NY Sanders supporters rally, rail against Clinton, Cuomo

By Kyle Hughes
February 02, 2016

Albany County Legislator Mert Simpson speaks during a rally for Bernie Sanders outside the New York State Board of Elections office in Albany on Thursday, Feb. 4.
Albany County Legislator Mert Simpson speaks during a rally for Bernie Sanders outside the New York State Board of Elections office in Albany on Thursday, Feb. 4. NYSNYS News Photo

ALBANY, N.Y. >> Fired-up Bernie Sanders supporters rallied outside the state Board of Elections offices Thursday, delivering boxes of nominating petitions and unloading on Hillary Clinton and Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not upholding liberal Democratic positions.

“We almost stopped Gov. Cuomo (in the 2014 primary) and next time he should certainly watch out because we’re putting him and every establishment politician who stands against progressive values on notice,” said Dave Handy, the Sander campaign’s New York state ballot access director.

“I want everyone here to know that Hillary Clinton, throughout her Senate career, was against marriage equality on moral, religious and traditional grounds,” said Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club in NYC. “She said that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. She is perhaps the last prominent Democrat to endorse marriage equality. I feel the Bern!”

“I’ve never seen a candidate so attuned to labor’s needs and so supportive of labor’s goals as Bernie Sanders and I’m delighted to support him in taking back this country from the greedy wealthy who are trying to control it,” said Larry Wittner, the executive secretary of the Albany County Central Federation of Labor, AFL- CIO.

“Bernie Sanders is one of the most effective Congress people in this history of this country,” said Merton Simpson, an Albany County legislator from the city of Albany. “Particularly for my brothers from the African-American, Latino, Native American and Asian community, you have to understand Bernie is the real deal.”

“Up until recent years Democrats have shied away from the labels of being liberals and progressives,” he added. “Bernie has been unapologetic socialist since 1962 … his socialism is the socialism of Social Security, of Medicare, of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

 “We have an opportunity to change history,” Simpson said. “Bernie has a movement. When you have millions of people who make donations of an average of $27, that’s a real movement.”

About 100 Sanders supporters carrying printed signs and homemade posters turned out to submit thousands of pages of nominating petitions with a total of 85,000 signatures to the Board of Elections. The petitions were carried by volunteers, organizers said, chiding the Clinton campaign for hiring paid petition carriers via Craigslist and paying them $10 an hour.

The petitions supported delegates pledged to Clinton from upstate Congressional districts, with separate petition submissions made in downstate. Clinton supporters turned in their own petitions with no fanfare.

The presidential primary in New York is on April 19 and could end up playing an important role.

Sanders and Clinton competed to a virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses, and Sanders is favored to win in New Hampshire’s primary next Tuesday. A win could case up a grueling state by state competition for delegates.

Pundits say momentum counts a lot in early races, and Sanders’ supporters say they have strong campaign operations in Nevada, where a primary happens on February 20, and South Carolina, which votes on February 27.

Big states like Michigan, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina vote later in March, with New York and Pennsylvania in April.

Both Sanders and Clinton have New York ties. He was born and raised here before moving to Vermont in the 1960s, while Clinton moved here in 1999 to run for an open U.S. Senate seat. She and Bill Clinton live in Westchester.

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