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Westchester's Clinton Takes On Guns, Addiction, Wages During Area Rally

Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally at the University of Bridgeport on Sunday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
Fernando Torres of Bridgeport holds up a sign at the Hillary Clinton campaign rally in Bridgeport Sunday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
Hillary Clinton arrives to speak to the crowd at the University of Bridgeport Sunday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
Attendees at the Hillary Clinton rally in Bridgeport Sunday had to endure long lines to hear the Democratic front-runner speak. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, a Chappaqua resident since 1999, pledged to tackle gun violence, drug addiction and the minimum wage during a campaign rally in Connecticut’s largest city, Bridgeport, on Sunday.

Gun control would be a “centerpiece” issue of a Clinton presidency, she said at the Bridgeport event, which was held 20 miles from where the Sandy Hook School shooting took place. Each day, 90 people die from guns, or 33,000 people a year, she said.

“We cannot go on like this,” Clinton said in a get-out-the-vote rally held at the Harvey Hubbell Gymnasium at the University of Bridgeport. “And there is absolutely no conflict between protecting the Second Amendment rights of gun owners and protecting our children, our teenagers and other of our neighbors, family and friends.”

Hundreds of supporters and the curious lined up for hours on a sunny day to get a glimpse of the candidate and hear her speak in advance of the Tuesday presidential primary in Connecticut. 

Clinton also advocated for quicker access to mental health and drug addiction treatment. Addiction — particularly to opioids — has been the subject of several public meetings in Fairfield County after an epidemic of overdoses.

Clinton said it was “heartbreaking” to meet family members who have sought treatment for their loved ones with addictions only to find it’s too expensive or not available. 

“It’s time when somebody needs help that they can get it without having to wait months,” she said. “And I’m just hoping that communities will open their hearts to doing this.”

Clinton also pledged to invest in infrastructure to create jobs. Projects such as roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, airports and water systems put people to work, she said.

“These are good jobs,” Clinton said. “They can’t be exported.”

Clinton also said she is in favor of increasing the minimum wage in the United States. The current minimum wage federally is $7.25, according to the Department of Labor, although it is $9.60 per hours in Connecticut.

“I support the fight for 15,” she said. “I support raising the minimum wage at the federal level because I want people who are working hard, full-time, to feel like they’ve got a pathway out of poverty — not that they work full time and are still stuck in poverty.”

Clinton added that women should get equal pay as men for the work that they do. That point was driven home at a campaign event by a question from a young child at a town hall in Nevada.

“She said, ‘If you are the girl president, will you get paid the same as a boy president?” Clinton said to friendly laughter in the audience.

Clinton said that the Republicans disagree with her on many issues yet she receives accolades from her Republican colleagues.

“Whenever I have a job Republicans actually say nice things about me,” Clinton said. “It’s just when I’m running for — trying to get the job — that they’re really jumping up and down about me.”

It was the second appearance in as many days in Bridgeport by a major presidential candidate. Republican Donald Trump rallied supporters Saturday at the Klein. 

The latest Quinnipiac Poll is showing that Trump and Clinton both have big leads in Connecticut.

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