Last night, Jane Sanders, wife of Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, spoke at the Maui Tropical Plantation and answered questions from an enthusiastic crowd. The Shell Theater at The Mill House was standing room only as hundreds of supporters met up for a very last-minute meet and greet with the potential First Lady.
Below we've shared some of her words as well as some memorable questions and answers.
"The Republican debates are completely out to lunch, but the democratic debates deal with some issues. But you hear the same issues over and over again. Nobody has talked about agriculture. Nobody talks about veterans. Nobody talks really about climate change."
"He [Bernie Sanders] is not beholden to anybody and... that's why I think the establishment is so firmly in Clinton's camp because I think they understand that he's going to be quite different from most people that have run for office."
"She [Clinton] says, "Oh, his ideas are laudable, but they're unrealistic." Well if they're laudable, why aren't we trying to achieve them? Why are we telling people to lower their sights? If the Presidential Campaign isn't the place to offer a bold vision for the future, when are we supposed to offer a bold vision?"
"He has a record for achievement. When he says he's going to do something, he does it."
Questions and Answers
Vincent Mina: I'm the President of the Hawaii Farmers Union and I really appreciate the fact that he's talking in support of family farmers. I'm a family farmer myself. Two words to bring back to him: SOIL HEALTH! If he can start bringing that into the light, then we can start building our soils and getting our food back to where it's medicine again, then we won't have to go to the pharmaceutical companies.
Jane Sanders: We believe 100% in that, and I think when you look at who he'll appoint to the EPA, FDA, CDC you will see that those people will be taking care of the health of America more than the profits of the corporations.
Pharmaceutical firms made 45 billion dollars, the 3 largest ones, in profit last year... 20% of the American public, according to a recent study, can not afford to fill their prescriptions. One of the very first things he'll do as President will change our campaign finance system.
"Who are your foreign policy experts?" What you look at on both the republican and democratic side, they're all listening to the same people. The people who have been wrong for a very long time. That's true on trade, that's true on economics, that's true on criminal justice. We have to have a real shake up in our government so that we bring in people with new ideas with the right principles that we as a nation really want to see.
We agree very strongly with Tulsi [Gabbard] that regime change is something that Secretary Clinton has been very proud of. That's her way of foreign policy. We believe that we should be respecting different nations and recognizing that some are better than others. We're working hand and glove with communist China. I don't understand why we can't try to have some diplomacy with Iran. We need to be doing a lot more in terms of real diplomacy and trying to achieve peace. It's more than war. It's about relationships. We barely even have that good of a relationship with Hawaii! We need to support each other. Latin America is our closest neighbor, and we barely ever look there except to close the border so we need to reach out and establish relationships and fair trade that bring people together and benefit both sides of the equation.
Legislation follows the person that uses that bully pulpit and gets the American people excited about ideas. So hopefully you'll vote for Bernie.
Bernie is proud to be Jewish. I'm proud to be Catholic. We are actually more secular. We believe in the tenants of our faith, which are the tenants of virtually every faith out there, which is do unto others as you would have done unto you.
We've been surprised at not having much antisemitism during this, and we hope that will continue.
Bernie believes that it's a little bit ridiculous that Marijuana is on schedule one of drugs right there with Heroin. He will take it off the schedule one. That doesn't mean that every State will make it legal, but they won't have to worry about who is elected President as to whether or not they are going to enforce that.
Teacher:With No Child Left Behind and Common Core, are you going to have a moratorium on testing for just enough time for teachers to get involved and change what's going on?
Jane Sanders:Absolutely! These things are teaching to the test. It's not education anymore. We want teachers in control of the classroom.
From the Keiki
Child asks: Why does Bernie want to be President?
Jane Sanders: I think what he wants to do is improve the lives of the working class, the regular folks of this Nation. He wants to transform our system, our government, to be able to resonate the voices of the people and deal with the issues that they consider to be most important. He wants to change the priorities and move away from military spending and spending on modernizing nuclear weapons and move into putting money into education, health care, farming, and sustainable energy. He wants to have this country be the kind of country we all know it can be. To allow everybody to work, study, and learn to the best of their ability, to reach their full potential. He wants to rival Denmark, which is known as the happiest country in the world. We want to have this be the happiest country in the world!
Child asks: How is Bernie going to save the Earth?
Jane Sanders: He is going to move our country from fossil fuels... and move towards wind, solar and geothermal energy. He is going to deal with an issue that we're finding throughout our country. Our aquifers, our water, needs to be protected. A lot of the choices we're making are hurting those aquifers.
How do supporters "Spread the Bern"?
"Social media has been a gift because the media was not covering Bernie. There was a study that said he got 10 minutes on ABC news in 2015. Trump was on 100's if not 1000's of minutes. I've spoken to the media as we've gone through this campaign and said, after this campaign you'll have to do some self-reflection because you've created Donald Trump and turned news into entertainment."
"He [Bernie Sanders] has had more support than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton combined from those under 30. That bodes really well for the future of our country, don't you think?"
Regardless of your political stance, it's always interesting watching passionate people congregate and share ideas. Aloha!
All photography was taken by Natalie Brown Photography. We have all the rights necessary to use these images on our website.