SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ - Former President Bill Clinton spoke at Union County College (UCC) in Cranford on Wednesday to campaign for his wife, Hillary. Clinton touched on a multitude of issues relevant to New Jersey in front of an enthusiastic crowd of Union County residents.
The event attracted UCC students and numerous Scotch Plains-Fanwood residents and politicians, including Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover and Township Manager Al Mirabella.
“I think it’s important to stay united and show our support for Hillary,” said Mayor Glover.
Town Manager Al Mirabella added his unwavering support for the former First Lady and Secretary of State.
“Not only is it wonderful to see the former President here, but I really think Hillary is going to lead our nation for four years, and I’m excited to be in the middle of it. It’s a great day for Union County,” Mirabella said.
UCC President, Margaret McMenamin introduced Clinton and stated how excited and proud the college was to host him.
“It is an honor for the college to have a former Ppresident here. It’s not about red or blue -- it’s a great opportunity for our students,” McMenamin said.
Clinton walked onto stage and was met with thunderous applause from a crowd of hundreds, some of whom had been standing outside since 10 a.m. for the afternoon event. He outlined his wife’s vision plan, while hammering home a single theme over and over again: “We have to build a future that is inclusive, not divisive.”
While referring to competitor Donald Trump and his claims to build a wall and “Make America great again,” Clinton also discussed school testing, college debt, immigration, and the nation's infrastructure.
“It isn’t just about roads and bridges. It is about Flint, Michigan, and Newark where there is lead in the water that children are drinking.”
Clinton called for better teacher training and less standardized testing.
"The most successful schools spend more money on making teachers better teachers and principals better principals. We don’t need to invest in five tests. We need to invest in what is going to work,” he said.
The crowd cheered after Clinton declared that he wants to see Congress start working towards immigration reform.
“It doesn’t make sense not to. These are working people who pay taxes,” he said .
Discussing the large amount of debt college students face, Clinton touted community college as an excellent solution and promised to help young adults fund their education. His main idea was to allow students to refinance their college loans as if it were a mortgage or any other loan.
Demi DeBonis, a sophomore at American University studying political science, attended the event and is voting for Hillary.
"I believe that Hillary is the most electable candidate and I believe she is going to fight for my rights and the rights of woman everywhere," said DeBonis.
Some students from the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School attended the rally. Deblina Muhkherjee, a politically-enthused junior involved with Model United Nations, Junior Statesmen of America (JSA), and Youth and Government (YAG), enjoyed hearing Clinton speak on behalf of his wife.
“Hillary Clinton is a strong woman. She’s been here since the beginning. I admire her hussle and I think she’s a great politician,” explained Muhkerjee. “This was an incredible opportunity to see a former leader of the free world.”
Heaping praise on his wife, Clinton lauded her ability to unite both parties. “She is the only person who is qualified to handle both,” said Clinton. “There are always people on the other side who will support her.”
Concluding with a call to action, Clinton said, “If you believe in our future greatness, than New Jersey should rise for Hillary.”