Jane Sanders, the wife of U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, toured Maui on Monday, Mar. 22. After visiting the Pioneer Mill, she arrived at the Mill House in Waikapu at 6:30pm sharp. She spoke for about an hour and a half, talking about her and her husband’s views on many subjects such as GMOs, why her husband is running for President, climate change and continuing the political revolution.
“I’m really pleased to be here representing Bernie,” she said to applause. “I like him, too.”
There were about 200 people present, mostly a mix of young people and seniors. There was a long line to get in, and once in everyone got a blue wristband, kind of like when you go to a water park. Richard Maele DeLeon, who is running for the County Council seat representing South Maui, gave a Hawaiian greeting to Jane Sanders.
“[Bernie Sanders] and I talked about him running for President way back in February, March, and I was a little reticent,” Jane said. “He made it very clear that his concern is that too much power is resting in the hands of too few people and it’s the people on top and the lobbyists in Washington that are not only making the decisions but they’re also determining what can be discussed… His feeling was that we either have to give up or show up and for him that meant running for President. His feeling is that we need to create a government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Jane also talked about her husband’s views on agriculture. “Bernie is very committed to dealing with the issues of climate change,” she said. “And I know Hawaii is leading our nation in this. Agriculture is extremely important. I understand that in Hawaii, 80 percent of the food that you consume is being imported, which seems odd… Bernie has been a real friend to the family farmer, in our state and in our nation, so he’ll work very hard to try to help you with sustainable agriculture, agro-tourism and any number of things but away from the GMOs.”
On the matter of her husband’s political popularity, Jane spoke of Sanders’ campaign as something approaching a revolution. “This election is not just about voting [ Sanders] in for President,” she said. “We want that and it would move everything forward so much quicker. It’s also about building a movement, building a political revolution. So if he’s elected as President, or even if he isn’t, we have to keep this going. We have to keep people engaged.”
Katie McMillan and Arianna Feinberg organized the event. The Hawaii Democratic Party’s Presidential Preference Poll takes place on Saturday, Mar. 26 at 1pm.
Photo: Bryan Berkowitz