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Bernie Sanders and other politicians rally for Keith Ellison on campus

The rally held at the University of Minnesota aimed to motivate students to vote for Ellison in the midterms.
Image by Ainsley Brown
Speakers touched on abortion, student loan debt and climate change.

About 1,500 University of Minnesota students and community members attended a rally at Northrop Auditorium Friday to listen to key democratic progressive speakers speak in support of Attorney General Keith Ellison’s reelection campaign.

Organized by the Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) and the Ellison campaign, those who spoke at the event in support of Ellison included U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Doors to the auditorium opened at noon and most seats were filled by a responsive and energetic audience by the time the event started at 1 p.m.

Audience members included University first-year student Ashley Spaulding, who came to learn more about local politics as an out-of-state student.

“I’m not from Minnesota, but I want to know who’s sticking up for me,” Spaulding said. “I want to make sure that I’m being heard.”

Singer-songwriter and DFL-endorsed candidate for the state House of Representatives María Isa ignited energy within the crowd while on stage with a musical performance that featured her rapping and playing latin drums.

Afterward, local and national politicians got up to make their case for voting in this year’s midterm elections on Nov. 8.

“We are the voter engine of Minnesota.” Omar said. “I need all of you to take that seriously.”

Abortion access and student loan debt were addressed by several of the speakers, including Ellison. State Rep. Kaohly Vang Her spoke about her personal experience having an ectopic pregnancy when she was a recent college graduate and stressed the importance of this year’s election for protecting access to reproductive healthcare in the state.

“I will be damned if I sit by and not fight as hard for the future of all women and people with uteruses,” Her said.

Ellison expanded on climate change, crime and gun control, and continued to encourage attendees to go out and vote in this year’s election.

“What is on the line,” Ellison said, “ is whether or not these United States, and starting in Minnesota, will remain a democratic, multiracial society that respects everyone’s rights.”

Following Ellison, Sanders walked on-stage while the crowd chanted his name. Sanders expressed his support for Ellison’s campaign and further elaborated on issues other speakers talked about, such as universal healthcare.

“We are the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people,” Sanders said.

Sanders ended his speech by stating his goal of “bringing all of our people together around an agenda that says we’re going to create a nation and a government in which all of our people have a good standard of living.”

Members of the crowd appeared talkative and excited once the rally ended. First-year student Trystan Schultz and Spaulding said they were happy to see issues they were passionate about addressed during the rally.

“I had a blast,” Schultz said as he left the auditorium.

“It was nice to hear from them instead of reading what they said,” Spaulding said.

Nicole Donoso said she felt motivated to get out and vote after listening to the speakers and encouraged others to do so as well.

“It’s just so nice to feel energized with young people,” Donoso said. “We love Bernie, and we wanted to see him.”

Minnesota governor, attorney general, secretary of state and all seats in the state legislature will be on the ballot this year. You can register to vote on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.

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