Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton unveiled her plan to devote hundreds of billions of dollars to fixing the infrastructure of the United States during a “Hard Hats for Hillary’’ campaign stop on Sunday afternoon at Boston’s Faneuil Hall.
Several union leaders endorsed Clinton, drawing much applause. But those cheers were nothing compared to the noise that erupted from the crowd when Mayor Marty Walsh walked on stage, closely followed by Clinton. The candidate beamed and shook hands with a number of supporters behind the podium, some of whom wore shiny white hard hats or held “Hard Hats for Hillary’’ signs.
Walsh took the podium and officially endorsed Clinton’s candidacy. He said that her record on human rights around the world, her emphasis for equal rights for women, and her extensive experience in politics make her the best candidate for president.
“We need someone who’s battle-tested,’’ Walsh said. “Someone who fights hard and is also smart. Someone who makes everyone around them better. A champion who just doesn’t talk the talk but backs it up with actions and gets the job done. There’s only one person running for president that fits that description, and she’s standing right behind me.’’
As the crowd went nuts, Walsh said it’s time to elect a woman as president of the United States.
“Get your sledge hammers ready, because we’ve got a glass ceiling to demolish!’’ he shouted into the microphone, before turning the stage over to Clinton.
She started off by playing to her audience.
“Oh my goodness, the mayor just told me that Michael Dukakis, Governor Dukakis is here. This afternoon just gets better and better,’’ she said, after Walsh leaned in to whisper something to her. She also mentioned her friendship with the late mayor Tom Menino.
Clinton then devoted the rest of her speech to her extensive plan to invest $250 billion into the nation’s infrastructure—which she said is in severe need of repair—from the electric grid, to airports, roads, bridges, and railways. She spoke about the huge snowstorms that hit Boston last year and crippled the MBTA, saying that public transit is vital to a city and its people.
But Clinton said that $250 billion would just be a down payment, and that she wants to put an additional $25 billion into a national infrastructure bank that would leverage hundreds of billions of private and public funds toward projects across the country. Her campaign’s website says that Clinton will drive investment by calling for reforms that close corporate tax loopholes.
Clinton also said that she wants all American households to have access to high-speed internet by 2020, and that it’s unacceptable that 35 percent of schools in the U.S. don’t have fiber optic connections.
To great applause, Clinton thanked the trade unions that she said never stopped investing in their workforces, even in the middle of the recent recession, and voiced her support for them and their extensive training programs required for often-dangerous jobs.
“I’m not going to let anybody undermine collective bargaining rights,’’ she said, cheers drowning out her next words about the importance of healthy minimum wages.
Clinton ended her speech by talking about her parents’ humble beginnings, and how hard work allowed them to have a comfortable, middle-class life. She also spoke about her granddaughter, saying that although the Clinton family will undoubtedly provide her with a great life, it’s a life that should be available to everyone.
“You shouldn’t have to be the granddaughter of a former president to have opportunities that America can offer,’’ Clinton said. “You should be able to be the granddaughter of a factory worker.’’