Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton touched down in Edgartown Saturday night as part of a weekend fundraising swing that included stops on Nantucket and Cape Cod and added millions of dollars to her campaign coffers.
“We need more love and kindness in America,” Ms. Clinton said at a campaign fundraiser hosted by Carol and Frank Biondi. “I really believe we need to do more to see each other, and to respect each other. We’ve got to start not just unifying this country, but healing it.”
Ms. Clinton’s words were met with applause and enthusiastic shouts from more than 100 supporters who ponied up between $1,000 and $27,000 to attend the gathering.
The event took place under a billowing white tent overlooking Katama Bay and Chappaquiddick. It was the 10th fundraising event that the Biondis have hosted for the Clintons over the years. Mr. Biondi is the former president and chief executive officer of Viacom and is senior managing director of WaterView Advisors LLC, a private equity fund specializing in media. Not far away, the man she would replace, President Barack Obama, was dining out with Michelle Obama at Chesca’s in Edgartown.
Following a brief reception, members of the host committee, which included seasonal Island residents Bonnie and Merle Berger, Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Jill and Ken Iscol, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Barbara Lee, Nancy and Chuck Parrish, Linda Whitlock, and Marc Cumsky, welcomed Ms. Clinton to a small platform, where she passionately described her vision for the future of the country.
Ms. Clinton said that she is committed to addressing an array of important issues at the national level, that include but certainly are not limited to securing equal wages, advancing manufacturing to be competitive in global markets, expanding broadband access across the country so that everyone has access to high-speed Internet, and creating resources and services to provide for those who struggle with mental health and addiction.
She said she also intends to improve national infrastructure, which she noted will supply a multitude of jobs. Specifically, she mentioned the current drought in Massachusetts, and how environmental factors make infrastructure renovation all the more pertinent, as we currently lose about 40 percent of our nation’s water to leaking pipes.
Ms. Clinton noted that utilizing today’s technology to harness clean, renewable energy is an important aspect of rebuilding America. Pausing, she smiled and said, “This is the kind of thing you can say at a Vineyard event.”
Her pointed reference to the Island drew a positive reaction from the crowd.
Ms. Clinton emphasized that the national economy would remain at the forefront of her efforts. “The economy needs to work for all of us,” she said. “This is imperative for both the economy and democracy.”
Ms. Clinton reiterated that it is her intention to fulfill President Obama’s plan to make community college tuition-free and to diminish student debt in order to make college education a more attainable goal for everyone, as well as lessen the financial burden that the majority of college graduates and their families face post-graduation.
Continuing in that theme, Ms. Clinton expressed a commitment to creating and reinvigorating vocational and apprenticeship programs across the country. She said the demise of these programs has left a lot of people behind, hindering the education system and those coming through it.
With respect to the campaign for president, she joked, “I know that politics is a contact sport.”
She added, “I’ve been really gratified to get so much support from Republicans. I know finding common ground is hard, but I know it can be done because that is what I have done, and that is what I will continue to do.”
Ms. Clinton also touched on the issue of gun rights. She said that while she will vigilantly monitor the threat of external terror, current gun laws must be changed in order to combat internal terror. She noted that 33,000 deaths occur in America each year due to gun violence.
She called for stricter gun regulations. “I am not going to rest until we take on and beat the gun lobby,” she said.
She also said there is a need for improved police training in order to “rebuild trust between the police and the people they serve.”
As the sun lowered in the sky behind her, Hillary Clinton concluded her remarks: “We are going to win this election, and then we are going to develop the country that our kids and grandkids deserve to inherit.”
With the formal remarks at an end, Ms. Clinton took time to meet and take photos with her guests before departing for the night.