Over 2,000 people gathered on Oct. 19 at the Rochester, N.Y. Main Street Armory to listen to former President Bill Clinton speak at a campaign rally in support of Democratic Reps. Kathy Hochul and Louise Slaughter of New York.
Rochester City Council President Lovely Warren kicked off the rally by leading the crowd in unanimously proclaiming, “We choose to move forward.” According to Warren, supporting the Democratic Party line and the Obama administration is the key to this forward movement.
Democratic assemblyman Joe Morelle also addressed the audience, saying, “Take a look around – we are all here to make America a better place.” Morelle then welcomed Hochul, Slaughter and Clinton to the stage with the song “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees.
Hochul began her address by talking about the constituents she has visited within her district over the past year that have been impacted by the recession.
“In their eyes, I see the hunger,” she said.
Hochul also said that she hopes for decreased partisanship.
“You don’t judge an idea on whether it’s Republican or Democratic,” she said. “You judge it based on if it’s good for this country.” She then welcomed “Rochester’s own” Louise Slaughter to the podium.
Slaughter discussed economic struggle, and said that the Obama administration faced “climbing out of the mess” that she said was left by former President George W. Bush’s administration.
“This man knew what he was doing,” Slaughter said, referencing Clinton’s terms in office.
Clinton began his speech by passing on “love” from his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“I hope I have some credibility with you on what’s good for the economy and how to balance the budget,” Clinton said.
After eight years in the presidency working with Democrats and Independents, “I know what works,” Clinton said. “Trickle-down economics does not work. What works is removing the barriers to growth caused when kids drop out of school and there is too much poverty. What works is cooperation over constant conflict.”
Clinton voiced his support for the Hochul and Slaughter campaigns.
“If you want another Tea Party, you should vote for the Republican candidate. [Hochul’s] opponent says he will vote with Democrats exactly zero percent of the time,” he said, in reference to Republican candidate former Erie County Executive Chris Collins.
Clinton said that he commends Slaughter, who is running against Republican candidate Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, for her emphasis on education.
“[Slaughter] has stayed at the forefront of scientific education … She presses for investments in scientific technology because she knows that it will help to create jobs.”
Clinton dedicated the majority of his address to commentary on the issues facing the current presidential candidates. He said that he disagrees with the Romney campaign’s approach to Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act.
“Private insurance costs have gone up more than twice as much as Medicare costs,” he said. “This is not just a health care issue, it’s an economic issue.”
Clinton ended the rally with a note on the rising costs of higher education.
“An important change in the last four years was to change the student-loan system,” he said. “Now, how much you pay for education is determined by how much you make and not the other way around.”
Admission to the rally was free and attendees exited the venue followed by the heckling of several protestors that had shown up for the occasion.