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Politics & Government

Clinton Draws Hundreds as She Talks about Issues Important to Milwaukee Voters

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S Bence
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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned in Milwaukee on Monday.

On Tuesday, Secretary Hillary Clinton met with Milwaukee residents all too familiar with the tragedy of gun violence.

The town hall meeting took place at Tabernacle Community Baptist Church, a congregation made up largely of African Americans - a demographic some say Clinton must win in order to become the next president.

The church is located in 53206, an area plagued by poverty and crime and struggling to help its high rate of black men who have served time in prison.

Clinton told the crowd of about 200 that she will work for them by taking on the gun lobbyists and closing gun loopholes.

“This church is in a zip code that has seen too many, too many loss lives. The epidemic of gun violence spares no one, but it is concentrated in areas that are short on hope and where we still face the effects of systemic racism,” Clinton says.

During the hour long meeting, Clinton spoke about Sierra Guyton, the 10 year-old girl shot and killed on a playground not too far from the church and Laylah Peterson, who was shot in the head while sitting on her grandfather’s lap at their home.

Clinton was joined on stage by U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore and two mothers who have lost children.

The other Democratic candidate in the presidential race, Bernie Sanders, is also campaigning in Milwaukee.

He’s scheduled to host an event at State Fair Park Tuesday evening, while the three GOP candidates will participate in a debate CNN will host in downtown Milwaukee.

On Monday, several hundred people turned out for a Clinton rally on Milwaukee’s north side. She spoke to a crowd at the Boys and Girls Club, as part of a swing she’s making through Wisconsin in advance of the state’s presidential primary on April 5.

Clinton’s speech touched on a variety of themes that resonated with Milwaukee residents.

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Credit S Bence
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Hillary Clinton spoke to several hundred people at the Boys and Girls Club in Milwaukee on Monday night

Hillary Clinton took the podium to a cheering crowd, after rousing introductions from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Congresswoman Gwen Moore. Clinton vowed she would create meaningful jobs and higher wages if elected. She began her speech on a nostalgic note, as she reminded the audience the nation was prosperous in the 1990s.

“Back when my husband was president we had 23 million new jobs,” Clinton said.

Clinton praised President Obama for leading the country out of the Great Recession. She said she’ll take his economic policies even further.

“We need to help more small businesses start and grow, particularly young people and minority and women-owned small businesses who are having the biggest problems. We need to raise the minimum wage because if you work full time you shouldn’t end up in poverty at the end of the year,” Clinton said.

Clinton also vowed to guarantee equal pay for equal work for women. The crowd roared again when she rattled off additional items she would dispense with if elected.

“I will defend marriage equality. I will defend voting rights and I will work to either reverse Citizens United or push for a constitutional amendment,” Clinton said.

Clinton also promised to end police violence and what she called “the era of mass incarceration.” She talked about college affordability, and in doing so, took a swipe at her Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders.

“Very sincerely he wants free college for everybody. Here’s the problem: I don’t think we should be asking you to pay taxes to send Donald Trump’s kid to college free. I think if you are wealthy you should pay for college yourself and we should focus on middle class, working and poor families,” Clinton said.

In addition, Clinton discussed foreign policy, but several people I spoke with after her speech had domestic issues on their minds. Dale Weinman of Milwaukee said education tops her list.

“For someone who’s had a lot of student debt, too much can’t be done for me but for the people in the future, nobody should have to have all this debt when they finish school. I’d like to see people with livable wages. You work all your life and you can’t get ahead with the wages that people are giving, you just can’t get ahead,” Weinman said.

Another person here is Gilles Patterson. He thinks Clinton is the most qualified candidate to address the difficult issues the country faces.

“Hillary has enough relationships, she’s savvy. She’s definitely proven already,” Patterson said.

Clinton is scheduled to make another appearance in Milwaukee today. Then she’ll travel to Green Bay and La Crosse.

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