Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visits Tampa for first time since 2008

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a rally at the Ritz in Ybor City Thursday. Hundreds of people filled the main room and hundreds more were in an overflow room to hear the former US senator and first lady speak.

After brief introductions by US Representative Kathy Castor, D-Fla., and Hillsborough Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez, Clinton emerged from the crowd with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Rep. Kathy Castor speaks at Clinton rally
Rep. Kathy Castor speaks at Clinton rally

Clinton hasn’t visited Tampa since 2008. That visit came during her first run for the Democratic nomination for president. Speaking to the capacity crowd, Clinton touched on a number of subjects, including high speed rail. She took Governor Rick Scott to task for his high speed rail decision.

In 2011 Scott refused $2.4 billion in federal stimulus dollars for a proposed Tampa to Orlando high speed line.Several other Republican governors declined the money, as well. Clinton said she was “disappointed” when Scott turned down the money  and as president would “look for ways to build high speed rail.”

That’s just one topic she touched on. She also talked about affordable healthcare and going after pharmaceutical companies who price gauge. “We’re going to go after the predatory drug companies that are engaging in nothing but greed,” Clinton said.

Former Secetary of State Hillary Clinton and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn
Former Secetary of State Hillary Clinton and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn in Tampa.

She also talked about lowering tuition costs and making college more affordable.

Clinton also criticized Scott over climate change.

“I was told the governor sent out a directive to everyone who works in the state not to use the word climate change … Is that right? I mean you just have to shake your head at that,” Clinton said.

In 2015 it was widely reported that Florida officials were not allowed to use the term climate change. The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting talked with former Department of Environmental Protection workers and obtained records.

Clinton spoke for roughly 25 minutes and ended the rally with a challenge.

“Join with me in this primary campaign … Get everyone you know out to vote. Join with me, and I will fight for you every day through this campaign, and most of all if I’m so honored to be your president,” she said. “I will get up every day thinking how I can knock down those barriers.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, also campaigning for the Democratic nomination, is hosting a rally in Tampa Thursday night.

Florida’s primary is Tuesday, March 15.

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