WESTPORT, Conn. — Supporters of Bernie Sanders — from as close as Westport and Norwalk and reaching as far as across the country — gathered Wednesday evening to watch as the Bernie 2016 Organizing Kickoff Campaign presented a live-streamed YouTube speech from their favorite presidential candidate.
Sanders' familiar campaign mantra – "enough is enough" – was the theme throughout the 10-minute speech.
Connecticut supporters hosted 37 of these events, one at the Westport home of Dr. Paul Regnier and his wife, Ana Hitri. Two dozen people came to meet up, watch the video, share their thoughts, and look to join the Sanders Revolution.
Another 50 Sanders supporters gathered by invitation only at the Silver Star Diner in Norwalk to watch on the big screen.
“The excitement and energy from Bernie’s grass-roots organization is absolutely amazing. ... This candidate really speaks to them and represents what they want from our leaders,” said Debora Goldstein of Norwalk, one of the organizers of the event at the Silver Star Diner.
After the speech, those gathered in Westport had unanimous support for Sanders' call for Medicare for all, “a big stumbling block will be getting the media's attention,” said one supporter.
"Hillary Clinton's not answering questions," said another. One that drew a big laugh was: "I'm getting a big tub of popcorn for that debate."
Regnier, who lived in Washington, D.C. for many years, remembered welcoming Sanders, the junior senator from Vermont, to Congress in 1990. He and his wife said they look forward to playing roles in the campaign to elect Sanders in 2016.
“Sanders has proven himself over many years to be a fighter on the issues that people care about," said Russ Gilfix, a Stamford resident who helped organize the Norwalk event. "His platform of restoring the middle class, protecting the environment and getting money out of politics is moving people to get involved. The turnout is inspiring.”
Sanders began, addressing his supporters via the Web: “Tonight is a historical night. There has never been an online political organizing effort this early in a campaign which involved over 100,00 people in over 3,500 locations in every state.”
Sanders repeatedly said “enough is enough” as he put forth an agenda that included medical care, family leave and paid sick leave for all, along with tackling issues of the environment, racial intolerance and money in politics.
“I don’t have to tell anybody that these are very, very difficult times in America, and as I have said over and over again, Bernie Sanders, alone, is not going to solve all of these problems,” the Democratic candidate said. “The only way we take on the billionaire class is when we put together a strong, grass-roots movement of millions and millions of people. That is what I mean by a political revolution.”
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