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Cher, Rep. Susie Lee host early voting rally in southwest Las Vegas

Cher and Congresswoman Susie Lee rallied an audience of about 100 people Saturday night in southwest Las Vegas to ensure everyone has a plan to vote in the general election.

In the first of two voter mobilization events sponsored by the Biden Harris campaign this weekend hosted by the singer and actress Cher and Lee rallied at The Gramercy Residences in southwest Las Vegas to promote why they’re voting for Joe Biden. On Sunday, Cher is expected to host a Pride Walk to the Polls at 10 a.m. at an as-yet unannounced Las Vegas location.

While rallygoers found their seats Saturday, Lee told the Review-Journal that judging by early voter turnout, residents are excited to vote after witnessing President Donald Trump’s decisions the past four years.

“People are fired up and ready for change,” she said. “We live in a community who has seen this failed leadership in action.”

Lee said the nation’s next president is tasked with ending the pandemic.

“We need someone who recognizes the science,” she said. “We’re not going to get out of this devastation until we beat this virus.”

Lee told the crowd that she understood their excitement was because most local residents haven’t heard live entertainment in months because of COVID-19, and that she was working in Congress to put together another relief package.

The coronavirus pandemic struck Las Vegas “harder than anywhere in this country,” she said, noting the virus’ effect on the the city’s economy. “And it didn’t have to be that way if we had a leader that recognized the science. If we had a leader that took steps and just wore a damn mask. I am a one-issue congresswoman right now and that is getting another package and getting aid into the hands of American people.

“Nevada will come back better and stronger than before. We always have and we always will.”

Cher sang “Walking in Memphis” live before a seven-minute speech on her fears if Trump were elected for another four years and the things she’s spoken to Biden about fixing. Cher said she’s known Biden since 2006 and knows him to be honest.

“You cannot build anything unless you build it on the truth. That’s one of Joe’s great attributes is he is honest. He is truthful. He knows whats he’s doing and he’s smart,” she said. “If you don’t vote you’ll have nothing. If (Trump) gets another four years in office, we will have nothing.”

Cher told stories about her family’s history in poverty, including how embarrassed she was when she had to rubber band the soles of her shoes so she could walk to school. She said she remembers when she was 10 and learned women were introduced by the name’s of their husbands and she doesn’t want to reverse women’s progress.

She praised Biden’s goals if elected. “He’s got this idea to make jobs where there were no jobs before and they’re good jobs and they pay well,” Cher said. “I want people to have better. I want them to feel good about themselves and have a good living.”

In response to the rally, the local campaign for President Donald Trump issued a statement criticizing Biden.

“Joe Biden would turn back time to the days of record unemployment and home foreclosures. Nevadans can feel something inside them say they really don’t think Joe Biden is strong enough, and come November 3, the Silver State will re-elect President Trump,” according to the statement from Keith Schipper, spokesman for Trump Victory.

‘Most important election’

Rallygoers were fired up by the event. Dave Bye, for one, said this was his first political rally in nearly 30 years, since a Bill Clinton event in the early 90s.

“This is probably the most important election in my lifetime and I feel really strongly about the outcome,” the 61-year-old Las Vegan said.

“The camaraderie here with other Biden supporters is nice,” he said.

Bye said he voted early and in-person to avoid “any shenanigans,” and appreciated that voting opportunities are widely available in Las Vegas.

Pattie Mercadante, 67, said that she’s already received confirmation her mail-in ballot was received but that she couldn’t miss out on a chance at a free Cher concert. “How could I not be here? It’s Cher after all!” she said before the rally.

Laura Esparza, 52, and her daughter, Victoria Wright, 21, of Henderson, said they appreciated the social distancing and free masks at the rally. This is Wright’s first presidential election and the two have been very involved in campaigning locally.

“If it takes five minutes to vote, it’s five minutes well-spent,” Esparza said.

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Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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