© 2024 KVPR | Valley Public Radio - White Ash Broadcasting, Inc. :: 89.3 Fresno / 89.1 Bakersfield
89.3 Fresno | 89.1 Bakersfield
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
This year, Valley Public Radio is doing elections coverage differently. We’re asking listeners and residents, what do you want candidates to talk about? Are you concerned about healthcare, housing, or homelessness?We put out a survey from July through October to find out. More than 150 residents throughout the San Joaquin Valley took the survey.The most concerning issue for many is how the economy will recover from COVID-19. Others identified housing and homelessness in local communities as a major issue; others were most concerned for the environment. As we interview candidates and continue our election coverage, we’ll keep these responses in mind. You can keep up with our coverage on this page, or send questions about our process to Laura Tsutsui at ltsutsui@kvpr.org.

At Fresno Rally, Bernie Sanders Calls Climate Change A Global Crisis, Touts Green New Deal

Targeting wealth inequality and the climate change crisis, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed a large crowd at Fresno City College Friday amid a sea of “Bernie” signs and episodic chants of his first name. 

Sanders spoke about a litany of proposals his administration would support including health care as a human right, free college education, the legalization of marijuana in every state, expunging the records of people arrested for marijuana crimes and erasing student debt. 

He called the huge gaps in levels of income and wealth in the United States obscene.  

“It is not acceptable to me, or you, that three people in America own more wealth than the bottom half of American society,” he said as the crowd cheered.

Credit Alice Daniel / KVPR
Supporters waved Bernie signs as the candidate spoke.

He said that he would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

“In America, the wealthiest country on earth, if you work 40 hours a week you should not live in poverty,” he said.

But his biggest focus for the evening was climate change. It’s not just a California issue, he said, and it’s not just an American issue. “It is a global issue and that is the crisis and emergency that we face,” he said.

He said that climate change deniers are not only threatening the planet, but the well-being of their own children and grandchildren and future generations. 

And he made a swipe at President Donald Trump.  “We have a global crisis and it is a disgrace that we have a President who doesn’t understand the first thing about climate change,” he said. “Well we do. And we are going to listen to the scientists, not the politicians.”

He said the scientific community is virtually unanimous in saying that climate change is real. 

“It is caused by human activity, it is already causing devastating problems all over the world. And what the scientists are now telling us is that they have underestimated the severity, and the speed at which climate change is causing harm all over the world.”

Credit Alice Daniel / KVPR
Kingsburg City Councilmember Jewel Hurtado introduced Sen. Sanders.


He also touted The Green New Deal, a proposal first introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, to reduce fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. “Building on The Green New Deal, we have introduced the most comprehensive climate change proposal ever brought forward by any candidate for federal office,” he said promising to transform the energy system away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy like wind and solar. He said retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient would create millions of jobs. 

After the rally, Lynn Swope, a retired nurse holding a Bernie sign, almost teared up talking about Sanders. 

"I’ll tell you what, at 71, almost 72 years old, that’s the only man that never lied to me,” she said.  “He’s the only man worth fighting for, and he’s fighting for us.”

She said she likes his Medicare for All plan. She said she has a child and a grandchild who are disabled and they can’t get health care. “I can’t leave this planet knowing they’ll never have the health care they deserve under this administration,” she said.

Credit Alice Daniel / KVPR
23-year-old Ronnie Cassis showed up early to get a good spot on the lawn.

Ronnie Cassis, 23, said he found the speech empowering.

He said Sanders resonates with young people like him. “He welcomes you and he’s warm," he said. "He’s not snooty, snotty rich.”


Alice Daniel was News Director for KVPR from 2019-2022. Daniel has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and more than 25 years of experience as a print and radio journalist.