Consumer advocate, Ralph Nader paid UC Merced a visit, Monday evening. Hundreds of students and people who live in Merced came to see him speak. Many hoped he'd bring some inspiration. Longtime Merced resident, Gary Walker said, “Back to the founding fathers, they wouldn't put up with a lot of this stuff we're putting up with today, so I'm expecting Ralph Nader to change the batteries a little bit.”
Nader began the evening by chatting with a number of students during a formal dinner. Right outside were Occupy UC Merced students hoping to grab his attention. Each were holding signs of their demands.
Aaron De La Carda with Occupy UC Merced listed their demands, “To support the millionaires tax, amend Proposition 13, and cancel student debt. The banks got a bail out so the nation should be willing to bail out it's future.”
Nader was quick to deliver. His topic of the night: Grassroots Activism in the 21st Century. He says in order for change to happen in schools, students need to take the initiative process. He says the first issue they should tackle is tuition hikes.
Ralph Nader The best approach is to freeze tuition and give people a chance for people to look at the California state budget and how under taxed the insurance companies are and gas companies are. It makes the whole system more equitable.
Nader also talked about a number of issues including, gas prices, the government and foreclosures. He says the solutions to the problems are not going to be easy. He says the first step is to speak out and take action.
“Get the country to take control and take the country from these giant corporations. They're everywhere and expect to be bailed out when they crashed the economy and unemployed people. They have too much influence in Sacramento and Washington.”
We asked Ralph Nader who he'd likely vote for during the presidential election. He didn't have a clear answer, knocking down both President Obama and the Republican candidates. We also asked if he'd ever try to run for president again. He was quick to say "no."
The Democrats of UC Merced invited Nader to speak in the North Valley. They hoped he'd help reach out and raise the level of registered voters in the valley.