BRIDGEPORT RALLY: Obama promotes Malloy agenda with election looming

During a visit to Connecticut on Sunday, President Barack Obama put the spotlight on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s handling of gun-control measures, minimum wage increases, and affordable healthcare as positive influences on the state during the incumbent’s four years in Hartford.

The president speech was interrupted four times by pro-immigration protesters, who had to be removed from the rally at Bridgeport’s Central High School.

At the end of the day, Obama told the audience, the governor’s race in Connecticut is one between challenger Republican Tom Foley supporting corporations and Malloy supporting the rights of everyday people.

“The biggest corporations don’t need another champion. The wealthiest Americans don’t need another champion,” Obama said. “You do.”

Rejects ‘trickle-down’ approach

On economics, the president said Malloy understands better than Foley that the “trickle-down” theory of American achievement is false.

“Looser rules on big banks, cutting the safety net for people,” Obama said. “We tried all that stuff, and it did not work. We don’t want to go back to that vision.

“Dan has a very different vision that is rooted in a conviction that in America prosperity never trickles down from the top, it grows on a rising tide of equality,” the president said of Malloy, a fellow Democrat.

Women’s issues emphasized

A large emphasis of his address also focused on women’s issues, with Obama claiming the Democratic governor has the best chance to strengthen women’s rights in the state.

“We need leaders with a 21st century mindset,” Obama said. “If you ask [Republicans] about climate change, they say they aren’t scientists. But, when you ask them if a woman has a right to make their own healthcare choices, they’re all doctors. When women succeed, America succeeds.”

Immigration protesters

Obama’s speech was interrupted a number of times by young undocumented immigrants who said they were advocating for “a clear answer” from the president on immigration issues.

The young immigrants — some still in high school, many from Connecticut — said they were a part of United We Dream, the “largest youth-led coalition of organizations fighting for the equal rights of immigrants,” according to activist Junior Sierra, a senior at Global Studies Institute at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk.

Obama calmly addressed the interruptions while Secret Service officers removed the demonstrators from the rally. Obama said Republicans were responsible for holding up new legislation on immigrant rights, not him.

But afterward, representatives of the group said today’s event was one of a number of other “interruptions” planned to call attention to immigration reform.

“Our parents did not stop halfway on their way to this country, so we don’t see a need to stop either until there are equal opportunities in all of our communities,” Sierra said. “Time after time, my life has been interrupted, especially in trying to get into higher education.”

Sierra said his ability to make advancements has been hurt by his immigration status.

“I haven’t been able to grow and develop like my friends,” he said. “I’m in the art show, I’m in the science fair, and I’m at the top of my class,” but without a Social Security number, “I am forced to be a second-class citizen.”