle class, we need a government which represents all Americans, not just Wall Street, multinational corporations and the top 1 percent,” said a statement from Sanders and Democratic National Committee Deputy Chair Keith Ellison.
The visit is part of their “Come Together and Fight Back” tour, in which they are visiting “red” and “purple” states — including Arizona, Nevada and Utah — to try and unite Democrats in opposition to Republican President Donald Trump.
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In November, Trump beat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to claim the White House.
In Texas, Trump won by 52 percent to Clinton’s 43 percent, state records show. And in the Texas Democratic primary in March, Clinton claimed 65 percent of the vote to 33 percent garnered by Sanders, state records show.
Those interested in attending the free event at noon Thursday will need to go online to the my.democrats.org/page/s/come-together-and-fight-back-tour-tx website. Admission is first-come, first-serve with the doors opening at 10:30 a.m.
Sanders campaigned at the Verizon Theater in February 2016, drawing an at-capacity crowd of more than 7,000.
Tarrant County Democratic Party Chair Deborah Peoples will be at the event, giving a welcome speech from Tarrant County.
“I am thrilled they would bring this tour to Texas and specifically to Tarrant County,” she said. “We are ready to fight back.”
She said Republicans are tampering with issues from education to healthcare, endangering people’s lives.
“We are already resisting but it never hurts to get a good shot in the arm,” she said. “I think Tarrant County is ready for change. The level of activism we are seeing is positively heartwarming.”
Issues on Thursday
Among the issues Democratic leaders are expected to address: raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, equal pay for women, making public college tuition free, comprehensive immigration and tax reform, rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and criminal justice reform.
“Regardless of where they live or their political affiliations, most people understand that it is absurd for Republicans in Congress to support huge tax breaks for billionaires while pushing for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” according to the statement from Sanders and Ellison.
“They understand that the recent Republican healthcare proposal which would have thrown 24 million Americans off of their health insurance, substantially raised premiums for older workers and defunded Planned Parenthood while, at the same time, providing almost $300 billion in tax breaks to the top 2 percent is a disgraceful idea.”
Past local visit
Sanders campaigned at the Verizon Theater in February 2016, drawing a crowd of more than 7,000.
During an hourlong speech, he spoke about raising the minimum wage, revamping the campaign finance system where “billionaires are trying to buy elections,” and revamping the criminal justice system he said disproportionally represents minorities.
As supporters yelled “We love you” or “Feel the Bern,” Sanders said healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and said he wants to expand Social Security benefits for senior citizens and disabled veterans who are financially struggling.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa plans to be at Thursday’s rally.
“Texans are rising up and demanding their fair shot to get ahead,” he said. “The Democratic Party must deliver solutions to the challenges working families face every day.
“We’re proud of the millions of Texans fighting back, running for office, or organizing.”