TOLEDO, Ohio – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday brought his White House campaign to this battleground state where job-killing trade deals – many of them backed by his rival Hillary Clinton – led to shuttered manufacturing plants and the disappearance of decent-paying jobs.
Sanders also picked up a major endorsement from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, who introduced the senator to some 2,000 supporters at the SeaGate Convention Center. “I come here to introduce the next president of the United States,” she said to high-decibel cheers. “America could have no stronger Democratic leader for jobs in America, for fair trade and for economic progress for all, not just the privileged few, than Bernie Sanders,” she said.
Picking up on Kaptur’s points on trade, Sanders said NAFTA, normalized trade with China and other trade agreements contributed to the shutdown of 60,000 factories in the United States since 2001. “Communities here in the Midwest – in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois – have been decimated.”
Ohio has lost more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs – nearly one-third of the factory jobs in the state – since NAFTA. Because of that agreement, which Clinton espoused as first lady and praised years later, Ohio lost 35,000 jobs. Normalized trade with China caused the loss of more than 106,000 jobs in Ohio.
Also addressing the rally before Sanders’ spoke was U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, an Iraq war veteran. She emphasized Sanders’ foreign policy views, including his opposition to the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. When she endorsed Sanders on Feb. 28, she said it was her “strong belief that we must end the interventionist, regime-change policies that have cost us so much.”
Gabbard is a former high-ranking member of the Democratic National Committee. She recently resigned her party post in order to back Sanders.
Also speaking at the rally here was former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner, a Cleveland native, who has traveled throughout the country to speak on Sanders’ behalf.