By Justin Wier
There were no balloons or confetti in the East High School gymnasium on Saturday, but Hillary Clinton’s speech bore many similarities to the one she gave when accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for president two days earlier in Philadelphia.
She pledged to fight for unions and against unfair trade deals, and she also touted the rescue of the auto industry, which she attributed to Democrats — sentiments that were greeted with loud applause.
Clinton said she wanted to come to Ohio and Pennsylvania because these are states where people still make things. She criticized Donald Trump for manufacturing goods overseas while admonishing others for doing the same. She said her dedication to working class families comes from her father, who ran a small textile company in Chicago.
“I know how hard he worked, and I know how many opportunities that hard work gave my family,” Clinton said. “This is not just a campaign talking point; this is personal.”
Clinton said she will launch the biggest job creation program since World War II and support training programs and union apprenticeships to get more people into skilled trades. She would pay for it by taxing high-earners and corporations.
“We don’t resent success in America, but that’s where the money is,” Clinton said. “[They] need to pay for the benefits they have received from living in the greatest country in the world.”
Clinton told supporters that an economist who advised Sen. John McCain released a report saying her plans will create 10 million new jobs by 2020, while Trump’s plans will cost the country 3.5 million jobs.
“This is not me saying it,” Clinton said. “It’s not even a Democrat saying it.”
While Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics who wrote the report, advised McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, he is a registered Democrat.
Clinton alluded to reports that many Mahoning County Democrats changed their party affiliation to vote for Donald Trump in the primary, and asked supporters to talk to their friends and neighbors.
“Ask them to look at the stories coming out everyday about people who were stiffed and mistreated [by Trump],” Clinton said. “They don’t want America to be treated by Donald Trump the way they were treated by Donald Trump.”
Prior to Clinton’s arrival, a man in the audience garnered applause by holding up a poster that read “Republican for Hillary.”
Clinton, her Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine and their spouses — including former President Bill Clinton — arrived more than two hours after the event’s scheduled start time. They addressed supporters who had been crowded in the gymnasium for more than five hours. Several people attending the event with children began filtering out during Clinton’s speech.
Greta Frost, a political science major at Youngstown State University, helped organize volunteers for the event. She’s looked up to Clinton for a long time, she said, and wanted to be involved. She recruited several of her fellow students.
“We volunteered and got to see how it worked,” Frost said. “And it was pretty interesting.”
She said it was important that the speeches focused on the labor-related issues that resonate with local voters, but she was surprised by the amount of time the speakers spent going after Trump.
“I thought it was funny because I just think that they’re both so qualified that they don’t have to bash them,” Frost said. “They can just look good on their own.”
Kaine spent much of his speech attacking Trump, asking supporters if they wanted a “you’re fired” president or a “you’re hired” president.
He also acknowledged the historic implications of Clinton’s nomination and said that after 240 years, it’s time for a female president.
“I have always been able to be in leadership positions because of strong women who were willing to support me,” Kaine said. “I think it’s time for strong men to show that they can support strong women in leadership positions.”