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Sanders Fans From Norwalk Gather In Support Of Their Prize Candidate

Deb Goldstein with her Bernie sign
Deb Goldstein with her Bernie sign Photo Credit: Roy Fuchs
Paul Regnier and his wife, Ana Hitri, at the Bernie Sanders gathering at the Silver Star Diner in Norwalk.
Paul Regnier and his wife, Ana Hitri, at the Bernie Sanders gathering at the Silver Star Diner in Norwalk. Photo Credit: Roy Fuchs
Former Norwalk Mayor Bill Collins attends the Bernie Sanders rally.
Former Norwalk Mayor Bill Collins attends the Bernie Sanders rally. Photo Credit: Roy Fuchs

NORWALK, Conn. — Bernie for President 2016: That’s what the small stickers said that were given out by Norwalk resident Deb Goldstein at Wednesday evening’s rally at the Silver Star Diner in Norwalk.

Goldstein described herself as a “longtime Democratic activist” who heads up the ctforbernie.org , the communications point for the Sanders presidential campaign in the Fairfield County area.

Goldstein spoke to about 30 mostly gray-haired progressives who turned out for the monthly meet up of the Westport-Norwalk group of Democracy for America, a still-thriving (and perhaps now rejuvenated) national organization founded to support Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential run.

Talking about Sanders, she said his supporters are not looking for the “least best choice,” but “they’re digging through the Cracker Jack box to get the prize.”

“The product is selling itself … support is almost entirely grassroots," she said of the support for Sanders. "The national organization didn’t anticipate the crowds … (but now) it is scaling up quickly.”

It’s too early to seek out Connecticut voters, Goldstein said — the primary is not until April 26. The evening's successful purpose was to sign up volunteers who will recruit other volunteers. “We need to get him through to Connecticut’s primary,” she said.

She introduced two speakers, Westporter Dr. Paul Regnier and former Norwalk Mayor Bill Collins.

Regnier lived in Washington and met Sanders when he was first elected to the House in 1990. “He’s talked the same way for 40 years," Regnier said of Sanders, who is now a U.S. senator. "He wants to break the billionaires’ control of politics, redo the tax system, break up the banks, offer free tuition and reduce the interest on student loans.”

Collins, an 80-year-old unabashed liberal, has known Sanders since he was mayor of Burlington, Vt. He called Sanders “a natural leader … (who) hasn’t softened a wit on his principals,” and added “People have had enough, they want fundamental change.”

Democracy for America meetings begin with people introducing themselves and mentioning any office or involvement they have — and this month, why they attended the meeting.

Among the responses were “to join a grassroots campaign to elect Bernie Sanders president,” “I like him,” “there’s no one else to vote for,” “I’m a life long activist, and now a Bernie activist.”

One young person said she supports Sanders’ issues, “addressing income inequality, the working poor and the environment.” Another, an older naturalized Brit, said, “Socialism is not a dirty word.”

Another said, “I’m here because liberalism is an incurable disease.”

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