President Bill Clinton draws large crowd for speech at Fresno State

Former President Bill Clinton speaks to a packed house in the Satellite Student Union at Fresno State on Monday, May 23, 2016. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)

Fresno State got the presidential treatment on Monday as former President Bill Clinton spoke to a packed house at the Satellite Student Union.

Clinton’s speech was preceded by one from civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, and he was introduced by California Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula — who endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on the dais.

The former president spoke on a wide range of current political issues as well as talked about his original run in 1992.

“When California voted for me, it sent me into the convention with the wind at my back. It began to unify the party after a long and tough primary,” Clinton said. “It enabled us to go forward to win.”

Whenever the name of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump came up, it elicited negativity from the audience.

“What’s more important, anyway? Our interesting differences, or our common humanity? If you think our interesting differences are all that matter, then you want to build walls. If you think our common humanity matters more, you’re not a fool about national security; you’re not a fool about economic challenges; you want to see us do it together,” Clinton said. “You know the only future to have broadly shared prosperity and put everybody on the up escalator — which is exactly what Fresno State seeks to do — is to think our common humanity matters more.”

Clinton talked about immigration reform, college debt and climate change. He said the people that want to invest money into fuel sources like coal that severely pollute the earth are investing money in the past and that we need to invest in the future. He said Hillary wants to make America a “clean energy superpower,” and to do that the country needs to spend money on science and technology.

“I spent $3 billion of your money to finish the sequencing of human genome. You already have $200 billion in economic benefits from it, and we’re gonna live a lot longer because of it,” Clinton said. “Everybody in the audience under 30 years old has a legitimate chance of living to 100.”

Another big point Clinton made, which was popular with the audience at Fresno State, was about college debt.

“Everybody should be able to go to college and graduate debt free,” he said. “Free tuition for people who need it — a billion [dollar] increase for pell grants for lower income kids. For people who can pay something, they should pay something. All the students that need it should be given the access to 10 hours a week of work study money.”

He went on to say that Hillary wants to make it possible for people who already have student debt to refinance their student loans. He said people who sign up to work with Americorps should be able to work it off by serving their communities, and the max students should have to pay is 10 percent of their after-tax income to give them a longer period to pay off what they owe.

Bill Clinton at Fresno State

People crowd into the Satellite Student Union at Fresno State to hear former President Bill Clinton speak on Monday, May 23, 2016. (Troy Pope/The Collegian)

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