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More Than 7,000 Gather For Bernie Sanders Rally In Downtown Phoenix

bernie sanders rally
(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
A large crowd of supporters gathered at the Phoenix Convention Center to hear Bernie Sanders speak earlier this year.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was in Phoenix Tuesday night to hold a last-minute rally. Topics like immigration and healthcare reform dominated much of the conversation.

More than 7,000 people greeted Sanders enthusiastically at the Phoenix Convention Center. Hundreds had been lined up since early morning to hear the Vermont senator make his case for their vote in the upcoming primary election.

He touched on a number of topics while on stage, including comprehensive immigration reform. His push for a path to citizenship received a positive reaction from the crowd. But the most common theme of the night was reducing inequality, from income and gender to race.

"And we are going to create a criminal justice system where unarmed people, often minorities, are not shot by police officers," Sanders said.

Sanders spoke after primary losses were announced in Florida and Ohio. While supporters were disappointed, Tempe resident Tanner Ninke said the fight isn’t over yet.

"I’d rather vote for the candidate I believe in than just who has the best shot of winning the nomination right now," he said. "I think it’s still too early to make that call."

First-time voter Mona Sayeed said despite her young age she’s interested in a mature candidate. She says she’s been turned off by the dialogue and negative campaigning from the Republicans.

"They're very childish in the way they act. I feel like they don't really care. It's more about gaining power instead of for the people."

The rally was Sanders’ second visit to the Valley. It comes a week before Arizona holds its presidential preference election on March 22.

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Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.