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Former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown Stumps With Bill Clinton In Jacksonville

Ryan Benk

Jacksonville Democrats came out in force Monday to catch a glimpse of former President Bill Clinton and rally behind his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown introduced the 42nd president. The conservative Democratic mayor urged voters to choose Clinton over her primary opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“She spent her whole life breaking down barriers. We have someone who’s laid out a clear vision for America to really make sure that no matter where you live, what ZIP code you’re from in this country, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make it and reach your God-given potential,” he said.

The Jacksonville stop was part of a final, whirlwind tour by the former president, who’s trying to ensure a high voter turnout among African-Americans, a voting bloc his wife carries well.

In the most recent polls, Clinton is leading Sanders for the Democratic nomination in Florida by double digits.

Among other policy points, Clinton highlighted what he calls his wife’s commitment to criminal-justice reform.

“Let me say, she thinks we ought to have prison reform. She thinks there are too many young people in prison who should be let out,” he said.

The president said if elected, Hillary Clinton would work to release non-violent offenders and funnel resources into inmate re-entry programs.

But Hillary Clinton’s enthusiastic support for her husband’s 1994 crime bill has drawn attacks from her Democratic challenger, Sanders. He says that law built upon the Reagan administration’s tough-on-crime stance and drug-war policies that directly led to ballooning prison populations.

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.