Andrew Riggs / The Collegian
Buttons, bundled babies and coffee â€” lots of it â€” were scattered among a crowd of thousands who heard presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton speak in central Fresno Monday morning.
â€œAre you ready for change?â€ Clinton yelled at the beginning of her speech, against the backdrop of a giant American flag spread across the entrance of Fresno High School.
Clintonâ€™s 30-minute speech was heard by an estimated 2,500 to 3,500 people, according to the Fresno Police Department. The young and the not so young came out to hear the energetic Clinton vow to end the war in Iraq, as well as â€œGeorge Bushâ€™s war on science.â€
Clinton outlined four major goals at Mondayâ€™s event: restore Americaâ€™s leadership in the world, rebuild a strong middle class, reform the government and reclaim the future for children.
â€œThe era of cowboy diplomacy is over,â€ Clinton said, as signs that read â€œClinton Countryâ€ danced in the hands of the pumped-up crowd.
The New York senator discussed specific goals for the San Joaquin Valley, including improving the air quality, as well as statewide goals such as passing the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented immigrant students to apply for financial aid currently for U.S. citizens only. The bill was recently vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Clintonâ€™s views on public education also include implementing universal pre-kindergarten and offering more apprentice programs.
â€œWe are slamming the door on too many young people,â€ Clinton said.
Clinton also stressed her idea that America needs quality, affordable health care for everyone and shared her vision of modernizing health care with electronic medical records. She said having electronic records would not only save time and potentially lives, but it could save $77 billion per year.
Fresno State juniors Jennifer Carlos and Priscila Villanueva woke up at 5:30 a.m. and arrived at 7 a.m. to see Clinton. Villanueva, a self-described Republican with some left-wing tendencies, even skipped a class to see Clinton.
Carlos, a philosophy and political science student, said she especially liked hearing about Clintonâ€™s health care plan. Carlos, who is from Canada, said Clintonâ€™s universal health care plan is something she really respects.
Both students said they didnâ€™t mind that Clintonâ€™s Fresno stop was at a high school and not at the Fresno State campus. They also didnâ€™t mind waiting until about 9:45 a.m. to hear her speak, even though the event was scheduled to take place from 8:15 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.
â€œWe were cracking toward the end, but it was worth it,â€ Villanueva said.
Porsha Gilbert had a different reason for seeing Clinton.
â€œWomen have to support women,â€ Gilbert said. The Fresno City College student likes Clinton because of an obvious fact: â€œWe both have vaginas.â€
â€œIâ€™m not a fan of Hillary,â€ Fresno State English graduate student John Hernandez said. However, he still came to see her to offer â€œmoral supportâ€ for a friend as well as to hear more about her policies on the Iraq War and immigration.
â€œIf she becomes president,â€ Hernandez said, â€œhow often do you see the president, especially if sheâ€™s a woman, speaking?â€
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