Clinton and Kaine rally in Cleveland on Labor Day

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The Kent Stater Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses the crowd at the 11th Congressional District Labor Day festival at Luke Easter Park in Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016.

Alex Delaney-Gesing

With Labor Day marking the beginning of this election season’s final two-month stretch, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (VA), campaign in the battleground state of Ohio.

Clinton’s 7-point lead in the polls following the Democratic National Convention has since narrowed to 2-points, according to a Morning Consult poll released Sunday.

She currently is ahead of Trump with 42 percent of likely voters compared to his 40 percent.

Clinton’s Monday appearance echoed the theme of her previous visits to Northeast Ohio over the summer, where she detailed her economic plans for the nation’s working class.

On Labor Day, she and Kaine spoke at the corner of East 99th Street and Ramona Boulevard in Cleveland’s Luke Easter Park following the 45th annual 11th Congressional District Community Caucus Labor Day parade and festival.

Prior to the rally, the parade kicked off at the corner of East 146th Street and Kinsman Avenue.

The festival featured bouncy houses, food vendors, a plethora of political organization tents set up for thousands of attendees to peruse.

The rally area, set up at the edge of the festival on the grassy field, housed a few hundred people who staked their spots out hours before Clinton took the stage.

Blue shirts and hats scattered throughout the crowd of waiting attendees. “Stronger together” and “I’m with her” slogans stood out against the patriotic red and white outfits worn in honor of the holiday.

Clinton signs waved in the humidity-laden air as the crowd waited for the Democratic nominee’s arrival.

Cleveland residents Karen Lugo and Jossie Lozada stood at the edge of the fence closest to the podium prior to the rally’s kickoff. Lugo said she wanted to fulfill a longtime goal of hers to take a photo with Clinton.

On both of their minds were the topics of Republicans and taxes — two things they hope to avoid by electing Clinton.

“Taxes are where we always get in trouble with the economy when Republicans come in.The middle class are the ones being affected,” Lozada said. “If they cut the taxes for themselves instead of us, the middle class, we’re not going to be able to survive and the economy isn’t going to be able to get going.”

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson kicked off the event, followed by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who is running for U.S .Senate.

“If you want someone who will go to Washington and stand beside Sen. Sherrod Brown, I’m with you guys,” he told the crowd.

Brown, who voiced his support for Strickland and Clinton, took the stage after Strickland.

“Your vote in Cleveland, Ohio, matters in the most important way,” he said. “Make sure they vote for Hillary Clinton. Make sure they vote for Tim Kaine. Deliver us a winner this year.”

Kaine introduced Clinton to the stage after sharing their goals during the homestretch of the campaign trail.

“We are focusing on reiterating the point that Hillary is for the everyday people. Trump is not,” he said. “It’s about teamwork. It’s about working together … shared prosperity, the value of hard work, and the fact that we can do more and are stronger together.”

Kaine praised President Barack Obama’s efforts in bringing the nation out of the worst recession since the ‘30s, creating 15 million new jobs in the process and cutting the unemployment rate in half.

“We had to do that without one party in Congress lifting a finger to help us,” he said.

Clinton has advocated raising taxes among the wealthy and increasing the federal minimum wage throughout her campaign. Her Republican rival has proposed tax cuts for the wealthy.

An analysis conducted by Moody’s Analytics, an independent research group, has estimated that Clinton’s economic proposals would create 10.4 million jobs during her four-year presidency.

A similar examination was done on Trump’s economic proposals, where it found that the unemployment rate would rise to 7 percent, resulting in 3.5 million Americans losing their jobs.

Clinton’s economic focus follows last week’s release of job growth in August by the U.S. Department of Labor. While the economy added 151,000 jobs, the number fell short of the 275,000 job added in the month prior.

“Too many people don’t see that they have a ladder they can climb to success,” Kaine said. “What we’ve got to do is work together with Congress to try to put some important new policies in place and try to see that ladder.”

Rally attendee Rubin Moultrie, a resident of University Heights, said that he felt the issue of jobs in the local and national economy should be the highest priority Clinton can address.

“In Cleveland and everywhere else around the country, you have factories closing down and people not working,” he said. “In order for people to make a living, they’ve got to start working. And we don’t have that right now.”

Clinton took over the podium with an opening statement that emphasized Ohio’s importance in the election.

“It’s not just like Ohio is one of those battleground states you hear every four years,” she said. “It’s that Ohio represents everything that’s great about America and all of the challenges and opportunities that we face.

With a large number of auto workers in the crowd, Clinton mentioned the Democratic efforts made to save the industry, and the negligence of the Republicans in seeing its importance.

“When millions of jobs were on the line in the auto industry, President Obama made the right decision to save the auto industry,” she said.

Trump, Clinton said, has claimed it didn’t matter whether the auto industry was saved.

“He said we could have just let it go. Nevermind the 850,000 people in Ohio and millions more across the country whose jobs and paychecks were tied to the auto industry,” she said.

Clinton reiterated her campaign’s slogan of being “stronger together” by “working together.”

She referenced labor unions as a prime example, with them being built “on the principle of solidarity.”

“They look out for each other. They fight for fair wages and collective bargaining, safe working conditions,” she said.

She continued on to point out Trump’s inability to maintain professionalism during last week’s trip to Mexico, calling it “an embarrassing national incident.”

Trump had gotten in a Twitter feud with the country’s president over payment for the wall he has proposed to have built on the Mexican-American border before delivering a speech that doubled down on his plans to send a deportation task force to round up and deport 16 million people.

“When you see what he has said and done with this campaign, that he can’t even go to a foreign country without getting in a feud with the president, I think the answer is clear,” Clinton said. “Donald Trump does not have the temperament to be our commander-in-chief.”

Clinton’s sentiments were echoed by the crowd. Cleveland resident Patrick Andrews said he thinks of Trump as a chameleon.

“He’s not genuine at all; he’s fake. He does whatever to get what he wants,” Andrews said. “Why do you want to cut taxes for the wealthy? Cut taxes for the poor. He’d be helping only the rich people.”

Clinton concluded her speech with a call-to-action for or supporters to help she and Kaine make it to the White House.

“We’re not running because it’s a nice thing to do after you have a reality t.v. show,” she said. “We’re running because, between Tim and I, we have a lot of years of experience, of public service. And we believe in what we can do together.”

Alex Delaney-Gesing is a senior reporter for KentWired, contact her at [email protected]