Clinton campaigns with Raimondo in R.I.

Talk focuses on rebuilding middle class through job creation, raising minimum wage

Staff Writer
Monday, October 27, 2014

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Ocean State Friday to advocate for Gina Raimondo, Democratic candidate for governor. Along with Senators Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Clinton spoke to hundreds of supporters packed into Rhode Island College’s recreation center.

“I have been following Gina’s career and oh boy, do I like what I see,” Clinton told the crowd. Raimondo is currently the frontrunner in the Nov. 7 gubernatorial election, leading Republican candidate Allan Fung by 11 points, according to a poll released by the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions Thursday.

The event featuring Clinton was titled “Rebuilding the Middle Class” and focused on creating jobs, raising the minimum wage and investing in state infrastructure and education.

“You would think that in 2014 we wouldn’t have to be running a campaign about rebuilding the middle class,” Clinton said. “But because of changes in the global economy, technology, political philosophies unrelated to reality, … we’ve seen a real erosion in the middle class, and there are so many people that are hurting.”

“I won’t accept that we have the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation,” Raimondo said, adding that she plans to create jobs by fostering an “environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Both Raimondo and Clinton stressed the need for equal pay for men and women.

“I’m always surprised when candidates from the other side say they’re not for equal pay for equal work,” Clinton said. “I literally can’t understand that.”

Clinton urged the audience to vote and to convince their friends and family to do so as well. “If you don’t vote, you lose all rights to complain,” she said.

Republicans in the state “would much prefer Rhode Islanders to tune out rather than turn out. I’m asking you to do everything you can in this election to make sure you get the governor you deserve,” Clinton added.

“I’ve concluded the other side is engaging in a massive effort to induce amnesia,” Clinton said of the Republican Party.

“They just want you to forget about all the things they’ve done that didn’t work out so well and contributed to the erosion of the middle class,” she added.

“Rhode Island has been good to me and my husband,” Clinton said. “You stood with me, and now I stand by to help you elect your next governor.”

Sarah Pariser ’16 said Clinton “sounded happy and laid back,” but that the event was “really small” and she was “surprised” that only about half of the gym was full.

But Clinton’s Providence appearance affirmed some Brown students’ support for Raimondo. “The rally was phenomenal,” Ezra Kagan ’17 said. “You could really tell that people were excited about Raimondo and her potential to change things as governor.”

The event helped to “bring people in the door” who were unsure who they were going to vote for, and Clinton’s arrival helped to reassure people, Isabella Levy ’16 said. “Clinton is such an institution within democratic politics.”

Clinton and Raimondo “knew exactly how to get the crowd on their side,” Kagan said.

Clinton “really drove home the importance of getting a woman elected,” Levy said. There was “great energy there.”


-With additional reporting by Gabrielle Dee


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