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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7d40002Coverage of the issues, races and people shaping Kansas elections in 2016, including statewide coverage in partnership with KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, and High Plains Public Radio.

Sanders Repeats Populist Message During Lawrence Visit

Stephen Koranda

Democratic Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders repeated his call for overhauling campaign finance during a campaign stop in Lawrence yesterday.

The presidential candidate singled out the Koch brothers specifically and said large campaign donors have too much power. He said his campaign has accepted small donations averaging $27.

“I am not indebted to Wall Street, the drug companies, the fossil fuels industry. I’m indebted to millions of people for their 27 bucks,” Sanders said.

Sanders is also calling for reducing the cost of college and offering more services for the nation’s veterans. Both those ring true to Hannah Hewett, a student at Emporia State University who waited for hours to see Sanders.

“I am in student debt and also my dad and my brother are both military, so the beginning of his speech just talking about what we need to do for our troops I agree with that, too, because I’ve lived part of that,” Hewett said.

Sanders told the crowd that he could beat Republican Donald Trump in the election and take the White House.

He tried to fight off criticisms that he may not be as electable as his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. He sent a message of inclusiveness to a crowd of thousands of supporters.

“Community working together trumps selfishness. Most importantly, we will defeat Donald Trump because love trumps hate,” Sanders said.

Tyler Lewis said he likes the positions Sanders takes on financial inequality and climate change. He said Sanders has been able to create enthusiasm, which a winning candidate needs.

“Trump’s people have enthusiasm and Bernie’s people have enthusiasm. This makes the most sense, in my mind, for the Democratic candidate to be the candidate with the most enthusiasm because those voters will show up,” Lewis said.

Sanders will face off against Clinton in the Kansas Democratic caucuses on Saturday.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.