Bernie Sanders visits St. Charles for fifth appearance in Missouri

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ST. CHARLES — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made his third appearance in Missouri in three days on Monday.

The Vermont senator visited the state five times ahead of the Tuesday primary, more than any other presidential candidate.  

His Monday rally took place at Family Arena in St. Charles, where people in attendance said they wanted him to discuss college tuition. Dallas Bange said he's planning on enrolling in college soon, so the cost of higher education impacts who he supports.

"The way that college funds have been inflating over the years is almost criminal," Bange said. "I think Sanders has the right ideas, and he's intelligent enough to get us those two free years of tuition."

Sanders addressed college tuition in his speech, saying countries like Germany implement a plan similar to his with success.

"We've got to make colleges and universities tuition-free," Sanders said. "It's not a radical idea. They do it elsewhere."

Others in attendance said they wanted to hear the senator touch on racial tensions during his speech. Jamila Jackson helped organize the protest at Donald Trump's St. Louis visit, and she said she wants to hear more politicians address race.

"Everyone is dancing around the subject and Bernie is hitting it head on," Jackson said. "More candidates need to discuss it because the band-aid has been peeled off of society and they need to start addressing it."

Sanders addressed many topics during his speech, including the wealth distribution, voter turnout and the criminal justice system.

"We are spending $80 billion a year to lock up 2.2 million people," Sanders said. "We need to reform big time. We need to invest in our young people - in education and jobs, not in jails and incarceration."

Some recent visits from presidential candidates to the state included protests, like the one Jackson helped organize; however, the crowd outside Sanders' rally was peaceful. Supporters said they didn't expect any tension during the rally.

"In my experience, followers of Bernie Sanders don't separate people into classes of races, genders or things like that," supporter John Kuthe said. "It's a peaceful and cooperative group of people."

Sanders' speech was the last presidential candidate visit before Missouri's primary on Tuesday.

KOMU 8 News had a reporter at the rally throughout the day.

[Editor's note: this story has been updated to include quotes from Sanders and embedded reporter content from Twitter.]