U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter were among the speakers present at the Monroe County Teachers’ Union in the “Get Out the Vote” Democratic rally, rousing a small but energetic crowd, on Oct. 30.
The candidates for the local county legislatures were first introduced, along with those running for county clerk, New York State Supreme Court, New York State Senate and the State Assembly.
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter acknowledged the crowd’s vigor that has continued throughout the campaign season. “There’s more enthusiasm this year than in all the many, many years I’ve been in government,” Clinton said.
The Democrats have come out in large numbers, and those of all ages have joined the ranks in support of the party. “Our people, from the young to the old to the middle-aged, are taking back America,” she said. “What a wonderful feeling that is.”
New York State Assemblywoman Susan John also commented on the energy of the crowd. She also reminded the audience there was little time left to hold on and continue the campaigning effort. “Just four more days,” she urged.
When Clinton stepped to the podium, with barely an introduction, the crowd immediately showed its appreciation and enthusiasm, with loud calls of approval and waving Kerry/Edwards signs.
Clinton remarked on the upcoming presidential race, but praised also the local Democratic nominees. “It’s so exciting, now that we’re really in these last days before the election, to see the energy and the momentum building on behalf of the Democratic team,” she said. “You’ve got wonderful representatives of that Democratic team right here.”
She continued with accolades for the county’s legislators and the beneficial efforts of all those involved. “Rochester Monroe County is blessed,” she said. “You have very hard-working, very focused, very effective legislators and people who, at all levels of government, have the best interest of this community in mind,” Clinton said.
The focus then turned to the national election. Clinton noted how close the race is this year, but she also stressed the strong Democratic support apparent throughout the campaign, and the clear idea that the country is ready for change. “I think people have decided that we’re not headed in the right direction,” she said. “That the president and his team have not given us the leadership at home or abroad that we need.”
The economy was also a topic that was not overlooked, and the large deficit and stagnation in employment levels were marked as areas where no improvement, or even a regression, has been demonstrated.
“There are some places we’re making progress, but overall this is the worst economic record any president has had since Herbert Hoover,” Clinton said.
“Because I judge an economic record on one criterion – are we creating good paying jobs for hard-working Americans so they can support themselves and their families? And I know this is hard to believe, but under the current president we’ve not created one net new job. Not one.”
Clinton spoke of those who question the ability of the country to change leadership in the middle of a crisis. “I still hear people say, ‘Senator, I agree with you, we need a new president for the economy, healthcare, education, everything else, but can we change horses in the middle of the strait?'” The crowd responded with a resounding, “Yes.”
According to Clinton, Kerry is the right answer for what our country is now looking for, and a future with Kerry, she firmly announced, will mean a positive change in all manner of politics.
“I think he will bring the right ingredients of leadership that we desperately need,” she said. “Stronger at home, respected abroad and more effective in the war against terror.”
After being introduced by Clinton, Congressional candidate Samara Barend ended with some concluding remarks and a final call for Democratic workers to continue the push for voters. “Four more days and we’re on the cusp of victory, we’re on the cusp of history,” she said.
The Democratic crowd was clearly energized by the rally. “I had never heard Senator Clinton speak in person before,” Rochester resident Larry Witmer said. “[Needless to say,] I was not disappointed at all! She did a great job rallying the supporters and volunteers. It was a pleasure to see so much energy.”
“I thought what Clinton had to say was apropos to what’s going on, especially women’s rights and the changing of the Supreme Court,” Ogden resident and Rochester teacher Mary Zimmer said. “I hope everyone votes for Louise Slaughter as well.”
After the rally, attendees were encouraged to canvas neighborhoods and participate in phone banks for the campaigns.
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