PI Original Ellyn Fortino Monday March 14th, 2016, 1:49pm

Hillary Clinton Makes Election-Eve Push For Votes In Chicago

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign event held in Chicago Monday morning.

Hillary Clinton swung into her home state of Illinois Monday to make a pre-election day push for votes, holding a morning campaign event in Chicago at a union hall.

A peaceful crowd of a few hundred welcomed Clinton to the stage at the auditorium of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 UA with chants of "Hillary! Hillary!"

"Tomorrow is the big day my friends, and we are going to work until, literally, the polls close to try to persuade as many folks across Illinois to turn out and vote as we can," said Clinton, who was born in Chicago and grew up in the Illinois suburb of Park Ridge. 

"People need to vote as though their future was at stake, because it is at stake," she said. "I don't think the stakes have ever been higher, or the rhetoric on the other side ever been lower."

Recent polls show Clinton, former Secretary of State, and her Democratic primary rival U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a close race in Illinois. In addition to Illinois, voters will head to the polls Tuesday in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Missouri.

In a nearly 30-minute speech, attended by several prominent local Democrats, including Attorney General Lisa Madigan and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Clinton addressed economic and labor issues, vowing to "fight for American labor" and help "knock down all the economic barriers that stand in the way of every person getting ahead and staying ahead."

Clinton spoke to the importance of investing in education, infrastructure and advanced manufacturing. She also stated her support for changing "the incentives in our tax code to recruit jobs here" and "penalize those companies that are shipping jobs" out of America.

The former Secretary of State used her speech to draw attention to the planned offshoring of some 600 jobs at the Chicago Nabisco bakery on the city's Southwest Side.

"What Nabisco is doing right now, they had a predecessor company that got all of the benefits to build up their company here, now they're taking 600 jobs away," Clinton said. "We're going to make companies like that pay an exit fee" that would be invested in "communities that they are leaving behind."

Clinton suggested that electing a Republican to the White House could set the country back economically. 

"We've had two Democratic presidents in the last 35 years, and you know what the facts show? The facts show our economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House. We saw that when my husband was president," Clinton told the crowd, adding that "we also know what also happens when we turn the economy back to the Republicans."

Under former President George W. Bush, "You saw what happened," she said. "The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression."

She described this year's Republican presidential candidates as "George W. Bush on steroids," claiming that "their economic plans, each and every one of them, would throw us back into the mess that President Obama was able to take us out of."

Clinton also took swipes at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, saying that "people running for president ought to unite our country, not divide out country."

Clinton argued she is best suited to compete with Trump, should they each make it to the general election.

She said she's "prepared to take on the not only wrongheaded statements, but the dangerous ones that he has put out that will hurt our country around the world. Because I was secretary of state, I know what's at stake for American leadership around the world."

Clinton urged supporters to help her get out the vote, stressing the importance of coming out of Tuesday's elections "with the wind at our backs" and having "the way forward to be able to start talking about, not only unifying the Democratic Party, but unifying our country."

Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery was among those who attended Clinton's event.

"When she says, 'look, I'm gonna be the best friend that public employees ever had, labor's ever had, tradespeople, teachers ever had' -- that's a really powerful message," Montgomery told Progress Illinois. "And I think that message is carrying. I think we're all a little stunned to see what's happening on the Republican side. And the more that goes through, I think the more people realize we have got to have Hillary Clinton be the next president of the United States."

Latonya Brown traveled from Naperville to hear Clinton speak today.

"I support her for many reasons," Brown, 47, told Progress Illinois. "One, of course, of being the first, hopefully, female president. Two, because of her history and the time she spent in politics, and how she's been so proactive for everyone -- not just one particular culture. And that's very important to me. Number three, I like the mere fact that she's been in politics ... She'll go in and know how things actually work, and it won't be an issue of learning on the job."

Chicago resident Brandon Bartels, 25, said he supports Clinton, in part, for her record on human rights issues as well as her "record of support for the Latino community, the black community -- everyone."

He said the atmosphere at Clinton's campaign events sharply contrasts with what has been seen at Trump's rallies. Trump supporters and demonstrators have been clashing at his campaign events, including at his Friday rally in Chicago, which was ultimately canceled for "safety" reasons.

"Everyone is happy here," Bartels said while waiting in line for Clinton's event at the union hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd. "It's an obvious contrast when someone has a positive message."

Clinton heads to Springfield later Monday for a town hall hosted by MSNBC.

Other presidents candidates are in Illinois Monday for campaign events.

Sanders (I-VT) is slated to hold a rally this evening at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

On the Republican side, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) plans to hold multiple events around the state in Rockford, Glen Ellyn, Peoria, Decatur and Springfield.

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