CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As Sen. Bernie Sanders launches his campaign in the 2020 presidential election, his tour came through Charlotte Friday evening with an appearance at the Central Piedmont Community College Main campus.
A rally on the front lawn of the Overcash Performing Arts Center on Elizabeth Avenue was held for Sanders supporters to come out and listen to the Senator speak about a number of issues.
Friday in Charlotte, the Uptown area saw all the makings of a presidential rally – including signs, music, applause from a loud gathered crowd.
Other presidential candidates have recently been through the Carolinas such as Beto O’Rourke, who was at a town hall, Cory Booker, who was at a panel event, and Kamala Harris, who was in nearby York County.
Friday was the first rally-style event to come through the city, hosted by Bernie Sanders.
Event organizers say there were 1,900 people at Friday’s rally. Other people could be seen standing outside the fence.
Voters at the event listed topics they want to hear candidates address as they come through the area. That includes local healthcare.
“Medicaid was not expanded here,” Laura Tipton said. “So, a lot of people were without healthcare, I think that’s a big issue here.”
And solutions for those living in low-income areas.
“There’s people who are struggling, living in poverty, can’t afford their basic needs,” she said.
For some, Friday night is a first-time experience.
“I couldn’t vote last election,” Jaime Mull said.
“This is the first rally I’ve been to and this is the first year I have voted,” Jenna Petraglia said.
Some say they want to hear about things like policies for community policing.
“Just some of the instances that have happened over the last few months here in Charlotte, I do think that’s a topic that needs to be touched on,” Ian Suddreth said.
And election reform.
“Especially with the district nine happenings and everything else,” he said.
Nationally, Bernie Sanders is in a big field. More than 20 Democrats are vying to be candidate. Republicans are generally saying, let them fight – it splits their vote more.
“I’m looking at the competition, you sort of dream of competition like that, but who knows,” President Donald Trump has said.
But it was only excitement Friday night, on the lawn of CPCC, as the event reached full capacity at 1,900 attendees, hearing Sanders’ take on topics including climate change, health care, and abortion laws.
“These [abortion] laws are dangerous,” Sanders said at the event. “They are regressive, and they are blatantly unconstitutional.”
He also addressed distribution of wealth.
“We have veterans sleeping out on the street, 49 percent of all new income is going to the top one percent,” he said.
And, he touched on the aim for Charlotte voters to turn out to the polls in 2020.
“We want to see one of the highest voter turnout rates,” he said.
Sanders also spoke on student debt.
“People should not have to pay outrageous student debt for decades, to get an education,” Sen. Sanders said.
The Charlotte stop is part of a larger southern leg in Sanders’ campaign with other stops in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama planned. During these rallies, Sanders plans to highlight the needs of communities across the South.