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Sanders supporters feel the Bern in Gettysburg

Written by Lillian Reed/Hanover Evening Sun | Apr 23, 2016 9:47 AM
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The crowd cheers for Bernie Sanders at the town meeting at Gettysburg College. (Jason Plotkin/York Daily Record)

(Gettysburg) -- Four Gettysburg College students came prepared with picnic blankets and conversation when braving the lines Friday to hear Sen. Bernie Sanders speak at the campus.

Student Maura Conley, a Sanders supporter, jumped at the idea to hear Sanders speak in person, calling it "educational."

"I think everyone in this line skipped class to be here," Conley said while sitting on the picnic blanket in line for the event Friday.

Amy Kaiser-Jones, another student in line, definitely skipped class to attend the event, but it was okay. Her professor was cool with it, she said.

"She's a Bernie supporter too," Kaiser-Jones said of her professor.

Conley and Kaiser-Jones were some of the roughly 2,400 supporters who filled the campus's athletic complex Friday to hear Sanders speak on a variety of issues.

Throughout his opening speech, the senator was adamant that Americans must work together to find solutions to the challenges the country faces, he said.

"No person, not Bernie Sanders, not anybody else can alone address the issues," Sanders said.

Military veterans, who received priority seating at the event, and Gettysburg College students made up many of the supporters in attendance. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, of Hawaii, who joined Sanders on the stage, asked Sanders several pre-selected questions from the audience.

During Sanders's conversation with Gabbard, he touched on free college education and more services for veterans, each time followed by the crowd erupting into applause.

Gabbard asked Sanders a question submitted by a member of the audience about how he manages to get things done.

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Gettysburg College seniors Sarah Paluso, left, and Ally Siegel take a selfie with Senator Bernie Sanders after his town hall meeting at the college on Friday, April 22, 2016. (Jason Plotkin,York Daily Record)

When there is a possibility of finding common ground with people who might ordinarily disagree with him, Sanders said, he reaches out.

"Everything we are fighting for in this campaign, whether it is the needs of our veterans or the needs of our senior citizens, all of these ideas without exception are supported by the vast majority of the American people," Sanders said. "And they are not radical ideas."

Gettysburg-area resident Hayden Thais was thrilled that Sanders, the candidate he supports this election season, made the decision to stop in Adams County.

"It just shows he's not only going to secondary markets," Thais said. "This is probably tertiary. I had no idea how far he was going to get in the election process."

Michelle Murphy and Pete Balanesi came from Hanover to hear the senator speak. Sanders did not disappoint, Murphy said.

"I continue to love him even more," Murphy said. "Being in the room with him, you can feel that authenticity. I feel the truth coming out of him."

Balanesi, a veteran, said the senator's stance on supporting veterans really spoke to him.

"He's the only politicians that cares about matters of people," he said.

Sanders left the stage after about an hour but made sure to take the obligatory selfie with some college students on his way out, possibly making their afternoon worthy of skipping class.

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A line formed early for the Bernie Sanders town hall meeting at Gettysburg College. (Jason Plotkin/York Daily Record)

This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and The Evening Sun.

Published in Adams County, News

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