Bloomberg, Gillibrand Meet Granite Staters

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-NY) speaks at Saint Anselm on Tuesday. (Photo from Bloomberg’s Flickr account)

The 2020 presidential election is in full swing. This week was a busy one for prospective candidates. On Tuesday, Michael Bloomberg (D-NY), traveled to the hilltop for a Bookmark Series event, hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in conjunction with the New England Council. Bloomberg spoke about his 2017 book Climate of Hope and outlined his thoughts on global climate change.

After first meeting with Saint Anselm students and taking a photo, Bloomberg addressed a packed auditorium. The former New York City mayor admitted he is actively considering a presidential campaign. He told WMUR that he expects his decision to be made by the end of February.

In his remarks Tuesday, Bloomberg eschewed the glowing rhetoric of Kamala Harris’ Oakland announcement and instead spent his time proving his knowledge of climate change. During the question and answer portion, the potential candidate also spoke to a need to greater fund the arts.

His tour of New Hampshire continued beyond Saint Anselm. He went to Nashua, Dover, and Concord before heading home to New York.

There was a multitude of Saint Anselm students in the audience on Tuesday. One of them, Jackson Lawler-Sidell ’22, is a Republican voter who seemed to appreciate what Bloomberg had to say, specifically mentioning how Bloomberg addressed the future of the coal industry. “With the recent surge in the elimination of coal plants, it’s reassuring to see that someone is looking out for the families involved in the coal industry,” he said.

Lawler-Sidell continued, “Switching from coal to other cleaner energy solutions is something that needs to happen if we want to save our planet, but there needs to be a system in place to provide new jobs for families in the coal industry.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) addresses an audience of nearly 150 people at Stark Brewing Company on Friday. (Photo by Nick Fulchino ’19)

Another New Yorker, Kirsten Gillibrand, was in Manchester on Friday at Stark Brewing Company. After grabbing a beer, Gillibrand addressed a standing-room-only crowd. In her remarks, Gillibrand spoke of her desire to fight for America’s children. She took on President Trump directly, on issues ranging from immigration to divisive rhetoric. She promised voters she was up to the task of taking on Trump and leading the nation, “I promise you I have never backed down from a fight. It does not matter who I am fighting against it is who I am fighting for.”

During the question and answer segment, Gillibrand touted her record of legislative accomplishment. She cited her history of working with conservative Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on legislation addressing sexual assault. As president, Gillibrand said she would work hard to bring the nation together.

She also addressed her desire to fight for criminal justice reform, pointing to the racism inherent in the current system. Specifically, she mentioned the discrepancies in sentencing for marijuana possession. She said that in New York, African-Americans are more likely to go to jail and face longer sentences than their white counterparts. As part of her plan, Gillibrand will work to decriminalize marijuana and end cash bail. Her promises on criminal justice reform drew loud applause from the room of Democrats.

Among her other proposals, Gillibrand called for publicly-funded elections, a repeal of the Hyde Amendment, and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The senator is still in the exploratory phase of her campaign but intends to roll out more policy as she prepares to formally enter the race.

Saint Anselm student Emily Burns ’22 came away from the event impressed with the senator. “As a New Yorker, it was super exciting to be able to see and meet my senator, but also to be able to hear in person her stances on various issues that are important to me,” she said. Burns continued, “I’m excited to see how her presidential run goes, and I’m excited to support her along the way!”