Hillary Clinton fans pack the Ritz ahead of remarks on infrastructure, economy

A live band plays funk covers as the ballroom at the Ritz fills to at or near capacity hours ahead of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's scheduled stump speech, due at noon.

Occasionally the crowd breaks out into chanting "Hillary, Hillary, Hillary."

According to a campaign memo, Clinton is expected to discuss economic development, with investing in infrastructure as the centerpiece. The emphasis will likely be on elements of Tampa Bay's local infrastructure; investment in which could help break down economic barriers.

"As Floridians know, the country's crumbling infrastructure is one of those barriers. In her remarks today, Clinton will highlight projects in Florida that would benefit from additional investment, like Port Tampa Bay, which supports tens of thousands of local jobs. She will also highlight successful investments that have already been made, like the I-4/Selman [sic] Expressway Connector that ensures truckers have efficient and safe travel up the East Coast," read a statement from her campaign.

The crowd, which had been lined up since before doors opened at 10 a.m., was, relative to many GOP rallies, at least, diverse in age, ethnic background and by pretty much every other measure.

One attendee was Tampa home care worker Scharlingh Bolden, 50, a member of the Fight for $15 campaign, a union-backed effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. She said her campaign hasn't endorsed her or opponent Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Sen. yet. Both support raising the minimum wage.

But Bolden says she personally supports Clinton.

“I like that she's a female, number one, but she has familiarities with the government and politics, and she would be a good candidate for president,” she said.

Crowd estimates are well into the hundreds at this intimate venue.

Sanders is expected to draw thousands at an event at the Tampa fairgrounds Thursday evening.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.