Students gather around Paul Sasso’s Tesla, which is decorated to support Bernie Sanders for the 2016 election. Courtesy of Paul Sasso.
Renowned Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, advocate Paul Sasso visited campus Sunday morning as part of his national tour with his tricked out Model S Tesla, known as the “Bern Machine”. An entirely electric vehicle, the sleek, bright blue car stood out amongst the red bricks of Montevallo. Bumper to bumper, the car is covered in Sanders-supporting designs.
“This is definitely a highlight of the trip, with so many people here on such short notice and a sign ready,” Sasso said.
The visit was set up by Daniel Deriso, a senior double political science and French major and president of Montevallo Students for Bernie Sanders. Deriso was able to get in contact with Sasso through Alabama for Bernie Sanders, and they arranged the photo shoot.
Approximately 20 students attended the event. Several that attended had not known about the event beforehand, but came to investigate the small crowd that gathered awaiting Sasso’s arrival. “I was on my way to the caf to get breakfast, and someone stopped me,” said Jeffrey Newman, transfer freshman psychology major.
Attendee Savannah Thompson, junior social sciences major and member of the Montevallo Sanders advocacy group, shared information about the event the night before. “The car was unbelievable,” Thompson said, “Paul said he gets about 200 miles from every charge and hasn’t spent any money driving in the past month he’s been traveling”.
Reasons for supporting Sanders varied among the attendees. Sasso and Deriso summed up the most popular ones as “A living wage, a progressive tax code, free public college, healthcare, reining in Wall Street and real addressment of environment and global warming issues.”
“He’s on top of real issues and has been for years, while Republicans are talking about fake issues and solutions,” Sasso said.
The next Montevallo Students for Bernie Sanders event will be a voter registration table on Oct. 13 outside the caf. “College-aged adults are the largest voting block, but 80% didn’t vote last year,” said Deriso, “and that’s a real problem.”
The group will also be hosting a party at Eclipse for the first democratic debate that evening.