Sanders backs Perriello at campus rally

The Vermont senator spoke in support of the Virginia gubernatorial candidate



When Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) stepped onstage in the HUB of George Mason University, the crowd went wild. More wild, even, than when Tom Perriello, who was endorsed by Sanders in his run for Governor of Virginia, stepped onstage.

Sanders, who had announced his endorsement just days before the rally, told the crowd that by electing Tom Perriello, they could send a signal that Trump could be beaten.

This signal is key to some students at Mason, because according to a survey from Mason Votes, a student non-partisan political news outlet, 75.8 percent of students who voted on campus voted for Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Many students cited social issues and civil rights as the issues they voted on.

These very issues of civil rights and social issues were brought up in Perriello’s own speech, which focused on the importance of economic inclusivity and trans and race rights.

After addressing the audience as “fellow progressives,” Perriello spoke about free community college.

At one point, Perriello broke from his message of total inclusivity to mention how he differed from his opponent for the July primaries, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam.

As the only Democratic candidate who came out against gas pipelines in Virginia, Perriello said his stance prompted a water pipeline check by Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality. This news caused a new surge of cheers from the crowd, many of whom, as Mason students, attend the first Virginia university to receive a “STARS Gold Rating” from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Perriello also touched on the importance of ending gerrymandering and ending the “school-to-prison pipeline” before welcoming Sanders to the stage.

Sanders’ appearance garnered attention and applause, no doubt because of his run to become the Democratic nominee during the 2016 presidential election. During that campaign, Mason was one of his campaign stops.

During his speech, Sanders reiterated some of his talking points from his presidential campaign. Touching on economic inequality, Sanders rallied the crowd to cheers before asking them to make a difference.

Sanders asked that the Patriots take a stand against racial injustice and the lack of economic equality in America. He also encouraged students to get involved in the political process.


The primary election for Governor of Virginia is June 13. The general election is Nov. 7.