Bernie Sanders Waxes Nostalgic in Brooklyn

     BROOKLYN (CN) – Presidential hopeful and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders stumped for the White House in the backyard of his old stomping grounds, where he once played punch ball and marbles.
     During a rally in the backyard of his own neighborhood where he grew up in Greenpoint, Brooklyn – and where he recently opened his campaign office – Sanders took on the debate over climate change, public health care, the water disaster in Flint, Michigan, legalizing marijuana, gay rights and women’s rights, and the battle over minimum-wage increases.
     “The point is that when we stand together and when we have a vision there is nothing we can not accomplish,” Sanders said during a blustery and cold afternoon in front of a podium with a sign that read, “A Future to Believe In.”
     “The status quo is not working,” he added.
     “Brothers and sisters, I grew up in this community and I remember it very well, and I know that from this community and from all over this state and all over this country there is a movement developing that says that it is too late for ‘establishment politics’ and ‘establishment economics.’
     “People want a government that represents all of us, not just the one percent.”
     Ninety-five delegates are up for grabs in the Empire State, he said during a blitzkrieg across Brooklyn a week ahead of the primary.
     Sanders displayed confidence in his speech that was colored by a strong Brooklyn accent: “We can win this primary. If we can win here, we can win other states. New York can help us get to the White House.”
     During his brief speech, he kept things traditionally Brooklyn-provincial, talking about how he playing “hours” of punch ball, football and marbles on the very street on which he was stumping.
     But the senator made it clear that he’s not just a local boy, and urged everyone to get out the vote and to work together to “create an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.”
     He added, “Our job in this campaign and in the future is to think big, not small.”
     Sanders also took swipes at Republican front-runner Donald Trump, saying that the nation can’t be run by billionaires who buy elections.
     He talked of a “broken criminal justice system,” how the United States has more kids in jail than anywhere else in the world, the disparity in women’s pay, making colleges more accessible, racism, gay rights and climate change.
     “That is what this campaign is about,” he said.
     He also vowed to “rethink the war on drugs.”
     “Marijuana is not a killer drug like heroin,” he noted, making sure not to debase the addiction to the opiate but vowing to treat it like a “health issue, not a criminal issue.”
     “Can we not do better than that? Damn right we can,” he added. “What we need is a political revolution.”
     He also urged voters to bring the vote: “Bring your friends and your family – New York is part of the political revolution.”
     Actor Mark Ruffalo kicked the rally off by shouting over cheers as he stated, “Yeah man, now this is Bernie’s hometown, this is where the dude comes from. He’s one of us, and the one thing you learn about living in New York is learning how to live and work with other people. With every kind of race.”
     “We come here with dreams, and we see those dreams realized here,” Ruffalo added amid cheers.

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