BOULDER, Colo. -- Nestled under the picturesque Rocky Mountains, where the political landscape is much less diverse than the ever-changing fall leaves, a stampede of more than 9,000 people converged on Boulder's University of Colorado campus Saturday.
“I think Boulder is a spark plug of a town,” said Lee Nemerowicz, a small business owner who lives in Boulder.
“This is like, amazing to see,” said Molly Cooper, who drove eight hours from southwest Colorado for Saturday’s rally.
The crowd, filled with students and young voters, chanted and cheered as Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders made an appearance on stage.
“It's families, it's working people and it's retirees. Its everybody. It is what America is,” Nemerowicz said of the crowd.
“I'm doing this for my kids because I believe 100 percent in Bernie as president,” Cooper said.
Many said Boulder was the perfect place for the self-described socialist to speak.
“Boulder is innovating and I think its a place that a candidate like Bernie Sanders, who is innovative, wants to connect to,” Nemerowicz said.
Sanders, a senator from Vermont, addressed the young crowd, discussing issues including income and wealth inequality and the disappearing middle class, campaign finance reform, legislation targeting high prescription drug costs, criminal justice reform, and his college affordability plan.
“You're looking at the only nonbillionaire major candidate for president who does not have a super PAC,” Sanders said.
“We have seen this movie before. We have seen politicians plays whites off against blacks. We have seen politicians play men off of women, straight against gays and now their theme is those of us born in this country opposed to those born in another country. And we have got news for them, we are not going to accept that,” he said.
Clearly, it's a crowd he'd already won over.
Sanders isn’t the last presidential hopeful Boulder will see this year. At the end of the month, Republican presidential hopefuls will be on the CU Campus for a debate.
The campus has been working to bring more political diversity in recent years.