Presidential candidate Marco Rubio makes campaign stop in GR

Florida senator spoke about unifying Republican party

By Maddie Forshee | 2/25/16 12:01am

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GVL / Kevin Sielaff - Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio draws a crowd at 4975 Broadmoor Avenue SE in Grand Rapids Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016 as he rallies for Michigan’s vote in the upcoming primaries.

by Kevin Sielaff / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio visited Lacks Enterprises in Kentwood, Michigan to rally local support for his campaign on Tuesday. Rubio is one of five remaining candidates in the Republican party alongside Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Ben Carson.

Rubio came to Michigan after coming in a far second place to Trump in the South Carolina primary, but edged out Cruz and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who promptly dropped out of the race.

On Monday, following Bush’s announcement that he was dropping out of the race, Rubio picked up endorsements from major Republicans, including one-time candidate Bob Dole. It seems that the Republicans are putting their support being Rubio in lieu of Bush.

Tuesday also held the Nevada caucus, and throughout the day, polls were predicting a win for Trump followed by a neck-and-neck race between Rubio and Cruz but favorable for Rubio. In the end, Trump won the Nevada caucus with 45.91 percent with Rubio falling in a far second with 23.85 percent.

Rubio was greeted by chants from the crowd of over 1,000 supporters. “Here we go, Marco, here we go!” and “Marco! Rubio!” echoed through the rafters of the Lacks Enterprises warehouse.

The lack of wifi and heating didn’t keep supporters from pouring in and showing their support for Rubio. After a rousing intro by Congressman Bill Huizenga, Rubio took the stage to more chants.

Beginning his speech, Rubio had a few choice words about Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.

“Bernie Sanders is a socialist,” he said. “If you want to live in a socialist country, you should move to a socialist country.”

Rubio also took a shot at Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

“She’s under FBI investigation, but no one is above the law,” he said. “Hillary Clinton is not above the law.”

Rubio’s main focus was fixing and rebuilding the country if he were to become president. His main focus is relieving students and elderly debt, and he expressed his frustration with the current loan system and the Federal Reserve.

"You have a right to be angry and frustrated," Rubio said. "Anger and frustration can serve to motivate. (It) will not solve our problems by themselves. We can't just elect someone who's angry, we have to elect someone who will make a difference."

Rubio said that he wants to work on unifying Republicans rather than separating them.

"I will unify this party," he said. "We cannot win if we're divided against each other."

Rubio emphasized this when he said that he's campaigning for everyone, even Ohio State University fans. The anecdote was met with boos from the crowd.

Rubio prides himself on being "constitutional." When he becomes president, he said, he will repeal each of Obama's "unconstitutional" executive orders, but plans on adding a few amendments. He wants to impose term limits on Congress and members of the judicial branch, as well as add a balanced budget amendment.

Rubio said that he vehemently believes in free enterprise economics over socialism or a corporate structure.

"Economic growth is the only cure for poverty," he said. "Free enterprise is the only system that can make poor people richer and you don't have to make rich people poorer."

Rubio touched on his national security policies, saying that if he were to become president, the country would see a "Reagan-style" rebuilding of the U.S. military, saying that the current war on terror is "fake."

"We'll have a real war on terror," he said. "To have peace, you must defeat the enemies of peace.

"If we do what needs to be done, our greatest days lie ahead. We have a lot of work to be done, and I can't wait to do it."

As a final plea to potential voters, Rubio talked about his motivation for his candidacy — his parents. He cited their hard work, their immigration from Cuba to the U.S. and everything that they provided for him as his drive to make the country a better place.

"I want it to remain an exceptional country," Rubio said. "I want it to be the one place on Earth that anything is possible. If you elect me, I will work all day on behalf of everyone. We are going to confront our problems. America is not a government, America is a people."

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