Senator Bernie Sanders did not disappoint while stumping in Coney Island Sunday.
Following a series of appearances at Brooklyn College and in front of his childhood home in Midwood Friday, the Democratic presidential contender wooed voters on Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk over the weekend, flanked by his wife Jane and R.E.M.former frontman Michael Stipe.
Before a crowd of thousands, he drove home his message of rectifying wealth inequality in America.
“All over this country we are seeing people working longer hours for lower wages. We are seeing people working not one jobs, but two jobs or three jobs, just to bring in to make enough income and enough healthcare to take care of the family,” said Sanders. “In America we can do better than that. We are going to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.”
We caught up with some Bernie supporters at the event and asked them what they see in the Flatbush-born senator from Vermont.
Some, like Nick Titakis, a Bensonhurst resident, connected with Sanders’ honest demeanor.
“”I’m older than he is and no one tells it like he does. He says what he means. It takes a courageous leader to unite people. He talks about fundamental change,” said Titakis.
Other’s identified with Sanders’ Brooklyn roots.
“I grew up down the block from him and a feel a strong connection to him and his South Brooklyn Jewish roots. I love how he talks about the environment I think that’s the most important issue,” said Adam, of Flatbush.
“This was what I expected from Bernie. He’s consistent, what he said today he’s been saying for the past 20-30 years. He stands up for people. He was calling people out for homophobia even before it was cool. Clinton has views similar to him now but she just keeps switching whenever she wants,” said Pinny Gold, of Bath Beach.
Sanders’ values of social justice played a role for many as well.
“I support Bernie because he wants government to do what it is supposed to and that’s limit human suffering. Bernie always takes the humane stance on every issue. He is present in his intentions. He hasn’t been bought and sold. Hillary hides in her cave with her rich people and plans her presidency. Bernie is committed to the real issues,” said Hope Weiner, who is from the Upper West Side.
“The most important thing about Bernie for me is that he speaks up for the native population. Bernie said he once heard a Hillary commercial and for the whole time he thought it was his commercial because it agreed with everything he’s said until he saw her name at the end. She would visit the Pope but he can’t afford her speaking fees. Bernie grew up here and he wants to live up to the people’s revolution,” added Michael Schwartz, of Coney Island.
Sanders made little mention of New York during the rally, but he did congratulate the state for enacting a $15 minimum wage.
[Additional reporting by Ben Cohn]