Joe Biden returns to the Electric City for CNN Townhall

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Photo credit/ Courtesy of Lexi Palys/Marywood SGA

Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden at PNC Field during CNN’s first ever drive-in town hall.

Ellen Frantz and Cheyenne Amick

Scranton native and Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania on Thursday to take part in a CNN town hall meeting hosted by Anderson Cooper.

The event took place at PNC Field in Moosic, where a stage was set up facing the parking lot so that spectators could sit in their cars and tune in to a designated radio station to listen to the former Vice President speak while remaining socially distant.

Biden, who lived in Scranton from the time he was born until he was 10 years old, answered questions from Northeastern PA natives ranging from business owners to a police chief, about the coronavirus, the stock market and the recent protests throughout the country.

Hours prior to the event, supporters of both Biden and President Donald Trump lined the road in hope of catching a glimpse of Biden’s motorcade.

Sharon Neumane was one of the Biden supporters lined up on the side of the street outside of the field. She has been a fan of Biden since 2008 and even had the chance to meet him at a campaign event for Hilary Clinton. She said Biden gave her a hug after sharing that she had also lost a son.

“He’s a good guy,” said Neumane. “He’s extremely knowledgeable about how the government should actually work.”

One hot topic that the crowd outside of PNC Field wanted to hear discussed was how Biden would handle the coronavirus pandemic if elected to office.

“The first thing we have to do is get this [pandemic] under control,” said Neumane. “This thing is not going to stop itself. Two hundred thousand people dead and the Republicans still think it’s a hoax and that’s because of Donald Trump.”

Janet Shaw, a Marywood alum, said she agrees that COVID-19 is the number one issue tearing the country apart.

“[I want him to talk about] the divisions in the country,” explained Shaw. “I was born and raised here and I never experienced anything like the ill-will we saw [tonight].”

Not everyone at Thursday’s event was a fan of Biden. Connie Cramer said she doesn’t want to think about the possibility of Biden being in the Oval Office.

“I don’t feel any sentiment toward him. To me, he means nothing,” said Cramer.

Karen Wademan, a Trump supporter, said she does not consider Biden as someone who grew up in Scranton and believes that Biden is unfit to serve as president.

“The American people try to ask him a question and he needs to wait for someone else to put the answer up on a teleprompter,” explained Wademan. “He’s not a good representation of our country. He does not care about us. He would not be a good leader at all.”

Austen Miller, a sophomore pre-law history major and Marywood’s Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President, was inside the event Thursday along with two other SGA members.

Miller was set to ask Biden a question, but was ultimately cut due to time constraints.

“Somebody I know who works a little bit in politics sent me a link for the application that CNN sent out for people to apply to ask a question,” said Miller. “It [the application] had me fill out where I was from, just general information about myself, and a couple of questions I would be interested in asking. Then the night before, Wednesday night, they called me at like 10 p.m. at night asking if I would like to ask one of them. So of course I said yes.”

Miller said it was disappointing he didn’t get to ask his question but that he enjoyed the experience.

Had he gotten the chance, Miller said he would have asked about former Democrats in rural Pennsylvania who have become disenfranchised with the Democratic Party.

“I think I would have wanted him to talk about his tax plan for small businesses, jobs. I left it open and generalized so he could go off in any direction that he wanted to with that,” explained Miller.

Miller and the other two members of SGA did get to have a small conversation with the former Vice President during one of the commercial breaks during the event.

“We just said hi to him and asked how’s it going. We said we were from Marywood and he laughed because he grew up a block down the hill. He [said] how he went to kindergarten [at Marywood]. It was a fun moment,” said Miller.

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