Ahead of the March 15th Illinois Presidential Primaries, a grassroots candidate paid a visit to Chicago.

Vermont Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders made two campaign stops in Chicago Thursday evening, speaking at the University of Chicago and Chicago State University.

Sander’s speech at CSU focused on criminal justice and Wall Street reforms, income inequality, and even weighed in on the budget crisis facing state universities. Sanders questioned where education funding ranked among legislators in America.

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“I come here and I find out this great university is being threatened by cuts," Sanders said. "What is going on in America? Where are our priorities?"

On Friday, Chicago State University announced that all faculty, staff, and administrators received notices of potential layoffs if the state fails to fund public universities.

In a statement, CSU President Thomas Calhoun said “The actions taken today are necessary to fulfill our legal obligation and to make necessary reductions so that we can continue running the university in the absence of state funds.”

On Wednesday, Chicago Democratic Representative Ken Dunkin introduced legislation that would send $160 million to struggling state universities like Chicago State and an additional $40 million to community colleges.

In a statement, the Governor’s office told IRN, “Governor Rauner supports Representative Dunkin’s bipartisan legislation to provide emergency assistance to universities like Chicago State University.  If the General Assembly sends that bill to his desk, he will sign it.”

Meanwhile Sanders, a Wall Street critic, told the crowd of over 6,000 people at CSU the financial sector needs to help the middle class.

“Now it is Wall Street's turn, to help the middle class of this country,” Sanders said.

According to the Washington D.C. based Tax Foundation, Senator Sanders’s policies, if elected President, would collect over $13 trillion in new tax revenue, driven by taxes on income and payroll.

The Tax Foundation added, “Sanders plan would significantly increase marginal tax rates on capital and labor income, which would result in a substantial reduction of the size of the U.S. economy in the long run.”

Sanders picked up a key endorsement from Cook County Board Commissioner, Jesus “Chuy,” Garcia. Garcia spoke Thursday at CSU, calling Sander’s policies transformative.

“The issues that he’s championing, are going to be the issues that the final two contestants of the two major parties in this country will have to discuss and get specific on,” Garcia said.

In the latest Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Poll, Sanders trails Hillary Clinton in Illinois by 19 points.


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