By Haley Bartlett, Editor-In-Chief-
Mike Bloomberg made a pit stop in Chattanooga during his campaign tour for early voting at the Bessie Smith Center on Wednesday, Feb. 12.
A crowd of over 1,000 citizens came either to show support, gain more knowledge on the candidate, or to protest him altogether. 400 people were left outside of the center to hear the speech on speakers after the building reached maximum capacity.
Elenora Woods, leader of the NAACP chapter in Chattanooga, gave a welcome to Mike and said why she early voted for him.
“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of the racist remarks of Donald Trump,” she said. “I’ve seen racism, and that is not Mike Bloomberg.”
The presidential candidate opened with the remarks of why he was running for the presidency of 2020 including to simply get Trump out of the Oval Office.
“I am running to defeat Donald Trump, I am running to restore honor to the government,” he said. “I am running to bring unity back to the United States.”
Bloomberg’s speech was largely dedicated to ensuring the public that his campaign slogan of “Mike will get it done” will be seen through unlike many politicians who make empty promises. To build confidence in his ability, he went on to list several data points of his time serving as mayor of New York including raising teacher salaries by 40% and others.
Bloomberg said the ‘it’ in the slogan stood for change, sanity, human decency, and many other characteristics he plans to implement back into the country.
The audience represented every type of person on the planet from the older generation even to a mother with her 16 year-old son.
Deborah Duncan said her son Luka never showed interest in politics until Bloomberg and that they were there for him to watch the speech.
“I’ve been leaning more towards Elizabeth Warren, but Luka has been asking a lot of questions about Bloomberg and thinks he is a great choice. He’s been learning all about him.”
There were many in attendance who were eager to hear about the candidate’s plans for the environment and healthcare.
Travis White, a local Chattanoogan and registered democrat, said while all the other issues were important, none of them matter if the environment isn’t the priority.
“He does recognize climate change and global warming so I’m hoping that his plan is a smart plan,” he said. “I would like to handle him to certain standards as far as the environment and women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and people of color because he’s had some issues with that in the past.”
Bloomberg hit on a lot of points that built his platform, but also directed a lot of his speech towards being dedicated to remove Trump, whether it’s by him winning the nominations or a fellow candidate. He spoke of the negative impacts that have risen as of late.
“My whole career, I’ve been a doer, and I believe we need less talk, less partisanship, less division, and less tweeting,” he said.
While there were many supporting democrats there, a lot of people in attendance were independent voters who were keeping an open mind to any and all candidates and wanting a better grasp on Bloomberg. Rhett Bentley, a citizen not dedicated to a party, said one of her biggest concerns with any potential president is women’s healthcare.
“Women’s health for me is huge, I recently had a baby and I was very shocked to learn that some of our maternal and infant mortality rates are some of the worst in developed countries,” she said. “So I want someone with a policy that can change that.”