Biden, Sanders campaigned in St. Louis ahead of the vote
By SHERI GASSAWAY
Former Vice President Joe Biden won Missouri’s presidential primary vote last week, garnering 60 percent of the vote (396,826) to Vermont Senator Bernie Sander’s 34.5 percent (228,244).
President Donald Trump, unsurprisingly, won 96.8 percent of the Republican primary vote, with the remainder split between Bob Ely, Bill Weld, Joe Walsh, Matt Matern and uncommitted voters.
Both Biden and Sanders visited St. Louis in an effort to boost voter turnout before the primary. Biden met with supporters at Kiener Plaza on March 7, and Sanders rallied at Stifel Theater on March 9. Both drew large crowds of enthusiastic supporters.
Biden spoke for about 10 minutes, campaigning for affordable and accessible healthcare, lower drug prices, the elimination of surprise billings from hospital visits, protecting rural hospitals and investing billions to find cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes
PART OF A MOVEMENT
“We’re all part of a movement that has a backbone, the backbone of the Democratic Party, the one that’s going to defeat Donald Trump,” Biden said. “To all those who’ve been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign.”
He also called for raising teachers’ salaries, ensuring quality public education, free community college, reducing student debt, taking action to address climate change, common-sense gun regulation and proving to the nation’s allies that the United States can be trusted again.
AN ECONOMY THAT REWARDS WORK
“We need to build on an economy that rewards work, not just wealth,” Biden said. “Because folks, Wall Street didn’t build this country you did. My dad did. He told me, ‘Joe, a job is a lot more than a paycheck, it’s about your dignity it’s about decency and respect.’”
LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK
Sanders spoke to supporters for about 40 minutes, calling on them to “reinvigorate the democracy” by activating people who have given up on the political process “to create a government that works for working families, not just the 1%.”
“I grew up in a family that didn’t have any money and lived paycheck to paycheck, so I know a little bit about that,” Sanders said. “And half of the American people in this richest country of the history of the world – half of our people – today are living paycheck to paycheck.”
He called for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, making it easier to join unions, ensuring equal pay for equal work, tripling funding for low-income schools and increasing teachers’ salaries to $60,000 a year.
Sanders said other top priorities included rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, developing legislation to curb gun violence and ensuring affordable access to health care as a human right.
NO AFL-CIO ENDORSEMENT YET
The AFL-CIO had not endorsed Biden or Sanders as of Labor Tribune press time. However, both candidates have received endorsements from national and local Labor unions.
BIDEN LABOR ENDORSEMENTS
Nationally, Biden has been endorsed by:
- Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).
- International Association of Firefighters (IAFF).
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
- International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers.
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW).
- National Association of Government Employees (NAGE).
- Operative Plasterers’ & Cement Masons’ International Association (OPCMIA).
- Locally, Biden has been endorsed by United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 655, 88 and 2 in Missouri and Local 881 in Illinois.
SANDERS LABOR ENDORSEMENTS
Nationally, Sanders has been endorsed by:
- American Postal Workers Union (APWU).
- National Nurses United (NNU).
- National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).
- United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE).
Biden and Sanders received a co-endorsement (along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is no longer in the race) from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).