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Thousands Brave Heat For Bernie Rally In Kissimmee

Bernie Sanders talks to supporters in Kissimmee. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Bernie Sanders talks to supporters in Kissimmee. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Thousands of people braved the heat to see Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Kissimmee Thursday.

Sanders told supporters at the Osceola Heritage Park that no president, not him or anyone else, can deal with the many crises facing the country alone.

One of those crises, said Sanders, is low wages.

“We have heard that people cannot make it on eight, nine, ten bucks an hour," he said.

"Not at the Disneyworld, not anyplace else.”

In a wide ranging speech, Sanders touched on college debt, police brutality, the heroin epidemic, criminal justice reform, the environment and the role of money in politics.

He took aim at Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for his rhetoric on Muslims and Mexicans.

And he said after he defeated Hillary Clinton in Michigan, he believes he can do the same here.

“If you come out and your friends and family and neighbors come out, we are going to win here in Florida,” said Sanders.

Clinton leads Sanders in most polls for Florida’s primary, which is next Tuesday.

Among those waiting  in the heat at the Osceola Heritage Park to hear Sanders were Kaila Olsen and Trygve Nelson.

Olsen said they’re trying to learn what they can about the candidates before they vote.

“We went to the Trump rally last week and didn’t really love what we saw there, but we’ve been kind of on the Bernie side from what we’ve seen so far," said Olsen.

"But the main purpose of being here is just to get educated as much as we can.” 

 Shenika Cumberbatch had a day off work and decided to go to the rally.

“He definitely wants to support everyone to make sure the big man doesn’t get everything, and he’s making sure that everyone’s voice is heard. So I’m definitely a big supporter of that,” said Cumberbatch.

James Hill and his wife drove from St. Augustine to hear Sanders.

Hill said he’s not sure if Sanders can overhaul Hillary Clinton in the race to the nomination.

“I think it’s still possible, but we’re at a turning point now where if we don’t get out the vote… our biggest enemy is apathy, people not engaging in the political process. In those cases the extremists take over.”

Doug Vaughn said he’s already cast a vote for Sanders.

He hopes Sanders can keep the momentum going after his upset win in the Michigan primary.

“I think he’s got a few surprises in him, let’s put it that way," said Vaughn.

Sophia Plaza carried a home-made sign with Donald Trump’s slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ and the slogan "#Bernie2016"

“Well, I think Donald Trump is making a good point to make America great again, I just don’t think he’s the great candidate for that," said Plaza.

"I think it’s Bernie,” she added. 

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