DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB) — Former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited western New York on the campaign trail, speaking on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
He’s pushing to be the very first First Gentleman, or as some signs suggested in the rally at the Grapevine Banquets in Depew, the “First Dude.” In his quest to help another Clinton reach the White House, he is pushing New Yorkers to get out and vote to help his wife reach the Democratic Nomination.
Clinton said he believes New York State is the key to winning the nomination for his wife, saying if New York falls to Clinton, so too will other key states like Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Bill Clinton brought the energy of the 2016 presidential campaign that’r s been front and center for months, just two weeks before New Yorkers cast their primary ballots.
And voters were ready.
“So many people don’t get involved and it hurts me so much,” said Adrienne Boudreau, of Buffalo. “There’s a there’s a difference between posting them on Facebook and actually signing up for something and getting involved in making a difference.”
The former leader noted he believes the nation should support Hillary because she believes in bolstering small businesses, manufacturing in the U.S. and clean energy.
“We are just this close to being able to rise again … but we have to do it together,” Clinton said to applause. “We can create millions of jobs in America, and we can all rise together.”
Millions of jobs will follow suit when the U.S. begins shifting a focus towards clean energy like wind and solar power, Clinton said, noting the cheapest energy in the U.S. comes from states with a heavy focus on wind power.
He said building up those jobs will begin to restructure the middle class, and create a warm environment for businesses to return to the U.S. to do their manufacturing. He said Hillary has supported manufacturing in New York, like at Corning Glass and SolarCity.
Another method Clinton said to building up the middle class is allowing young people, a key demographic for the Clinton campaign, to relieve themselves from stressful debts like college loans. He distinguished Hillary’s position on college as different from her rival Bernie Sanders, saying free tuition for all isn’t the answer. Clinton said the rich should pay out of pocket for tuition, and aid should benefit those who need it, however he suggested the option for students to refinance their loans to make them more manageable.
After touting what Clinton can do for the U.S. in the economy, he focused in on foreign policy and leadership.
“This election is about leadership,” Clinton said. “We can’t afford not to elect a president who can do that job on the very first day.”
Clinton said Hillary can step into the role of a leader immediately, not choosing to focus on her record, but noting she is experienced and the problems facing the world call for experience.
He highlighted the problems the Islamic State fighters, Russian aggression and North Korean nuclear proliferation pose against American people.
Supporting the former leader at the rally were local leaders like Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, Erie County Executive Marc Poloncarz, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
Each voiced their support of the Clinton campaign, urging voters to get out in the New York Primary on April 19.
“If she earns the victory she has earned through her leadership and her service here and your support, then it’ll have a big impact in Pennsylvania and the Atlantic coast primary states Rhode Island Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland,” Clinton said. “We need you to tell everybody in western New York that this is the election that will matter most in this whole long primary season, and we’re gonna need you out.”
As of late Tuesday, Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner about details of Hillary Clinton’s Friday visit to Buffalo were not finalized. But he said they could be released within the next 24 to 48 hours.