By Ariele Vaccaro
Days before state legislators would vote on bills to defund Planned Parenthood, Hillary Clinton visited Milwaukee for a “Women for Hillary” rally event. It was the first campaign stop the Democratic candidate has made in Wisconsin since announcing her bid for the presidency.
Among women’s issues, Clinton brought up her college affordability plan, gun violence, and a heap of criticism for her GOP opponents, including Governor Scott Walker.
By 4:30 p.m., the Wisconsin Room on the third floor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus teemed with Clinton’s supporters, many of them college-age.
Clinton recognized immediately the number of students in the audience. Mention of her plan to refinance college debt garnered raucous cheers from the audience.
“We’ve got to make sure young people know what is at stake,” said Clinton, referencing younger voters who tend to come to the polls in fewer numbers than other age groups.
She made her strong stance on women’s issues clear, referencing recent Assembly Bills 310 and 311 that would defund Planned Parenthood. The bills are set to be voted on this coming Tuesday.
She addressed criticism of having overplayed women’s rights issues.
“If advocating for equal pay is playing the gender card, deal me in,” said Clinton to the audience.
Clinton criticized her GOP opponents, calling GOP candidate Donald Trump their “flamboyant frontrunner” and implying his quieter counterparts were much like him.
Her commentary on Scott Walker was less than friendly, saying he “guts public education” and “demeans women”, likely in reference to 2016-1017 budget cuts to the UW System and legislation that banned abortions after 20 weeks.
The voices of hecklers interjected at criticism of Walker.
Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton, the mentally-ill African-American man killed by a white police officer in April of last year, was in the crowd of attendees. Clinton pointed out Dontre Hamilton’s death as an indicator of recent gun violence and a need for tighter gun laws.
Milwaukee Mayor Barrett had taken the stage earlier to highlight Clinton’s campaign promises to quell income inequality if elected. He also urged voters to hit the polls in force.
State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) cracked jokes about Clinton’s Republican competitors in the race, toying with the idea of each of them holding the title of “president”, resulting in some booing with the name of the current GOP lead, Donald Trump.
Clinton fell in the polls this week to 40 percent, allowing Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders to pass her by one point at 41 percent. Sanders, a United States senator representing Vermont, is a socialist caucusing with the Democratic Party.