TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) on Friday formally endorsed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for president calling him “direct, honest, straight and truthful.”
“Bernie is my friend and beyond friendship I agree with his values. I agree with the solutions that he is bringing to the American people,’’ the congressman told the outdoor rally on a grassy hillside at the Reid Park DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center.
Speaking in Spanish and English, Grijalva said Sanders’ grassroots movement is resonating with the American people. “It is way past time that we had a national candidate and a voice that speaks truth to power,” he said. “It’s a message that the American people want to hear and that the American people support.”
More than 13,000 people turned out for the rally, according to of the Tucson Parks and Recreation Department.
Sanders thanked Grijalva “for his decades of fighting for civil rights and for Latino rights.” Grijalva is co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which Sanders founded in 1991. He also is a longstanding member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
During Sanders’ wide-ranging remarks, he spoke about immigration, gun safety, income inequality, education and Wall Street reform.
On immigration, Sanders said 11 million people who came to this country to find jobs in order to be able to feed their families deserve a path to citizenship. He said Congress should pass the DREAM Act, a bill that would create a formal path to citizenship for young people who came to this country as children.
He also talked about gun safety on a day when shootings left one person dead at Northern Arizona University, another was killed at Texas Southern University and President Barack Obama visited relatives of nine victims killed last week at a community college in Oregon.
“We are tired and we are embarrassed seeing children in elementary schools slaughtered and young people on college campuses shot,” Sanders said. He called for strengthening instant background checks and closing a legal loophole that allows unchecked weapons sales at gun shows.
Earlier Friday, Sanders said he is “willing to see change” in a law limiting liability for firearms manufacturers. “Can we take another look at that liability issue? Yes,” Sanders said in a taped interview with Chuck Todd, host of the NBC News program “Meet the Press.”
Before the senator and congressman addressed the rally, the crowd grew quiet as 10-year-old Bob de la Rosa told a heart-wrenching story about his separation from his mother in Mexico. “She tells me we are separated because she wants me to have a good education,” he said. “Kids like me need our families together.”
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