Anna Caliandro '18 Contributing Writer
On the day before Super Tuesday, Hillary Clinton held a rally at The Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History in Springfield Mass. If Clinton is to secure the Democratic presidential nomination, the rally may well find its place on the walls of the museum dedicated to Springfield’s history.
The room was small, very different from the large stadiums that may host rallies. Supporters mingled with one another at the compact venue prior to the rally itselfAbove the excited chatter, songs by upbeat pop singers Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift played, and supporters excitedly snapped selfies and traded admiring remarks about Clinton.
The rally began with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem, followed by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno’s introduction, in which he highlighted Clinton’s experience and talent as a leader, and praised her for being both respectful and compassionate. After Sarno’s introduction, Clinton took the stage, escorted by Congressman Richard Neal. Neal’s introduction pointed out how notable presidential candidates Democrats Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton all included Springfield in their campaign stops.
Clinton took the microphone after Neal’s introduction and was met with resounding enthusiasm from her supporters. Clinton’s speech included many of her policy positions, such as strengthening the workforce, securing equal pay for women, making college affordable and lessening the burden of debt from student loans, raising the minimum wage and defending the Affordable Care Act.
Clinton recalled the work she did as first lady to save the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, Mass., which she referred to as “one of America’s treasures.”
Clinton also snubbed the Republican candidates, criticizing hateful rhetoric and positions that disregarded issues such as equal pay for women, a position that is central to Clinton’s campaign. Echoing Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, Clinton refuted the idea that America stopped being great. “What we need to do now is make America whole, working together,” Clinton said.
Though Clinton did not dwell on her extensive experience, instead opting to explain her position on policy issues, she did tout her experience as an advantage when matched up against Republicans. “They’ve been after me for 25 years, and I’m still standing,” she said. After her speech, Clinton met with participants, taking pictures and talking to her supporters.
Nina Henry ’19, organizer of Smith for Hillary, an unofficial student group, said, “Her speech was incredible, but what really impressed me was the way she went around the room afterwards and truly listened to the audience. She even pointed out my sign (“Women Run Everything”), laughed and shook my hand. You got the sense that she deeply cared about listening to people’s problems and helping them find a solution.”
Members of Smith for Hillary had the opportunity to stand behind Clinton onstage. Jenny Park ’18, a member of Smith for Hillary, described the experience of sharing the stage with Clinton as surreal.
Local supporters also rallied for Clinton in preparation for Super Tuesday. Tom, a local long-time supporter of Clinton, took the day off from work to attend the rally. When asked about his support of Clinton, he said he admired her impressive background in the political world, adding that he thought it was important that America finally have its first female president. Abby, another committed Clinton supporter, said Clinton “has a long history in civil rights, a very pragmatic approach to keeping the economy on an even course, she has very strong foreign relations experience, and, she knows how to get things done, how to negotiate, she’s tough, and she’s fair.”
Another supporter, when asked if she had anything she’d like to say to Smith students, exclaimed, “Young ladies – vote for Hillary!”
Clinton won the majority of the states holding primaries on Super Tuesday, including Massachusetts last Tuesday.