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Sanders opens Rhode Island HQ, hundreds turn out in support

Evan LeBrun, Field Director U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders presidential campaign signs RI supporters up for ground canvassing on April 10 in Providence. Sanders officially opened headquarters in Rhode Island in advance of the state's primary on April 26. Tracey C. O'Neill

Evan LeBrun, Field Director U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders presidential campaign signs RI supporters up for ground canvassing on April 10 in Providence. Sanders officially opened headquarters in Rhode Island in advance of the state’s primary on April 26.
Tracey C. O’Neill

PROVIDENCE, RI – Close to two hundred supporters of presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sandersturned out on Sunday afternoon for the grand opening of Rhode Island presidential headquarters.

“I think we are seeing the turning point,” said Lauren Niedel, Deputy State Coordinator RI Progressive Democrats of America. “Look at how many people are here. I think Bernie is going to do well in Rhode Island. I think it will be close.”

 Niedel who also serves on the Rhode Island State Democratic Committee said that phone canvassing was producing positive results. “We are seeing the younger voters – the 19, 20, 21 year-olds – showing strong support for Sanders. The 18-45 age group are very positive about Bernie.”

Niedel’s Rhode Island reflections are commensurate of recent national polling trends that show Sanders dominating the Millennial vote.

Joe Caiazzo, Sanders’ communications director, thanked the crowd that was spilling out into the street and said the campaign was going to take Sanders’ message to every house in the state.

“We are very happy to be here. The campaign is going to go and compete as hard as we can for all 24 of the pledged delegates here in the Ocean State,” Caizzo said.

Jim H. Dean, CFO of Democracy in America was in Rhode Island for the event. A political operative and brother to Howard Dean, III former governor of Vermont and 2004 Presidential candidate, Dean played to the crowd’s New England roots.

Pitching to an engaged audience, he spoke of a campaign to be won vote by vote and person to person.

“Every time you talk to somebody, a family friend neighbor, you are making that personal connection, you are testifying for the next President of the United States of America,” he said.

Dean’s speech pumped up the crowd of Sanders soldiers.

“At this time in the primary juncture, we have the chance here in Rhode Island to make a difference. It has been a very long time since a New York or Connecticut or Rhode Island primary was the difference maker in an election. That is the opportunity that we have right now,” he said.

Emotional ties to the region and the candidate were evident in the room, as the crowd erupted in cheers.

“It is the opportunity to say that we want to change in the way we govern,” Dean said, riling up the crowd. “It is an opportunity to say that we want a foreign policy that’s driven by collaboration and not confrontation. It’s an opportunity to raise the middle class to do something and make this economy work for all Americans. And most importantly, it’s an opportunity for the great state of Rhode Island to send a message to the rest of this country that we are not kidding.”

Sanders spent the morning stumping on Coney Island, rallying supporters along the boardwalk and stopping at the famous Nathan’s for a hotdog.

Both Sanders and opponent former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are canvassing New York in advance of the New York Primary on the April 19.

This article originally appeared on Examiner.com on April 10, 2016. 

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