Monday, February 13, 2017

Sanders' town hall in W.Va.'s poorest county axed after National Guard puts armory off limits

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks Sunday in Charleston, W.VA.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by F. Brian Ferguson)
An MSNBC town hall scheduled today with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Welch, W.Va., was canceled after the event's host, the National Guard armory, canceled on Friday and another location could not be found in time, reports the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

David Weigel of The Washington Post reports, "people with knowledge of the event say it had been planned for weeks, and they were told belatedly that the venue could not host a political event.

Welch is located in McDowell County, "the poorest part of West Virginia, with the highest rate of drug overdose in the state and the lowest life expectancy of any county in the U.S.—64 years," David Weigel reports. "In November, Donald Trump won 74.1 percent of the vote in the county, but in the Democratic primary six months earlier, Sanders won 55.2 percent of the vote."

Sanders said in a statement: “If anyone in West Virginia government thinks that I will be intimidated from going to McDowell County, West Virginia, to hold a town meeting, they are dead wrong. If they don’t allow us to use the local armory, we’ll find another building. If we can’t find another building, we’ll hold the meeting out in the streets. That town meeting will be held. Poverty in America will be discussed. Solutions will be found.”

Sunday, Sanders was in Charleston, where he spoke to a crowd of more than 2,000, Jake Jarvis reports for the Gazette-Mail. He "challenged the people of West Virginia to resist any efforts by President Donald Trump to become an authoritarian and undermine the country’s court system," telling the crowd, “What he is doing is what demagogues have always done, and that is to pick on minorities and try to divide this country up. What a real statesman attempts to do—what good government is about—is bringing people together to improve life for all.”

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