Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife Hillary Clinton in Delaware County on Friday, speaking of an American future marked by job and infrastructure growth, as well as greater educational opportunities.
The event, held at the county fairgrounds just north of Columbus, was intended to inspire voters in the area, which usually votes Republican, to cast an early vote for Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
Bill Clinton established the theme of the future at the start of his speech.
“It’s about you and your kids and your grandkids,” he said of the presidential election. “And about what kind of America we want to live in and what kind of America we want to leave behind.”
Bill Clinton also spoke of manufacturing jobs in Ohio, a topic Republican candidate Donald Trump has focused on during his campaign. He said that his wife would bring back lost manufacturing jobs, a promise Trump has also made.
“In Ohio, for a lot of reasons, we can bring back manufacturing jobs,” he said. He added that making energy in the state more environmentally friendly will both lower costs and add jobs.
Bill Clinton said he is concerned about the state of the nation’s school systems and that Hillary Clinton would work to improve standards across the nation.
“Hillary believes we should spend relatively more of our federal money on making sure it doesn’t matter what zip code you live in whether you get a quality education,” he said.
He continued by saying that Hillary Clinton would make community college free for all and public colleges free for anyone from a household earning less than $125,000 per year. Bill Clinton described this plan as a merging of Hillary and rival Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ proposals.
“They merged their two education plans,” he said. “And they made a better plan than either one of them had before.”
The crowd of several hundred people applauded and cheered loudly throughout the event.
Though Bill Clinton referred often to Trump, he never mentioned the candidate by name, instead referring to him as “Hillary’s opponent,” an apparent move toward civility in what has been a divisive election season.
“We can’t keep treating each other the way that we’ve seen in this campaign,” he said.
The more civil, policy-based tone of the speech impressed Adrian Radilla, a Miami University student in attendance.
“He tried to keep it on policy instead of going too negative,” he said.
Barbara Ragoo, an area resident, also was glad the speech stayed focused on policy.
“I had to come to hear what (Hillary Clinton’s) plans are, what her thoughts are,” she said. She added hearing policies from Bill Clinton was helpful, expressing dissatisfaction with the way policy discussions were presented in the first two presidential debates.
Longtime Delaware residents Malia and Don Hyatt were impressed by the proposals laid out for Ohio manufacturing jobs and education. A supporter of Sanders during the primaries, Malia Hyatt said Bill Clinton’s speech today inspired her to vote for the Democratic nominee, despite previously considering Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
“When we leave here today we’re going to go up and do our early voting,” said Don Hyatt. “And I’m going to be doing some volunteering on the phone”