Sanders Vows to Transform Democratic Party

     (CN) – Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed to work with Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump in November, but stopped far short of endorsing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in a speech broadcast live online from Burlington, Vermont.
     ” It is no secret that Secretary Clinton and I have strong disagreements on some very important issues. It is also true that our views are quite close on others,” Sanders said, adding that he looks forward “in the coming weeks, to continued discussions between the two campaigns to make certain that your voices are heard and that the Democratic Party passes the most progressive platform in its history and that Democrats actually fight for that agenda.”
     “I also look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to transform the Democratic Party so that it becomes a party of working people and young people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors: a party that has the courage to take on Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the fossil fuel industry and the other powerful special interests that dominate our political and economic life,” he said.
     While Sanders told his followers online that the major task at hand is to ” make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly ” he also said “defeating Donald Trump cannot be our only goal.”
     “We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become,” Sanders said. “And we must take that energy into the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia. where we will have more than 1,900 delegates.”
     He then went on to lay out a series of progressive priorities he would like to see the Democratic Party adopt, many of them at odds with positions Hillary Clinton has taken.
     Sanders also called for an ongoing grassroots effort “to create the America that we know we can become.”
     “Here is a cold, hard fact that must be addressed,” he said. “Since 2009, some 900 legislative seats have been lost to Republicans in state after state throughout this country. In fact, the Republican Party now controls 31 state legislatures and controls both the governors’ mansions and statehouses in 23 states. That is unacceptable.
     “We need to start engaging at the local and state level in an unprecedented way,” he continued. “Hundreds of thousands of volunteers helped us make political history during the last year. These are people deeply concerned about the future of our country and their own communities. Now we need many of them to start running for school boards, city councils, county commissions, state legislatures and governorships. State and local governments make enormously important decisions and we cannot allow right-wing Republicans to increasingly control them.”
     Photo caption:
     Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders kisses his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders as he prepares to speak for a video to supporters at Polaris Mediaworks on Thursday June 16, 2016 in Burlington, VT. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post via AP, Pool).

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