SAN ANTONIO— Bernie Sanders, Democratic Presidential candidate, launched his Texas Campaign on February 22, in El Paso, Texas, at the Abraham Chavez Theater. Residents of El Paso arrived early in hopes of getting a place in line before the cut off several people allowed to enter. The Chavez Theater filled up to the brims with 2,500 supporters eager to listen to the future Sanders’ envisions. Before the democratic candidate took the stage, the audience enjoyed entertainment from a mariachi band and a local El Paso rock band, Sparta.
Due to the masses, people came to support an overflow rally was held outside the Theater to address issues and policy with those who could not make it inside. Met with banners of the Green New Deal, Bernie signs and applause, the former senator of Vermont took the stage. Sanders opened by touching on some of the severe issues surrounding immigration.
“We are going to change our border policies so that no federal agent again takes a baby from the arms of their mother,” said Sanders.
Other main points Sanders talked about included student loans, climate change, and the countries economics, but the topic that resonated the most with residents was gun violence. The tragic event that occurred on August 3 at an El Paso Wal-Mart leaving 22 people dead and many more injured struck a chord with the locals. The shooting that occurred in El Paso deeply affected the community and left them searching for answers. Sanders elaborated on his plans of stricter background checks, closing the gun show loophole and banning of the sale of assault rifles. Sanders even motioned his visit to the memorial, The Grand Candela, made for the victims at the location the tragic event took place.
“We need to have new immigration reform, prison reform, I feel like we need to address the issues our country is facing,” said El Paso resident Isabelle Hernandez said.
Hernandez believes that Sanders’ visions for the country’s future are suitable for the borderland and the nation.
“The idea of helping people at the bottom, people who are not making a lot of money, people who are having a hard time paying bills, paying for their kills college, stuff like that,” El Paso resident Larry Gainer said in regards to what he likes about Sanders’ policies.
Sanders was not only meet with support but with a counter-protest. A counter-rally was held outside the Chavez theater, where Trump supporters came to voice their opinions on Sanders’ policies and their beliefs. After the rally supporters, counter-protesters and valentines marched to the El Paso County Courthouse to the One-Stop, early voting location to cast their early votes. Counter-protesters followed with their chants and voicing their policy. An unofficial source claimed that there were no issues or violence between supporters and protesters at the El Paso rally.
Later that evening, Sanders would also visit San Antonio. The following day he would visit Austin and Houston with hopes of becoming the democratic candidate to face President Donald Trump in November.