The presidential campaign season will kick off in Maine on July 6 with an appearance by Bernie Sanders, the independent U.S. senator from Vermont who is making a bid for the 2016 Democratic nomination.

Sanders is scheduled to appear at a town meeting-style event from 7 to 8 p.m. July 6 at Ocean Gateway off Commercial Street in Portland.

Sanders’ campaign website lists the topics to be discussed as how to “get big money out of politics, deal with obscene wealth and income inequality, combat climate change” and “make college education affordable.”

Sanders will be the first announced candidate for president in 2016 to campaign in Maine. A CNN/WMUR-TV poll released Thursday found that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led Sanders, 43 percent to 35 percent, among New Hampshire Democrats.

Maine Democratic Party officials will attend the Sanders event, as they will all Maine appearances by Democratic presidential contenders, said Rachel Irwin, spokeswoman for the party.

“We look forward to an open dialogue during the 2016 campaign about issues important to Mainers: good jobs, strong wages and education opportunities,” Irwin said Saturday.

Iowa voters will kick off the presidential nominating race, with caucuses scheduled for Feb. 1. New Hampshire’s primary is scheduled for Feb. 9, and Maine Democrats will caucus on Sunday, March 6.

An RSVP form is available at Sanders’ website.


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