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Sanders Supporters Rally In Albany

New York’s primary day isn’t until April 19, relatively late in the campaign. But that’s not stopping some local activists from getting involved. On Saturday, a coalition of social and economic justice organizations rallied in downtown Albany to show support for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

"This is a revolution. Every day you have to do something to help elect Bernie Sanders." (crowd shouts 'Bernie')  A mixed crowd from millennials to baby boomers made a show of force Saturday afternoon at Albany's Academy Park, the scene of the local Occupy movement a few years back, to voice their support and rally round their choice for Democratic candidate and Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been battling former first lady, New York U.S. Senator and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Albany County Legislator Doug Bullock worries that if Clinton wins she will be viewed as the establishment candidate, which will make GOP front-runner Donald Trump the anti-establishment candidate.  "I have a problem with Hillary's ability to win with that kind of ideology behind both of 'em."

Emily Jacobs, a delegate and chair of the Coos County Democratic Party in New Hampshire, says Sanders has struck a chord will college students throughout the Capital Region.    "It really reflects the amount of momentum we have and we're gonna carry that forward. And I do believe Bernie will be the next president. We're all a big team, and it's amazing the amount of people who really want a change. Over 2,000 Republicans wrote in 'Bernie Sanders' on their ballots in the state of New Hampshire, and I think that says a lot."

Credit Lainie Lucas
Onlookers at the Bernie Sanders rally, Saturday February 27, 2016 at Albany's Academy Park.

State Assemblyman Phil Steck says he too is feeling the Bern, finding a lot of positive things in what Sanders is saying.   "In the state of New York for example, in 1980, the top 1 percent of income-earners were earning 11.9 percent of the income — today it's 30.2 percent.  If we don't do something about that and save the middle class in this country, we're gonna be in very sad shape economically, and the only person I see in this race talking about that is Bernie Sanders."

Sam Massol of Albany:  "We face a moment of destiny. And we need to decide the future of our nation. Do we want to go with a nation that is loving, open and has a clear vision for all Americans, or do we want a nation where we build walls and turn our back on the democratic principles that this nation was built upon."

With a relatively strong turnout on a sunny but cold winter's day, Sanders supporters concluded their rally with a spirited march up Washington Avenue. Similar rallies were being held simultaneously in 42 cities nationwide supporting Sanders and his economic plan.

But Clinton has plenty of support in the Empire State, racking up endorsements from Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and many members of Congress. A Siena College poll released in early February showed Clinton leading Sanders 55-34 among Democrats.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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