Big Infrastructure Plans Touted in Clinton Stump

     SALINAS, Calif. (CN) — Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton made an appearance in John Steinbeck country Wednesday, delivering a jobs-related speech to a packed auditorium in Salinas, California.
     Clinton is campaigning throughout California leading up to what most experts believe is the last major primary battle between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Clinton. Both Sanders and Clinton have shifted entirely away from attacking each other, instead concentrating their ire on the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
     Wednesday’s Clinton rally was no different, as the former Secretary of State did not mention the senator from Vermont by name a single time. Instead, she told the Salinas crowd that if elected she would work hard to create jobs by bringing forward a major infrastructure investment program.
     “I will send a bill to Congress that will contain the most forward-looking investment in American infrastructure in years,” Clinton told the crowd assembled in the gymnasium at Hartnell College in downtown Salinas. “It will be as big, and in some ways bigger than what President Eisenhower did when he created the national highway system.”
     Clinton contrasted her concrete plans with the proposals of her Republican adversary.
     “The only infrastructure project Donald Trump talks about is building a wall,” she said. “He claims Mexico will pay for it, but someone needs to tell Mr. Trump this is not a reality television show.”
     Clinton was introduced by Jimmy Panneta, the Democrat running against Casey Lucius to replace Central Coast Rep. Sam Farr.
     Prior to the event, Panetta said in an interview that Clinton’s visit to Salinas was an important demonstration of her commitment to both comprehensive immigration reform and creating a fairer economy that will help blue-collar workers like the laborers in the berry farms around Salinas.
     “She understands the importance of this area to the country. I mean, we feed the world,” Panetta said.
     Indeed, Clinton acknowledged that Trump’s proposal of deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants would have a particularly detrimental effect on communities like Salinas.
     “When he talks about deporting one half of the 2.4 million farm workers who help feed our country, he’s not just talking about ripping families apart, but he’s talking about making our economy slow down,” Clinton said.
     She further promised to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill to Congress within 100 days of her election. The campaign promise elicited rousing applause.
     But Salinas’ support of Clinton was not unanimous, as a modest group of protestors turned out for the event with signs reading “She has blood on her hands,” appearing to criticize her role in various foreign wars as Secretary of State or alluding to her yes vote regarding the Iraq War.
     There were also a number of Sanders supporters outside the gym as the event got underway, but the overwhelming majority of those in attendance cheered robustly for Clinton as she staked out her positions and attacked Trump.
     While not mentioned Sanders specifically, she struck a familiar note when she talked about how running for president needs to be about results, not rhetoric.
     “When you decide who to support for president, ask yourself whether this person can produce positive results that improve the lives of yourselves and your families,” she said. “If they can’t get it done, then they are just making speeches. I have a track record of producing results and if you give me the chance I will show it.”
     Still, Clinton mostly stayed on Trump, as most experts believe the race for the Democratic nomination is all over but the shouting and that Clinton will soon face off against the business mogul and reality television star.
     While much has been made about Sanders’ decision to stick it out in the Democratic race, potentially delaying the party’s unification behind Clinton, the two candidates have far more in common in terms of policy positions.
     Clinton advocated for free community college, said students should not have to pay loans, touted the importance of affordable health care, and quality education for all Americans “regardless of ZIP code.”
     She also talked about fairness in the economy — Sanders’ pet theme.
     “Billionaires have had a good ride and it’s time for everyone else in America to go as far as hard work will take them,” she said.
     Clinton spent the morning in Southern California, addressing remarks to a crowd in Orange County. She gives another speech in San Jose on Thursday.
     The California Primary takes place June 7.

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