Bernie Sanders Holds Campaign Rally in Hartford

Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders headed to Hartford on Monday for his second campaign stop in Connecticut ahead of Tuesday's primary election.

"Looks to me like Hartford is ready for a political revolution," Sanders said after taking the podium amid cheers from the crowd. "When I talk about a political revolution, it's not a complicated process. It means that we need to involve millions of people in the political process at the grassroots level."

Speaking from Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, Sanders discussed what he called a "rigged economy," increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, rethinking the war on drugs and phasing out fracking. He also encouraged people to get out and vote. 

"Today in America, when we talk about a rigged economy, we are talking about the top one-tenth of 1 percent ... now owning almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent," Sanders said. "We're talking about the 20 wealthiest people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans, half of our population."

"What we are going to do together is create an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent," he added. "If you work 40 hours per week, you should not be living in poverty."

Sanders took some time to discuss "disastrous" trade policies that he said encourage manufacturing overseas rather than in the United States.

"Since 2001, we have lost almost 60,000 factories in America," Sanders said. "The message and the word, if I'm elected president, will go out to corporate America, 'You know what? You're going to start investing in Connecticut, Vermont and America, not just in China or Mexico.' We are going to start creating decent paying jobs in this country."

Sanders also addressed drug arrests and the "so-called war on drugs."

"Over the last 30 years, millions of Americans have received criminal records because of possession of marijuana," Sanders said, drawing boos from the crowd. "If you have a police record, a criminal record, and walk in and try and get a job, it has an impact. It's not a good thing."

Sanders said he's introduced legislation that would mean marijuana would no longer be considered a Schedule 1 drug, the most dangerous class.

The Vermont senator told the crowd something needs to be done about what he called the epidemic of opiate and heroin addiction and called for a revolution in mental health treatment and used the topic to take a shot at Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat.

"I do not understand. I don't want to get too involved in local government here in Connecticut, but I understand that your governor has been cutting mental health treatment," Sanders said. "Now, what I believe is we have to revolutionize mental health treatment in this country." 

Sanders also discussed college tuition debt and making public colleges and universities free low interest rates for college refinancing.

“We should be rewarding people for getting an education, not punishing them,” Sanders said.

On Sunday night, Sanders took the stage at a rally before a crowd of about 10,000 people on the New Haven Green and discussed his platform there as well.

Speaking to NBC Connecticut's Matt Austin before Sunday night's rally, Sanders said Connecticut is an important state for him and he thinks he could have a shot.

"Connecticut is important, it has a lot of delegates, I want to win as many as possible," he said. "I believe if there is a large voter turnout on Tuesday we stand a good chance to win. If voter turnout is low, we probably won't win."

According to a recent Quinnipiac Poll, Sanders trails fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton among likely voters in Tuesday's presidential primary.

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