Hillary Clinton Begins 2-Day Tour of Florida

     
     (CN) — Just a few weeks after her last Florida visit, Hillary Clinton held a boisterous rally in St. Petersburg on Monday, touting her jobs plan and attacking Donald Trump’s economic vision.
     “In the first 100 days, I will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in jobs since World War II,” the Democratic presidential nominee said to the crowd, listing the country’s infrastructure problems and promising more renewable energy.
     Clinton mocked Donald Trump’s economic plans and the list of economic policy advisors the Republican presidential nominee unveiled earlier Monday in Detroit.
     “They are trying to make old ideas new again,” she said. “His plan will give super big tax breaks to large corporations and the very wealthy…He wants to basically repackage Reagan economics.”
     Clinton continued, “We’re going to turn that upside down. We’re going to make the wealthy pay their fair share. I will not raise taxes on the middle class, but with your help, we will raise it on the wealthy.”
     Crowds of her supporters waited in the rain to attend the rally held in one of St. Petersburg’s historic venues, the Coliseum. The building holds 2,000 people and campaign organizers said they gave out all the tickets to the event.
     St. Petersburg is a Democratic stronghold located at the tip of Pinellas County, a county that voted for President Barack Obama in the last two presidential elections.
     Earlier in the day, Clinton visited 3 Daughters Brewery — one of several microbreweries in the area, which has helped define the city’s resurgence after the recession.
     Clinton used the brewery’s owners and her own father’s fabric printing business to frame herself as a champion of small businesses, and promised a better economic future for them.
     “In America, if you dream it, you ought to be able to build it,” she said, pledging to suspend student loan payments for those entrepreneurs who start a business.
     She quickly pivoted back to Trump.
     “Ask Donald Trump how he treats small businesses,” Clinton said. “For someone who claims to be so successful, he does it by stiffing small businesspeople. That’s not how we do business in America.”
     Clinton’s recent focus on the needs of college students impressed one attendee, Eric Baird.
     “I think one of the biggest issues she will work on is education for the college kids,” said Baird, a father of three.
     As a small business owner himself, Baird said he hoped Clinton could build on some of the successes of the Obama administration.
     “I know the health care law really helped us,” he said.
     Another attendee, Ashlee Righi, said she worried about what a Trump presidency would do to recent gains for the LGBT community. Righi identifies as transgender and said, “Trump scares the hell out of me.”
     The 36-year-old also owns a DJ and karaoke business, which she said could suffer if Trump is elected.
     “Entertainment is the first thing [bars] cut,” Righi said. “If Trump gets in, he’s going to bring down the economy and it’s going to make it even harder.”
     Next, Clinton heads to Kissimmee, on the Interstate 4 corridor, for another Monday rally. That area of the state is seen as a crucial battleground for Florida’s 29 electoral votes.
     She will visit Miami on Tuesday, and is expected to talk about the threat posted by the Zika virus.
     In one of the latest polls released by Boston’s Suffolk University, Clinton leads her Republican opponent by eight points.
     
     Photo credit: Andrew Harnik/Associated Press.
     Photo caption: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes the stage at a rally at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg, Fla., Monday, Aug. 8, 2016.

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