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Hillary Clinton holds rally in Phoenix

Hillary+Clinton+held+a+rally+at+Carl+Hayden+High+School+in+Phoenix+on+March+21.+Her+rally+was+one+of+the+final+appearances+by+a+presidential+candidate+in+Arizona+before+the+March+22+Arizona+primary+elections.%26%23160%3B
Sam Gross
Hillary Clinton held a rally at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix on March 21. Her rally was one of the final appearances by a presidential candidate in Arizona before the March 22 Arizona primary elections. 

In the last of a slew of presidential rallies over the past four days, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a last-ditch effort to rally as much support as she can at a “Get Out and Vote” event in Phoenix today at Carl Hayden High School. 

Hundreds of people lined up outside the high school, with the line eventually wrapping around nearly two full sides of the campus. Supporters showed up hours before the event, braving a relatively warm day and cloudless sky to see Clinton in the school’s gymnasium. 

Out of the hundreds who lined up, only a fraction of them actually made it inside of the small space where the rally was held. 

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Scott Kelly, joined Clinton’s rally and helped introduce her. 

Kelly spoke first, doing the majority of the talking for the couple, and using most of his time on the stage to speak out against gun laws and the gun lobbyists in Washington. 

While he and Giffords have both been life-long gun owners, Washington has stopped serving the interests of the normal, everyday gun owners and has become more concerned with the lobbyists of the firearm industry.  

He believes that Clinton is the answer to the issue of gun control and the remainder of issues that the government is facing.

“We all have too much to lose in this election,” Kelly said. “Arizona has too much to lose.”

Kelly then introduced his wife, Giffords, who was greeted by a roaring crowd.

She spoke for just a brief few minutes, echoing her husband’s words on gun reform and the need for Clinton in the White House. The former representative ended by saying that while she has difficulties speaking, she hopes that, come January, she will say Hillary’s name when speaking about the president. 

Clinton was then introduced to the crowd, and the tightly packed gymnasium roared. 

She wasted no time, and dove right in to her relatively short speech — quickly listing off the major issues that she would hope to address as president. 

Clinton first echoed the words of Kelly and Giffords, telling a story about a couple she she had met just prior to the rally who lost their daughter during the 2012 shooting in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. 

Questioning how it was capable for a person to buy thousands of rounds of ammunition, she said that the government needed to tighten the reins on the gun market without infringing on the rights of the average gun owner — gun owners like Kelly and Giffords. 

“We are standing up for common sense gun reform,” she said, causing the audience to roar.

Following her talk on gun reform, next came the economy. Raising the minimum wage, helping small businesses and emphasizing the importance of equal pay for women in the workplace were all significant mentions in her speech. 

“It is time America got a raise,” she said, adding that someone working full time should never struggle to feed themselves or their family.

Education was her next point of discussion. Clinton was quick to bring up Arizona’s low national education ranking at 50th in the nation and it’s only slightly higher ranking of 45th for per-capita spending on education. 

“I believe Arizona can and needs to do better,” she said, adding that one of her priorities is to make a quality education more accessible for Americans.

Clinton says that, like her Democratic Party opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders, she too, plans to make tuition free. However, her plan comes with some stipulations. 

“I am not going to ask you to pay to send Donald Trump’s youngest child to school for free,” she said. 

Her plan focuses more on the middle class, ensuring that those who need it will be able to access a free or affordable form of higher education. In addition to plainly making higher education more accessible, she said that addressing the student debt issue is just as crucial. 

She plans on creating financing that will allow students to pay off their loans quicker and easier, as well as a program where students can pay off their loans as a percentage of their income. Clinton also said that she is going to put a cap on how long a person can be stuck paying off a student loan.

Briefly, before she ended her speech, she discussed the need for comprehensive immigration reform. 

“We are a nation of immigrants and exiles,” she said. 

Tomorrow’s Arizona primary is the candidates’ last chance to grab a large chunk of delegates before April, and many experts are saying that Arizona’s vote is holding more weight than usual in this election cycle. 

With 58 Republican delegates and 75 Democratic delegates up for grabs in tomorrow’s vote in a winner-take-all style competition, the results could make or break a handful of candidates’ campaigns — particularly on John Kasich’s side. 

At this point, he is mathematically incapable of winning the Republican nomination via delegate count alone and Sen. Ted Cruz is looking for these larger winner-take-all contests as a way to revitalize his Oval Office ambitions. 

Trump and Clinton are currently leading the polls in Arizona by significant amounts. 

The GOP powerhouse and Democratic establishment favorite both were leading their competition in the Merill Poll Arizona primary survey last week by 31 and 50 percent respectively. 


Follow Sam Gross on Twitter.


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