Kevin Landrigan's Granite Status: Warren backs legalizing pot, returning to NH Friday
New Hampshire Union Leader
On the heels of her first visit to New Hampshire last weekend,�Elizabeth Warren�is bringing her 2020 Democratic exploratory committee back to the state for a forum in Claremont Friday night.
The Common Man Restaurant event starts at 6:30 p.m.
Some New Hampshire Democratic operatives have already jumped on the Warren campaign train led by�Gabrielle Farrell, who had been communications director for the New Hampshire Democratic Primary during the 2018 cycle.
Warren seems anxious to promote herself as one of the strongest defenders of Medicaid, highlighting it near the close of every address she�s made so far in Iowa and New Hampshire.
It�s a popular program among the liberal base that she�s currently trying to win over for 2020.
But it�s hardly an under-the-radar issue here. New Hampshire has been the scene of a four-year fight over how to expand Medicaid and then how to make that expansion permanent.
Last Saturday, Warren did touch on one issue that�s even more popular among a very devoted segment of that base � making recreational use of marijuana legal nationwide.
�We have a criminal justice system that tears apart communities of color and individuals. Can we just start with marijuana?� Warren said at the Manchester forum.
�Again the best studies suggest that African Americans and whites use marijuana at the same rates, but African Americans are twice as likely to be arrested for (it) than whites. How about we legalize marijuana and get rid of all those cases?�
“We have a criminal justice system that tears apart communities of color and individuals. Can we just start with marijuana?” Warren said at the Manchester forum. *****
Democratic presidential hopefuls are under pressure to embrace sweeping political reforms
New Hampshire Union Leader
Abolishing the Electoral College. Packing the courts. Ending the filibuster.
Democratic presidential candidates have in recent weeks increasingly called for radical changes to the country�s political process � ideas that would transform how the courts and Congress conduct business and even how the country elects its presidents.
It�s a new frontier in a primary that has already pushed the boundaries of what Democratic candidates traditionally support, and reflects a deeply felt conviction among liberal activists that big policy goals aren�t possible without fundamental changes to the political system.
�2016 knocked reality into a lot of folks,� said Ezra Levin, the co-executive director of the progressive grassroots group Indivisible. �They want to know what your big ideas are, but also how you�re going to get them done.�
In the early stages of a competitive 2020 race, these reforms are also turning into potentially pivotal wedge issues among candidates desperate to differentiate themselves from their rivals. The most contentious of the proposals � ending the Senate filibuster � has already been balked at by candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker, who have otherwise sought to present themselves as champions of sweeping change.
It took a potential candidate seen as a relative moderate, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, to unequivocally state his opposition to the filibuster, saying this week he backed eliminating the rule that required 60 votes to end debate on the Senate floor.
�I think it�s got to go,� he told NBC News. �I just believe that the nature of economic change and social change and the integration of the world economy demands a functioning Senate.�
For Inslee, it was an effective way to get noticed by the liberal grassroots.
�Jay Inslee, he�s been a good governor, he�s a good progressive, but he is another white male candidate at a time when the Democratic Party really is very interested in supporting a woman or person of color or woman of color for the nomination,� said David Nir, the political director of the progressive website Daily Kos.
�It seems like it would be otherwise quite difficult for someone like an Inslee to gain a lot of traction,� Nir added. �I don�t necessarily think he could win the Democratic nomination just by running on filibuster reform, but he has the potential to change the conversation here and stand out, absolutely, and I hope he does change the conversation.�
Many liberals see the filibuster as a serious impediment to enacting their priorities even if Democrats manage to take back the Senate � and some of the more loudly progressive candidates may face pressure to take a harder line against the procedural tactic.
�I�ve been disappointed to see so many Democratic senator candidates either resist the notion of majority rule in the Senate, or kind of play footsie with it,� Nir said. �I was really excited to see Jay Inslee ... come out very firmly in favor of eliminating the filibuster. He�s absolutely right and I hope he puts pressure on the rest of the field.�
Another lesser-known candidate, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has signaled an openness to increasing the number of Supreme Court justices and abolishing the Electoral College in favor of a system where a nationwide popular vote would elect presidents.
�The Electoral College needs to go because it�s made our society less and less democratic,� Buttigieg said during an interview on CBS News in January.
Candidates have made other proposals to alter the political process, including granting statehood to the District of Columbia, as Sanders said this week, or backing a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court�s Citizens United decision, which allowed individuals and corporations to spend unlimited sums of money on campaigns.
Even as some of these ideas electrify the activist base, some Democratic Senate veterans caution against overpromising while also noting that many of these issues aren�t clear-cut along partisan lines. The filibuster, for example, could also be used to stop problematic policies from the other side, these Democrats argue.
And making D.C. a state or abolishing the Electoral College would require a constitutional amendment, something highly unlikely to pass in the current hyperpolarized political climate.
�What we�re seeing right now is just a lot of big ideas,� said Rodell Mollineau, who worked for Democratic senators for more than a decade. �It�s great we�re debating these big ideas, but it�s also important for the Democratic candidates to have a plan, or to think of a plan, of how to implement and how these plans would work in reality.�
So far, many candidates have not yet adopted these types of sweeping changes, even as they embrace far-reaching policy proposals like the Green New Deal to combat climate change or single-payer health care.
But activists committed to these issues say they expect that to change over the course of a long campaign, especially when candidates are pressed to explain how they will implement their agenda without altering certain rules.
Two independent groups, for instance, have already begun pushing candidates to adopt an aggressive agenda to change how the Supreme Court operates.
Officials with the groups say without radical changes, the party puts its entire policy agenda at risk.
�We can�t just accept the status quo. We can�t just cling to romantic notions that the court will do the right thing in the end,� said Brian Fallon, the executive director of the liberal group Demand Justice. �If we�re putting the fate of the progressive agenda in John Roberts� hands, we�re in big trouble.�
People involved with the effort say that, in their view, Democrats for too long have failed to take an aggressive approach to the judicial system.
They want to change that now.
�For the last two decades they�ve brought soldiers while we were bringing lawyers. And soldiers beat lawyers,� said Sean McElwee, director of polling and social media for the group Pack the Courts. �And now we�re bringing our own soldiers and we�re approaching this the way the right has.�
Kathy Sullivan: Harris and Gillibrand impress on visits to New Hampshire
New Hampshire Union Leader
THE NEW HAMPSHIRE First in the Nation Presidential Primary may be 11 months away, but the number of visits by Democratic candidates exploded over the last three weeks.
Among our guests were Sens. Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, who both are excellent additions to the nominating contest. I could wholeheartedly support either one of them.
Harris is a graduate of Howard University and the Hastings School of Law at the University of California in Berkeley. With a Tamil Indian mother and Jamaican father, she attended both a Baptist church (where she sang in the choir) and a Hindu temple. After law school, she began a career as a prosecutor, serving in the Alameda County Attorney�s office, then was elected first as the San Francisco County Attorney, and then as the Attorney General for the State of California. In 2016, she was elected to the United States Senate.
I saw Harris at two events, a small, informal dinner and at an overflow Politics and Eggs breakfast at the Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. She is smart, knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor. She is not afraid to talk about, and take a position on, a wide range of issues, such as reforming the criminal justice system, climate change, tax policy, homeland security and economic opportunity.
One issue she touched on at Politics and Eggs was the need for infrastructure investment, noting that much of the country�s infrastructure is 150 years old. When asked how to pay for that, she stated that she was in favor of repealing the tax cuts given by Donald Trump to corporations and the top 1 percent of income earners.
Harris also noted that infrastructure needs to include clean water, which she predicts will be a growing problem.
Harris also focused on education, both on the imperative to support public schools and to provide the jobs for the future. During our dinner discussion, she pointed out that our schools are falling behind, while countries like China are moving ahead. Her positions were thoughtful and it was apparent that she believes that Donald Trump is failing this country so badly that today�s children will not have the same opportunities to succeed that we have had.
Gillibrand, the senator from New York, is confident, personable, bright and a prodigious note taker. During a meeting with several state Democrats, she asked about campaigning in New Hampshire, jotting down notes in a small notebook. She asked for examples of businesses and organizations that were New Hampshire success stories so that she could visit and learn from them.
Like Harris, Gillibrand is an attorney, attending the UCLA law school after graduating from Dartmouth. She was elected to Congress from a Republican, upstate New York district. During her second term, she was appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat held by Hilary Clinton, and has since been elected twice.
Gillibrand is a very accomplished legislator. A principled pragmatist, she does not shy away from working with Republicans when she can find bipartisan common ground. For example, she persuaded both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul to join her in sponsoring a bill to address sexual assault in the military.
I found her to be refreshingly candid. She spoke about how she has grown in her policy positions. One instance was immigration; she said that as an upstate congresswoman, she needed to be educated because she had not known enough about the issues. She now supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
I wish more elected officials were as open as Gillibrand.
I very much liked Sens. Gillibrand and Harris; they and the other candidates I have met so far are not making it easy to decide whom to support in 2020!
Warren has company on 2020 NH campaign trail
New Hampshire Union Leader
Democratic presidential contender and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrapped up a two-day campaign visit to New Hampshire Saturday just as two other prominent Democrats were returning to the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Warren attended a house party in Laconia, a forum at Plymouth State University and a meet-and-greet with young Democrats at Martha�s Exchange in Nashua on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar returns Sunday for her second visit since formally entering the 2020 primary race with house parties planned in Nashua and Concord.
California Congressman Eric Swalwell also returns for another two-day visit as part of his exploratory campaign. Swalwell will meet with Democratic activists at events in Concord, Bedford and Peterborough Sunday.
On Monday he speaks at the Politics and Eggs Forum at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and has other stops at the University of New Hampshire in Durham and Dover.
On Friday night, Warren stuck to her 2020 script, promoting herself as the champion of the working class when she gave the keynote speech at the New Hampshire Democratic Party�s biggest fund-raiser of the year.
The event, which drew nearly 1,000 supporters to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Manchester, was the largest party gathering since New Hampshire Democrats had staged their near sweep of major offices in last November�s midterm elections.
After her speech, Warren told reporters Native Americans should be �part of the conversation� about reparations as she expanded on supporting the notion that minority groups that faced discrimination should be financially compensated by the federal government.
�America has an ugly history of racism,� Warren said. �We need to confront it head-on. And we need to talk about the right way to address it and make change.�
Warren did not talk about reparations in her speech. Last week she said she supported the concept.
California Sen. Kamala Harris and ex-HUD Secretary Julian Castro have both said in general terms they support reparations for African-Americans. Warren is the first candidate to mention Native Americans.
As expected, the Republican National Committee in reacting to Warren�s speech focused on her signature controversy of identifying herself as a Native American on a registration card with the Texas Bar Association.
Warren has apologized to American Indian organizations pointing out that tribes get to decide who their members are and not the other way around.
�Elizabeth Warren is bringing her 2020 apology tour back to the Granite State, desperately hoping voters forget about the disastrous handling of her false heritage claims,� RNC spokesperson Mandi Merritt said.
�But when faced with a choice between Warren�s phony political mishaps or President Trump�s record of success, Granite Staters will choose President Trump�s continued progress every day of the week.�
At the NH Democratic event, Party Chairman Ray Buckley made sure to showcase the new Democratic majorities with speaking parts given to not only the four-person congressional delegation but new Senate President Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, House Speaker Steve Shurtleff, D-Concord, and Joyce Craig, the first female elected mayor of Manchester.
The dinner raised $400,000, which Buckley noted was $25,000 more than the Republican State Committee raised in all of 2017.
Asked by reporters if she would win the first-in-the-nation primary here a year from now, Warren answered, �I�m sure going to try.�
During Warren�s 35-minute speech, she promoted the universal child care proposal she unveiled a week ago. Warren would pay for the plan through her millionaires tax, a 2 percent levy reserved for those with a net worth of at least $50 million.
At the dinner Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, took an unusual shot at Gov. Chris Sununu, predicting he would lose reelection in 2020 and, in the �family tradition,� could go on to become the �very best corporate lobbyist he can be.�
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, said no one works harder for working families than Warren but stressed this was a �stellar field� of 2020 Democratic candidates.
�Whoever it is we can be confident our ultimate nominee will make us proud,� Hassan said.
�It will be someone who once again works to unite and serve all Americans.�
Warren brings her message to NH at Democratic fundraiser
New Hampshire Union Leader
Democratic presidential contender and Masssachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren stuck to her 2020 script promoting herself as the champion of the working class in giving the keynote speech Friday night at the New Hampshire Democratic Party�s biggest fundraiser of the year.
The event drawing nearly 1,000 supporters to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Manchester was the largest party gathering since New Hampshire Democrats had staged their near sweep of major offices in last November�s mid-term elections.
Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley made sure to also showcase the new Democratic majorities with speaking parts given to not only the four-person congressional delegation but new N.H. Senate President Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, and N.H. House Speaker Steve Shurtleff, D-Concord and Joyce Craig, the first female elected mayor of Manchester.
Buckley said the event raised $400,000 and he noted that was $25,000 more than the Republican State Committee raised in all of 2017.
Asked by reporters if she would win the first-in-the-nation primary here a year from now, Warren answered, �I�m sure going to try.�
Much of Warren�s 35-minute speech, given with the help of a teleprompter, was her standard stump that traced her early struggles growing up in a working class family in Oklahoma that helped form her desire to fight back against powerful special interests that protect the wealthy and corporate class.
She warned Democratic activists not to assume the support of working families.
�Look, every Democrat who runs for public office claims to be on the side of working people. That�s true for President and it�s true for school board members. But here�s the deal: pretty much every Republican claims the same thing. And while the people in this room might give a huge eyeball roll when Republicans say it, Democrats should notice that a lot of America believed them � and didn�t believe us,� Warren said.
She also promoted the universal child care proposal she had unveiled a week ago.
�Right here in New Hampshire, the typical family with two young children pays, on average, a whopping $21,000 a year for child care,� Warren said. �Under my plan, that family would pay a maximum of about $6,000. Think about that � a family would have another $1200 a month to spend on housing, to pay down loans, to put in savings � whatever, and for a family of four making under $50,000, the program would be completely free.�
Warren said she would pay for the plan through her millionaires tax, a 2 percent levy reserved only for those with a net worth of at least $50 million.
�That one change � one change � would bring in all the money we would need to completely cover the cost of this universal child care and early education plan � and still have a couple of trillion dollars left over,� Warren said.
Warren is following up this speech with campaign stops today in Laconia and Plymouth.
As expected, the Republican National Committee focused on Warren�s signature controversy since becoming a candidate, having identified herself as an Indian on a registration card with the Texas Bar Association.
Warren has apologized to Indian organizations, pointing out that tribes get to decide who their members are and not the other way around.
�Elizabeth Warren is bringing her 2020 apology tour back to the Granite State desperately hoping voters forget about the disastrous handling of her false heritage claims,� said RNC spokesperson Mandi Merritt.
�But when faced with a choice between Warren�s phony political mishaps or President Trump�s record of success, Granite Staters will choose President Trump�s continued progress every day of the week.�
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, took an unusual shot at Gov. Chris Sununu, predicting he would lose reelection in 2020 and in the �family tradition� he could go on to become the �very best corporate lobbyist he can be.�
Likewise, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-NH, said Sununu remains the chief obstacle to bringing commuter rail to New Hampshire.
�We will work together and when we get a democratic governor we are going to get the funding to bring the rail,� Kuster said.
Shaheen praised Warren as a �force to be reckoned with� and someone you wanted on your side �in a fight.�
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, said no one works harder for working families than Warren but stressed this was a �stellar field� of 2020 Democratic candidates.
�Whoever it is we can be confident our ultimate nominee will make us proud,� Hassan said. �It will be someone who once again works to unite and serve all Americans.�
Former Attorney General Joe Foster of Nashua agreed making a choice for which Democrat to support will be difficult.
�They all have different experiences and unique skill sets; it�s great to see so many of them out there already really trying to make the case,� Foster said.
U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, D-NH, sharply criticized President Trump as someone who was �estranged from the truth� and made federal workers political pawns during the shutdown.
�Let�s be clear folks: Shutting down the government is never an appropriate way to win an argument and neither is shredding the Constitution,� Pappas said.
Mayor Craig opened the speaking program.
�Manchester is abuzz with energy and progress. Today our city is working because we are working together,� Craig said.
The party presented 2018 nominee for governor Molly Kelly with one of its top honors, the McIntyre-Shaheen Legacy Award. Former Dover Democratic state Rep. Jim Verschueren was given the Dunfey/Kanteres Award for his volunteer efforts.
Look, every Democrat who runs for public office claims to be on the side of working people. That’s true for President and it’s true for school board members. But here’s the deal: pretty much every Republican claims the same thing. And while the people in this room might give a huge eyeball roll when Republicans say it, Democrats should notice that a lot of America believed them — and didn’t believe us,” Warren said. ****** “Right here in New Hampshire, the typical family with two young children pays, on average, a whopping $21,000 a year for child care,” Warren said. “Under my plan, that family would pay a maximum of about $6,000. Think about that — a family would have another $1200 a month to spend on housing, to pay down loans, to put in savings — whatever, and for a family of four making under $50,000, the program would be completely free.” ******
Sanders enters presidential race with some NH advantages
New Hampshire Union Leader
Long-time observers of New Hampshire�s First in the Nation Primary are divided on whether Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders can recapture the magic of the 2016 race that propelled him to a convincing primary victory over Hillary Clinton in the Granite State, even though he eventually lost the nomination.
�The dynamics of 2016 helped Bernie in a lot of ways that have changed in the last four years,� said Christopher Galdieri, associate professor in the Department of Politics at Saint Anselm College.
�In �16 he was basically it, as an alternative to Clinton. This year you�ve got a much larger field of candidates, many of whom have similar positions to Sanders in all sorts of areas. I don�t think he�s going to be the unique voice in the primary field he was four years ago.�
Sanders, who announced his 2020 presidential candidacy on Tuesday, will find the diversity of the Democratic field quite a change from 2016, according to Galdieri.
�How do you appeal to voters again when there are other people not just offering something similar to what you offered four years ago, but with something in addition to that,� he said. �They are younger, with different biographies and adding diversity to the field.�
Despite all that, Sanders still enters the 2020 presidential sweepstakes as a favorite in New Hampshire, according to Dante Scala, political science professor at UNH.
�Certainly the dynamics are different this time. He won�t have the benefit of being the only alternative to Hillary Cinton,� said Scala. �However, he enjoyed terrific approval numbers and high favorability among New Hampshire primary voters, and I don�t know any reason why that�s changed in the last few years.�
Scala points out that Sanders enters the race, especially without former Vice President Joe Biden in the running yet, as the candidate with the best name recognition.
�Without Biden in the race, he starts out as the front-runner,� said Scala. �That comes with its own set of problems, but I�d rather be able to pass the �Who�s that? test,� since a lot of other candidates still can�t.�
With Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts in the running, two New England-based candidates now have the advantage, at least in the New Hampshire Primary, according to the UNH professor.
The Vermont senator could win the primary with only half as much support as he garnered in 2016, when he got 60 percent of the vote to Clinton�s 40 percent.
�If I was a candidate and someone told me you�re going to get 30 percent of the vote in New Hampshire, I�d be thrilled with that right now,� Scala said.
Wayne Lesperance, a professor of political science and Vice President of Academic Affairs at New England College in Henniker, sees New Hampshire as a must win for Sanders if his campaign is to succeed.
�The two New England candidates really need a good showing,� he said. �For the rest of the field, it�s a race for third place, but for them (Sanders and Warren), they have to place first and second.�
Good donor base
Lesperance said Sanders enters the race with a substantial donor base and a depth of support that continued �even after the nomination was settled.�
�It would be foolish to count him out, but I�d agree it�s a much steeper hill to climb because progressive voters have a wealth to choose from,� he said.
Former State Rep. Mindi Messmer, a Democrat from Rye, was a volunteer for Sanders last time around and could be ready to sign up again.
�He was really the force behind some of the things we now see people talking about,� said Messmer, who ran a strong campaign in the Democratic primary for House in the First District, placing third in a large field.
�He�s made a big difference and I�m happy he�s getting in,� she said. �I�m listening to all of them, but I�m leaning toward Bernie. I think he talks to what we are all concerned about. I�m concerned about someone who can be effective in being a winner for the party, and he has the highest approval rating right now.�
Former state senator and longtime Democratic activist Burt Cohen of New Castle, a big Sanders booster last time around, is undecided.
�The most important thing is that his agenda from 2016 is now being embraced by many good candidates, and that�s a good thing,� said Cohen. �The most important thing is to win, and there are a number of good candidates. I like Bernie very much. His strength is not just as a candidate, but as the founder of a movement.�
That movement is still very much alive among the core group that supported Sanders in 2016, according to Cohen.
�I think that�s true about the majority of them,� he said. �I don�t have any data, but I think the majority are still excited by Bernie. Still feeling the burn.�
Sen. Lou D�Allesandro, D-Manchester, a Hillary Clinton supporter who represents the more moderate wing of the party, said Sanders is too far out of the mainstream to be electable.
�It�s d�j� vu all over again,� he said of the Sanders candidacy. �We�ll go through the same nonsense again. Our goal is to get someone who is electable and can do the job, not create havoc.�
When asked if he thought Sanders was too liberal for the general election, D�Allesandro said, �I think he�s as far left as you can go.�
“The two New England candidates really need a good showing,” he said. “For the rest of the field, it’s a race for third place, but for them (Sanders and Warren), they have to place first and second.” ******
Klobuchar in NH to make a name for herself
New Hampshire Union Leader
It came as no surprise that snow squalls and subfreezing temperatures served as the backdrop for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar as she made her first visit to New Hampshire as a presidential candidate.
�I announced my candidacy in the snow for a reason,� Klobuchar told an invitation-only crowd at The Village Trestle. �I wanted to show the nation that the bold north, the heartland, true grit is right there and matters in an election.�
The three-term Senator was quick to cast herself as an independently minded Democrat who could bridge the country�s partisan divide.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Klobuchar entered the national spotlight due in large part to her pointed questioning of Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his often contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
While she had little national name recognition prior to her role in the Kavanaugh hearings, the former Hennepin County Attorney has built bipartisan popularity in Minnesota, handily beating her Republican opponents by strong double digits in the 2006, 2012 and 2018 elections.
�In my last three elections, I have won every single congressional district in Minnesota � including Michele Bachmann�s,� Klobuchar said.
In a crowded field of candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, Klobuchar hopes to use her Midwestern purple state credentials as a way to gain favor among the party�s more moderate wing, as evidenced by a less-than-subtle dig she took at 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton.
�We�re starting in Wisconsin because, as you remember, there wasn�t a lot of campaigning in Wisconsin in 2016. With me, that changes � I�m going to be there a lot,� Klobuchar said.
Village Trestle co-owner Brenda Cadieux said Klobuchar was the first Democratic candidate to ever stage a campaign event in her tavern.
Cadieux said that Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie each held meet-and-greet events at the Trestle during the 2016 primary, but noted that Klobuchar was the first candidate to request that the bar be closed during her visit.
During her 20-minute address, Klobuchar touched on a variety of hot-button issues, calling for a $15 federal minimum wage, a constitutional amendment to end big-money political campaign funding, and pledging to reinstate the U.S. in the Paris Agreement climate change pact.
�When I�m President, on Day 1 we will get back into the international climate change agreement,� she said.
But on the matter of healthcare, Klobuchar drew a key distinction from many of her fellow 2020 contenders by stopping short of supporting a Medicare-for-All approach and instead favoring an expansion of Medicaid.
�We need a public option so we can get to the point where we have universal healthcare,� Klobuchar said.
Ted Harrlow, a painting contractor from Goffstown, said he�s a fan of Klobuchar�s ability to apply a bipartisan approach to getting things done in what he refers to as a �post-Trump era� of politics.
Stating that a lot of his coworkers felt as if they wouldn�t or couldn�t vote for Clinton in 2016, Harrlow said Klobuchar has a sense of authenticity that he thinks can better appeal to Granite State voters.
�There�s a lack of pretense that she brings that I think all of us have as well,� Harrlow said of Klobuchar. �Her competency is key. The basic thing that I heard about Hillary from people I knew was that �She sounds like my ex-wife.� I think Amy Klobuchar is incapable of crossing into that territory.�
“I announced my candidacy in the snow for a reason,” Klobuchar told an invitation-only crowd at The Village Trestle. “I wanted to show the nation that the bold north, the heartland, true grit is right there and matters in an election.” ****** “There’s a lack of pretense that she brings that I think all of us have as well,” Harrlow said of Klobuchar. “Her competency is key. The basic thing that I heard about Hillary from people I knew was that ‘She sounds like my ex-wife.’ I think Amy Klobuchar is incapable of crossing into that territory.”
Gillibrand kicks off NH 2020 campaign with NH Young Democrats
New Hampshire Union Leader
Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democratic senator, vowed to fight for reform of campaign finance, anti-discrimination, criminal justice, environmental and abortion rights laws.
During her kickoff campaign stop in the first-in-the-nation primary state, Gillibrand, 52, gave a short stump speech and answered several questions during a meeting of the New Hampshire Young Democrats.
�I promise you I have never backed down from a fight. It does not matter who I am fighting against; it is who I am fighting for,� Gillibrand said.
She made her remarks in a cramped rear room of the Stark Brewing Co. in the Millyard, a section that seated about 50 but nearly three times that many jammed into the space.
�Every generation has tried to take on a mission to make this country stronger and better and that is why I am so angry at what President Trump has done putting hate into the dialogue of this country,� Gillibrand said. �He is dividing us, making us weaker and not stronger.�
Gillibrand railed against profit-seeking industries she said were responsible for the opioid crisis, the high cost of health insurance and lax environmental standards.
�If you really want to find the fault and the cause of every evil in society, it is greed,� Gillibrand said.
The visit came about two weeks after Gillibrand formally entered the race and less than two months after she won reelection to her second, six-year term in the Senate.
A member of the U.S. House at the time from Upstate New York, Gillibrand first was appointed to the Senate seat to replace Hillary Clinton when Clinton became President Obama�s secretary of state in 2009.
If elected, Gillibrand vowed to work to convince Congress to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which makes it illegal to spend federal money on abortions.
�I am 100 percent for you on this issue,� Gillibrand told the abortion rights supporter who asked the question.
A lawyer by profession, Gillibrand said support for gay rights is �personal for me� as members of her family are gay and she�s performed gay wedding ceremonies.
She voiced support for decriminalizing marijuana and more bail reform so that the poor don�t languish in jails prior to their trials.
�There are so many people who are incarcerated because they don�t have $100 to produce bail,� Gillibrand said.
�It is the whole point of this effort. We have to realize the challenges that other people are facing.�
Gillibrand last visited the state campaigning for Democratic candidate for governor Molly Kelly of Harrisville, who lost to Gov. Chris Sununu. Gillibrand said Kelly stood for a universal paid and family leave program that she supports and said Sununu �does not.�
Sununu backs with Gov. Phil Scott a voluntary, two-state paid and family leave program.
A spokesperson for the Republican National Committee said Gillibrand will have trouble winning over converts given that she has changed her views on hot button issues such as immigration reform and gun owner rights.
�Just what New Hampshire needs � another 2020 Democrat joining the �I�m sorry� (presidential) tour. Chameleon Kirsten Gillibrand has flip-flopped on so many issues over the years that Granite Staters are going to have a hard time figuring out where she stands on anything,� said Mandi Merritt, communications director for the Republican National Committee. �However, we do know where she stands on running for President � it�s all about her, not New Hampshire families.�
Colin Van Ostern, the 2016 nominee for governor from Concord, said most activists here don�t know views Gillibrand had taken a decade or more ago.
�They�ll be fair taking the first long look at them now that she�s in the race,� Van Ostern said.
Gillibrand�s first New Hampshire tour today Saturday includes a coffee shop visit in Nashua, a walking tour in Portsmouth and a session with college Democrats at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
On Sunday she delivers remarks at the senior center in Littleton followed by a walking tour of the downtown.
Colin Van Ostern, the 2016 nominee for governor from Concord, said most activists here don’t know views Gillibrand had taken a decade or more ago. “They’ll be fair taking the first long look at them now that she’s in the race,” Van Ostern said. ****
Cory Booker kicks off 2020 presidential bid, heading to NH in two weeks.
New Hampshire Union Leader
First-term U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., vowed to help "build a country where no one is forgotten" as he announced today (Friday) he would mount a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
A former mayor of Newark, Booker, 49, made his campaign official with tweets and an email sent to supporters early this (Friday) morning. A series of media interviews were to follow, including an appearance on ABC-TV's "The View" near midday.
Campaign officials confirmed Booker would come to New Hampshire two weeks from now during the President's Day weekend. His first trips as a candidate will be first next weekend in Iowa, home of the first caucus, followed by stops days later in South Carolina, scheduled to hold the nation's second primary after the Granite State's in 2020.
"We are better when we help each other," Booker said. "The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country and those who linked arms to challenge and change it."
Booker was the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate from New Jersey, winning in a special election in 2013 after the death of Democrat Frank Lautenberg. He then won a full six-year term a year later.
In 2017, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, signed a law that allows Booker and any New Jersey member of Congress to both seek re-election and run in presidential primaries.
"I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good-paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame," Booker said.
"It is not a matter of can we. It's a matter of do we have the collective will, the American will? I believe we do. Together we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose."
Since the November election, Booker returned to New Hampshire twice, including for a Manchester celebration of Democratic victories in the mid-term elections. Then-candidate Barack Obama had been the guest speaker for a similar event following the 2006 political season.
In early December, Booker said he would consult with his family over the holiday season and make a final decision about running.
Booker already has on his team of New Hampshire supporters Concord lobbyist Jim Demers, who co-chaired both of Obama's campaigns here.
In the 2018 midterms, Booker's Senate campaign helped raise $170,000 for Democratic candidates in New Hampshire. He's also spoken to and courted New Hampshire Democratic delegates at the past two nominating conventions in 2012 and 2016.
Unlike some Democrats such as fellow Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Booker is starting with a presidential campaign with no exploratory or testing-the-waters phase. His campaign committee is Cory 2020, officials said.
Like some other 2020 primary rivals, Booker has said he will not take money from corporate political action committees or federal lobbyists and opposes so-called super PACs working on behalf of anyone running for President.
A native of Washington, DC., Booker was raised in Harrington Park, N.J. and attended Stanford as an undergraduate and master's degree student, and then Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, followed by Yale Law School.
In 1998 he first won as an upset candidate for a municipal council seat in Newark and became mayor on his second try for the job in 2006.
Booker became in 2017 the first sitting senator to testify in opposition to another when he spoke against Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions during a confirmation hearing.
While mayor, Booker had a reputation as a political moderate who supported school vouchers.
In the Senate, Booker had one of the most liberal voting records among his colleagues, according to independent organizations that rank members of Congress.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Booker got some national recognition last September for his sharp questioning of U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Booker speaks to packed rooms
New Hampshire Union Leader
Presidential hopeful, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., swung through the Upper Valley Friday, one of the few candidates to hit the region since the primary election season began.
Booker, one of the several candidates already declared in the crowded Democratic field, promised to a packed house at the Buckley & Zopf law firm offices on Broad Street that if he is elected he will put the country to work.
�If you all elect me your President � I�m going to ask for more from you,� Booker said.
Booker said that as much as many in the room want change in the White House, the country cannot go back to business as usual. He said communities throughout the country are still in need no matter who is President.
�All of those issues went on before Donald Trump,� Booker said.
Booker said the shared American values of sacrifice and serviced for the good of others need to be rejuvenated in order for the country to make progress on health care, the environment, and a host of other issues.
�This is not going to change just by changing who�s in the White House,� he said.
Booker used his life story, with his family needing help of Civil Rights activists to be able to buy a house in New Jersey in the 1960s after facing racial discrimination. He said the choices of the volunteers who helped his family are still having positive impacts on the world.
�When one American stands up, it ripples out into the universe and changes it,� Booker said.
The senator is trying to gain traction in the race, which sees former Gov. John Hickenlooper, Gov. Jay Inslee, senators Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former representatives Beto O�Rourke and John Delaney, former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, and guru Marianne Williamson, and tech executive Andrew Yang as the declared candidates. Still in the wings are Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, former Vice President Joe Biden and others.
Booker stopped at the Salt Hill Pub in Lebanon before coming to Claremont. Having a candidate in any part of western New Hampshire has been a rarity so far during this campaign, said Sullivan County Democratic Party Chair Judith Kaufman. Claremont has seen Warren and Gabbard in the past few months, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected Sunday, as part of his run up to a possible announcement.
“If you all elect me your President … I’m going to ask for more from you,” Booker said. ****** Having a candidate in any part of western New Hampshire has been a rarity so far during this campaign, said Sullivan County Democratic Party Chair Judith Kaufman.
Supporters welcome Bernie Sanders' return to New Hampshire
New Hampshire Union Leader
Hundreds of supporters packed the Grappone Center on Sunday for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders� first rally in New Hampshire since launching his second bid for the Democratic Party�s nomination for President.
Sanders, an independent from Vermont, spoke for nearly an hour. His fiery speech featured many familiar themes from his 2016 campaign, which helped lead him to victory in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire Presidential Primary three years ago.
�All of you will remember, in 2016 this is where the political revolution took off. Thank you, New Hampshire,� Sanders told the crowd.
Sanders noted he is no longer widely viewed as the �radical� challenging the establishment. After more than two years under President Donald Trump, Sanders believes more Americans agree with his visions on health care, the environment and economics, to name a few.
�Those ideas that we talked about when we came here to New Hampshire four years ago � ideas that seemed so very radical at that time � well today, virtually all of those ideas are supported by a majority of the American people and they are being supported by Democratic candidates from school board to President of the United States,� Sanders said.
Sanders had to pause many times throughout the speech as supporters cheered his various messages, which also included immigration reform, racial justice and overcoming the influence of �special interests� that he said have led to �an unprecedented level of greed� and vast economic inequality.
�It�s not just a grossly unfair economic system that we are going to deal with. It is also a corrupt political system which is undermining American democracy,� Sanders said. �I know that this is a very radical idea in terms of what�s going on in America today, but we here in New England have an old-fashioned idea that democracy is about one person, one vote � not billionaires buying elections.�
Sanders took a few direct shots at Trump and what he described as the corporate influence on government, which he cited for skyrocketing costs in health care and prescription medicine. He also noted that the �1 percent� he rallied against in 2016 are still going strong.
�They have the money. They have the power. But we have something together that they do not have. We have the people. And they don�t understand that,� he said. �Make no mistake about it, this struggle that we are engaging in is not just about defeating Donald Trump. This struggle is about taking on the incredibly powerful institutions that control the economic and political life of this country.�
�I think it was awesome. I was kind of on the fence on whether to come or not but I�m glad I did,� said Shane McCusker, who drove to Concord through the snow from his home in Raymond.
McCusker, a 38-year-old salesman, said he was behind Sanders in 2016 and believes he could win the nomination this time, even in a crowded field. Having a strong network of support in New Hampshire can only help, McCusker said.
�I think everybody�s kind of piggybacking on his revolution back in �16. Hopefully he can just keep whoever was behind him then and not let them go to somebody else,� McCusker said. �I just love how he wants to bring everybody together � that we�re all one � and not divide everybody up. We can do things in numbers and I think he�s got a lot of numbers behind him.�
Republicans were ready with a response before Sanders even took the podium in his first of two New Hampshire stops on Sunday. He also made an appearance in Keene later in the day.
The Republican National Committee issued a statement urging Granite Staters not to be swayed by Sanders in his first official 2020 campaign visit to the state.
�Bernie Sanders� radical push for socialism is supercharging the Democratic primary to the left,� RNC spokesman Mandi Merritt said. �With calls for government control of health care, education and a takeover of nearly every aspect of our lives with the �Green New Deal,� Sanders� socialist platform will rob Granite Staters of their freedoms while bankrupting America at a cost of trillions of dollars.�
“All of you will remember, in 2016 this is where the political revolution took off. Thank you, New Hampshire,” Sanders told the crowd. ***** “Those ideas that we talked about when we came here to New Hampshire four years ago — ideas that seemed so very radical at that time — well today, virtually all of those ideas are supported by a majority of the American people and they are being supported by Democratic candidates from school board to President of the United States,” Sanders said. ***** “I know that this is a very radical idea in terms of what’s going on in America today, but we here in New England have an old-fashioned idea that democracy is about one person, one vote — not billionaires buying elections.” ******
In N.H. Campaign Swing, Klobuchar Calls for Finding 'Common Ground'
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar brought her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to New Hampshire this past weekend, where she stressed the need to address issues ranging from economic inequality to health care and climate change.
In the early days of a race when many Democrats are calling for the sweeping changes -- on health care, environmental protection, and education -- Klobuchar used a Concord house party Sunday evening to emphasize a more incremental approach. She proposed rolling back parts of the tax changes championed by President Trump, not the whole law.
And when she called for universal health care, Klobuchar quickly added, �there are many ways to get there.�
�And that�s because I believe in standing my ground, but I also believe you can find common ground with people, if you just look at them in the eye, and figure out how you can get things done," Klobuchar told the crowd. "So, that is a big part of what I am about, but it is also about the way that we govern this country.�
Klobuchar�s visit to New Hampshire, which also included a stop in Nashua, was her second since declaring her candidacy for the White House earlier this month.
“And that’s because I believe in standing my ground, but I also believe you can find common ground with people, if you just look at them in the eye, and figure out how you can get things done," Klobuchar told the crowd. "So, that is a big part of what I am about, but it is also about the way that we govern this country.”
In First Official Campaign Visit, Sanders Urges N.H. Supporters to Finish What They Started
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination back to New Hampshire this weekend. Sanders, who won the 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary in a blowout, told voters they could make good on the promise of his longshot run four years ago.
�To the people of New Hampshire let me say: You helped begin the political revolution in 2016 and with your help, on this campaign, we are going to complete what we started here,� Sanders told a packed ballroom at the Grappone Center in Concord Sunday afternoon.
Sanders-themed merchandise was easy to come by at the Grappone Center in Concord Sunday.
CREDIT ALLEGRA BOVERMAN / FOR NHPR
When Sanders launched his New Hampshire campaign in 2015, he was viewed by many mainstream Democrats as a marginal figure. But he beat Hillary Clinton by more than 20 points in the New Hampshire primary. And while he fell short of claiming the party�s nomination, Sanders notched wins in 22 states in 2016. And as he told the Concord crowd, many of the policies he alone championed in that last campaign � like tuition-free college, single-payer health care, and a $15 minimum wage - are now mainstream among Democrats.
�Today, virtually all of those ideas are supported by the majority of the American people, and they are being supported by Democratic candidates from school board to president of the United States,� Sanders said.
Sanders enters the 2020 New Hampshire primary race with many advantages, including broad name recognition and a readymade donor base. And while his campaign four years ago had an ad-hoc feel, particularly in the early days, it seemed well-oiled this weekend. At the Concord rally, the press was cordoned off from the crowd, and organizers logged attendees' contact info. Vendors, bellowing �feel the Bern,� did a brisk trade in Sanders memorabilia outside.
Sanders also visited Keene, where he spoke at the Colonial Theatre.
2020 Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Support Marijuana Legalization Bill
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of half a dozen Democratic senators running for the White House, is reintroducing a bill on Thursday that would fundamentally end the federal government's prohibition on marijuana.
The Marijuana Justice Act, which was first introduced by Booker in August of 2017, seeks to make marijuana legal at the federal level by removing it from the list of controlled substances, while also expunging the convictions of previous marijuana drug offenders and reinvesting in low-income and minority communities that were particularly hard hit by the federal government's war on drugs.
Some other senators running for president are co-sponsors of the legislation, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as well as Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, who is considering a bid.
Two key senators from the Midwest are not listed as co-sponsors: Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who's also running for president, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who is mulling a 2020 bid.
Ten states plus Washington, D.C., have legalized some amount of recreational marijuana, and 33 states plus D.C. allow medical marijuana.
Warren introduced a bipartisan piece of legislation last year with Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., to prevent the federal prohibition on marijuana from applying to states that had already legalized it. But Booker's legislation, which she supports, is a more sweeping change.
The bill is retroactive and would apply to people currently serving time for marijuana-related offenses.
The support for Booker's proposal among fellow Senate Democrats vying for the White House is a sign of how much the party has shifted in recent years, and the degree to which candidates feel they need to bolster their progressive credentials in a crowded Democratic field.
It's also an indication of the overall appetite for progressive policies in the 2020 Democratic primary race.
Sanders re-introduced the Raise the Wage Act last month, which would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour. It was co-sponsored by nearly every Democratic senator considering a run for the presidency: Booker, Brown, Gillibrand, Harris, Klobuchar, Merkley and Warren.
Likewise, Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, Merkley and Warren were all co-sponsors of Sanders' 2017 Medicare-for-all bill.
Marianne Williamson Makes Campaign Stop in Exeter
Marianne Williamson, a best-selling spiritual author and lecturer, continued her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination with a stop in Exeter on Wednesday evening.
The Texas-born candidate spoke in front of a standing room-only crowd inside Water Street Books, where her own works are stocked in the “Inspiration” section of the shop.
“Now we need a more integrative, holistic perspective on our politics, one in which we realize that we are the immune system, and that we have to cultivate a healthy democracy,” she told the crowd.
During her nearly-hour long stump speech, Williamson railed against “authoritarian corporatism” and a “sociopathic economic system” that she says is leading to an epidemic of despair and anxiety in America.
“The American Revolution is an ongoing process. It is just like your health, it is just like exercise with your body--you never get to say ‘done,’ I don’t have to take care of my body anymore...and same with your democracy.”
Williamson, who rose to prominence in the early 1990’s after an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, highlighted three key areas of her campaign: the toll of trauma on children, ongoing systemic racism in America, and a national defense model that is built not on safety but rather profits.
In 2014, Williamson, who is 66, ran for Congress in Los Angeles, where she finished fourth in an open primary. She told the audience in Exeter an immediate goal in this campaign is to meet the Democratic National Committee’s requirement of at least 65,000 individual donors to participate in debates.
Williamson finished her pitch to New Hampshire voters with a plea for patience: spend the next twelve months listening to all candidates and their ideas, before deciding who to back in the primary.
“Then, about a year from now, you are going to go into the closet of your own heart, and there will be a name, and if it is mine, I will be deeply honored," she said to applause.
“Now we need a more integrative, holistic perspective on our politics, one in which we realize that we are the immune system, and that we have to cultivate a healthy democracy,” she told the crowd. ******** “The American Revolution is an ongoing process. It is just like your health, it is just like exercise with your body--you never get to say ‘done,’ I don’t have to take care of my body anymore...and same with your democracy.” ****** “Then, about a year from now, you are going to go into the closet of your own heart, and there will be a name, and if it is mine, I will be deeply honored," she said to applause.
Presidents Day Weekend Draws 2020 Candidates and Hopefuls To New Hampshire
A handful of potential and declared 2020 presidential candidates are spending Presidents Day Weekend criss-crossing New Hampshire.
NHPR's reporters are on the trail, and filed these reports.
Note: Bookmark this page for more news from candidate events through the weekend
Harris Draws Big Crowd In Portsmouth
- by Annie Ropeik
Hundreds of people braved a snowy night in Portsmouth to hear 2020 presidential hopeful Kamala Harris hold her first town hall in the state. Some said the first-term California senator already feels like a front-runner.
Harris' audience packed the pews of Portsmouth's South Church and spilled out on its steps, where a cheering crowd could watch the candidate speak inside on a big screen.
In her answers to audience questions, the former California attorney general backed a slew of progressive policy goals like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, universal background checks for firearms sales and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
She also said she�d support turning Columbus Day into Indigenous People�s Day at the federal level. And she got standing ovations as she repeated a theme:
"The way we achieve unity is by understanding that yes, we are diverse, and we have so much more in common than what separates us,� Harris said.
Recent polls of likely New Hampshire voters put Harris at or near the top of the declared Democratic field for president.
For residents like Robin Lurie-Meyerkopf of Portsmouth, the turnout and excitement at Harris� town hall felt as though the candidate had already won the state�s first-in-the-nation primary.
"I've been in New Hampshire since 1980 � I've met a lot of presidential candidates,� Lurie-Meyerkopf said. �I've met them this early in the campaign, and this is crazy here."
On Tuesday, Harris makes another traditional early campaign stop at a Politics and Eggs breakfast in Manchester.
[Bernie Sanders Is Running for President Again]
Cory Booker spoke to voters at the Electric Avenue arcade in Manchester over Presidents Day weekend
CREDIT ALLEGRA BOVERMAN FOR NHPR
Booker Covers Wide Range of Issues on First N.H. Visit Since Declaring Candidacy
- by Sarah Gibson
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker spent the weekend crisscrossing New Hampshire in his first visit since announcing a presidential run.
He visited voters in Portsmouth, Manchester, Rochester, and North Conway before addressing over 200 people at a Nashua house party on Monday morning. Booker said he would focus less on partisan politics, and more on finding solutions.
�People are starting to lose their faith in us � in our ability to solve our own problems,� he said.
�There are people feeling left out, there are people feeling left behind, there are people feeling isolated, when the truth is, their pain is a common pain.�
Booker touted his years as Mayor of Newark, New Jersey addressing environmental problems, improving school test scores, and fighting mass incarceration. He pointed to the First Step Act, a landmark bill which he co-sponsored and President Trump recently signed, as a bipartisan example of how to help those with addiction who are caught up in the criminal justice system.
But he said there was still work to be done to address the mental health and substance abuse crises that often land people into jail.
�Here in America, go to our prisons and jails, and you see the shame of our country,� he said. �We overwhelmingly incarcerate the mentally ill; we overwhelmingly incarcerate the addicted; we overwhelmingly incarcerate the poor; we overwhelmingly incarcerate survivors of sexual trauma.�
In answer to questions from local high schoolers, Booker said he was for closing loopholes and requiring universal background checks. �And then after that I�d like to do more things, like banning assault rifles and weapons that don�t belong on the streets of America,� he said.
A resident of a Nashua neighborhood abutting the Mohawk Tannery, a proposed EPA Superfund site, asked whether Booker would boost the EPA�s oversight and budget.
�If I am President of the United States, as a guy who comes from a low-income area surrounded by toxic soil and polluted air, I will fight every single day to make sure we address them,� he said.
After a Q&A, voters milled around for selfies with Booker.
Ryan Guptill, an attorney in Nashua, said it was too early to decide who he�ll support, but he suspects most candidates will have similar policy platforms.
�I think it�s about how you campaign, and then how would you govern,� he said. �And for me, Booker�s message of hope and unity is inspiring.�
2020 presidential candidate and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand campaigns at Teatotaller Tea House in Somersworth.
CREDIT ANNIE ROPEIK / NHPR
In Seacoast Campaign Stop, Gillibrand Backs Green New Deal, Non-Binary Gender Marker
by Annie Ropeik
During her swing through New Hampshire Friday, 2020 presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand made a stop at an LGBTQ-owned coffee shop on the Seacoast.
Standing on the stage at Teatotaller in Somersworth, which would host a teen drag show later that night, the New York senator got emotional as she said President Donald Trump's policies have demonized queer and trans people, like a boy she knows.
"That young man is the exact person who should not be demonized by the president of the United States," she said, to applause. "That young man is exactly the person who the president of the United States should protect."
She told a trans rights organizer with the state ACLU that she'd support a third gender marker for non-binary people at the federal level.
On the opioid crisis, Gillibrand says the public health system should address addiction, "and I would use the criminal justice system particularly to hold drug companies accountable."
And she addressed Middle East policy, saying she believes in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and does not support the BDS movement, which calls for boycotts of Israel to support Palestinian equality.
She says she thinks President Trump's military policies have destabilized the region:
Seacoast and Southern Maine residents talk with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at Teatotaller.
CREDIT ANNIE ROPEIK / NHPR
"I don't think sending troops to Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria will undermine terrorism," she says, adding that defense officials overseas have repeatedly told her that "you cannot defeat terrorism militarily."
Gillibrand also prioritized action on climate change, saying she supports the Green New Deal �because I think global climate change is the most urgent crisis of our lifetime.�
She added that she likes the proposed resolution�s inclusion of clean air and water policies, which she says would help address the PFAS chemical contamination that�s affected New Hampshire and her home state of New York.
Gillibrand also accepted a reusable water bottle from a Seacoast nonprofit. She promised to use that bottle instead of single-use plastics on the campaign trail.
The nonprofit, Sustainable Seacoast, presented a similar bottle to Gillibrand's fellow senator and 2020 candidate Cory Booker at another event this weekend. He reportedly promised to start carrying his own reusable bottle.
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to a packed house in Raymond, N.H. The 37-year-old veteran has launced an exploratory committee to run for President of the United States.
CREDIT ROBERT GARROVA
Possible 2020 Candidate Pete Buttigieg Calls Trump�s National Emergency Over a Border Wall �Absurd"
by Robert Garrova
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, mulling a presidential run, spent his weekend in the Granite State. The 37-year-old Democrat made his pitch to a packed room in Raymond on Saturday.
Buttigieg said his record as mayor of a distressed midwest city makes him qualified for the Oval Office despite his youth, touting an economic turnaround for the community.
�I didn�t say �we�re going to make South Bend great again,�� he said to laughs from the crowd. �We talked about how the future wasn�t going to look like the past."
Buttigieg has pointed out that his youth also makes him positioned to connect with millennials in a crowded Democratic field.
�I think he does understand what the problem is,� said Michael DiTommaso, Treasurer of the Raymond Democratic Committee. �The fact that it is very hard for young people -- getting saddled with college debt -- being unable to, essentially get out and participate in the economy in a meaningful way.�
The Harvard educated veteran believes a shift in national policy is needed to benefit those hurt by changes in trade and automation.
"We need to recon with the fact that people aren't just losing their income, they're losing their identity,� Buttigieg said. �And I believe that helps to explain everything from strange election results to the opioid crisis."
As with several potential Democratic candidates, Buttigieg is a fan of a medicare for all type health care system. He also said he wants more attention on issues like cyber security.
As for President Trump's declaration of a national emergency to fund a border wall, Buttigieg called it �absurd.�
"The real emergency facing our country right now is from things like climate change that has led to individual emergencies that mayors like me have to pick up the pieces from,� he said. �And if we don�t take that seriously, there�s nothing that a wall�s going to be able to do to save us.�
Raymond Democrats said it was a record crowd for them, with Buttigieg coming off of a week of national attention, including Stephen Colbert�s �The Late Show.�
Several in the crowd made the trip from Massachusetts. That included Aaron Levin, who said Buttigieg ignites something missing for Democrats.
"I've got Senator Warren -- Elizabeth Warren -- who's running,� Levin said. �But I'm with Pete."
If elected, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay president.
Tulsi Gabbard greets voters at the True Brew Barista in Concord
CREDIT SEAN HURLEY FOR NHPR
Tulsi Gabbard Meets Voters in Concord
- by Sean Hurley
�Service above self,� was the repeated theme of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard�s speech in Concord Saturday night.
After the crowd of 50 or so at True Brew Barista greeted Gabbard with a resounding "Aloha!", the 37 year old Presidential hopeful from Hawaii pledged to walk the United States back from the �abyss of nuclear war," made a commitment to universal health care and promised to work with the global community to address the climate change crisis.
"I've been in New Hampshire since 1980 – I've met a lot of presidential candidates,” Lurie-Meyerkopf said. “I've met them this early in the campaign, and this is crazy here." ****** “If I am President of the United States, as a guy who comes from a low-income area surrounded by toxic soil and polluted air, I will fight every single day to make sure we address them,” he said. ***** “I think it’s about how you campaign, and then how would you govern,” he said. “And for me, Booker’s message of hope and unity is inspiring.” ****** On the opioid crisis, Gillibrand says the public health system should address addiction, "and I would use the criminal justice system particularly to hold drug companies accountable." ***** “I think he does understand what the problem is,” said Michael DiTommaso, Treasurer of the Raymond Democratic Committee. “The fact that it is very hard for young people -- getting saddled with college debt -- being unable to, essentially get out and participate in the economy in a meaningful way.” *******
N.H. Family To Receive $1,000 A Month From Presidential Candidate Running On Universal Basic Income
Longshot 2020 presidential hopeful Andrew Yang thinks all Americans 18 and over need a raise, so much so that he�s basing his entire campaign on Universal Basic Income, or the idea that the government should provide a set amount of money to help cover the basics.
This year, Yang is testing his so-called Freedom Dividend with the Fassi family in Goffstown, New Hampshire, who will receive $1,000 a month for a year.
Listen Listening...3:58 Listen
Two years ago, Charles Fassi lost his job as a manager at a company that services chemical dispensing equipment. He says he�d worked there for 13 years.
�And then I was just suddenly let go,� Charles says. �And it felt like it was connected between automation and companies kind of putting less value on human capital.�
Jodie Fassi, Charles�s wife, says the loss of income came at a really hard time for the rest of the family, including their daughter Janelle, who was going into her freshman year at St. Anselm College.
�He lost his job August 11th and she was starting college that week, we had to set up her dorm,� Jodie says. �I actually had this house on the market. I had his car sold. [I went into this] protective mode of okay, well, what do I need to do to keep her in college.�
Janelle was the one who put her family in the running for the dividend from the presidential candidate Andrew Yang. She filled out an online form last year. And then her family was interviewed by Yang. When they got the call they�d been picked for the bonus, Jodie says Charles was stunned.
�And he actually ended up crying because he felt like we didn�t deserve it,� Jodie says. �That�s my husband.�
Charles says he�s not entirely sure why his family was chosen.
When Yang was in Concord last spring, he explained his reasoning for the bonus, which he advertised on his website and social media.
�The goal is to illustrate the impact a thousand dollars a month can have on a family or a household here in New Hampshire and putting my money where my mouth is,� Yang explained.
The idea behind Yang�s Freedom Dividend is nothing new. It�s his take on what�s known as universal basic income, or the idea that everyone gets a set amount of money from the government. Tech executives Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have expressed interest in the concept. And Stockton, California, will become the first U.S. city to provide Universal Basic Income, or UBI, to some residents starting this year.
�It�s five hundred dollars no strings attached,� Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs told CBS News last year. �The idea is to have a conversation about kind of the economic system of this country.�
Politicians in New Hampshire are more likely to up-play the state�s booming economy than question it altogether. Charles Fassi says, while he�s got a new job and things have stabilized financially for his family, he�s still making a lot less than before.
�The stock market�s up, businesses are raking in profits, yet people are kind of struggling more and more every day,� he says.
The Fassi family hasn�t figured out exactly what they�ll do with the extra income. Jodie says she can think of a few things. �Just the basic security of having a little extra money, so if the car breaks we don�t have to use our credit card, we can actually pay,� she says.
�It�s kind of like a scholarship, especially for college students in a way,� says daughter Janelle.
And Charles says it's making him think a little more creatively.
�Even, we were talking about starting our own business,� Charles says. �Hopefully we can do something with the money in that year to improve our lives a bit.�
The Fassi Family receives their first "Freedom Dividend" check from Andrew Yang during a NYE party.
CREDIT PHOTO COURTESY THE FASSI FAMILY
Yang presented the Fassis with their first check at a New Year's Eve Party. They say Yang hasn�t asked them to provide any plan on how they�ll spend the money.
But you may be wondering how this doesn�t count as buying votes? The idea of a candidate giving money to a potential voter could raise some eyebrows.
The Yang campaign says they spent a lot of time with their attorneys checking on the legality of their plan. Because the dividend will come from Yang�s personal account and not campaign funds, it�s the campaign�s understanding that the dividend complies with election law.
The New Hampshire Attorney General�s Office says there are currently no complaints against the Yang campaign.
Prez frenzy: O'Rourke, Warren coming to Conway
Conway Daily Sun
Less than a week after formally throwing his 10-gallon hat into the ring for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, former U.S. Rep. Beto O�Rourke of Texas is heading to the Granite State, with a planned stop in Conway Village today.
O�Rourke, who announced his candidacy in a his hometown of El Paso, Texas, last Thursday, will be the first of three prominent Democrats to head to the Mount Washington Valley to court voters over the next five days.
New York City-based entrepreneur Andrew Yang is scheduled to be in North Conway on Thursday, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is slated to speak at Kennett Middle School this Sunday.
Fourteen Democrats have officially entered the race to be their party's nominee in the race for the White House.
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey was the first to visit the valley, speaking to a standing-room-only crowd in the lobby of the law offices of Cooper, Cargill and Chant in North Conway on Feb. 16.
O�Rourke, 46, has said he plans to visit all 10 counties in the Granite State during a quick three-day swing.
He will be at Tuckerman Brewing Co. at 66 Hobbs St. in Conway Village on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
O�Rourke reportedly drove here from Iowa in a rented minivan. He was set to speak Tuesday night at Keene State College and start his Wednesday off with meet-and-greets at The Common Man Inn in Claremont at 8:30 a.m. and then Plymouth State College at 11 a.m., before heading to Conway.
He is scheduled to wrap up his Wednesday with a meet-and-greet at the University of New Hampshire in Durham at 7 p.m.
On Thursday, O�Rourke has planned stops in Portsmouth, Manchester and Laconia.
After serving three terms in Congress from Texas' 16th congressional district, O�Rourke burst onto the national scene last year when he challenged, on a shoestring budget, incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in what turned out to be the closest Senate race in the state of Texas in 40 years.
O'Rourke fell roughly 220,000 votes short (out of 8.3 million) of unseating Cruz, but became a rising star in his party in the process.
�The challenges we face are the greatest in living memory,� O�Rourke said on his Facebook page when he announced his bid for the White House.
�No one person can meet these challenges on their own. Only this country can do that, and only if we build a grassroots movement that includes all of us," O'Rourke continued.
"It will be animated by an ambition for the country that recognizes that the obstacles we face will only be overcome by lifting each other up; that the opportunities before us will only be realized by overcoming the differences between us before they define us forever.�
O�Rourke and wife Amy have two children, Molly and Henry, and two dogs and a cat.
Meanwhile, Warren who has previously visited southern New Hampshire recently, has planned stops in Coos and Carroll County this weekend.
On Saturday, she will take part in a community conversation on the opioid crisis at Littleton High School at 2:30 p.m., followed by a meet-and-greet at the Berlin City Hall at 5:40 p.m.
On Sunday, March 24, Warren is slated to take part in a Conway organizing event at Kennett Middle School at 11:45 a.m. Doors will open at 10:45 a.m.
Warren, 69, is the senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts, having served since 2013. She announced her candidacy on Feb. 8 at a rally in Lawrence, Mass.
She called for major changes in government, taking direct aim at President Donald J. Trump.
�It won't be enough to just undo the terrible acts of this administration,� she said. �We can't afford to just tinker around the edges � a tax credit here, a regulation there. Our fight is for big, structural change. This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an America where dreams are possible, an America that works for everyone.�
Warren, who is married to Bruce Mann, has two grown children (Amelia and Alexander). She came to politics from the world of academia, having taught law at a number of universities, including Harvard.
She was the state debate champion in Oklahoma, graduating from high school at age 16.
Known for her consumer advocacy and efforts to weaken big financial institutes, Warren was named by President Barack Obama to be a special adviser for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
She pulls no punches when talking about Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for a run at a second term.
�Trump is not �draining the swamp,�� she said. �Nope, he�s inviting the biggest, ugliest swamp monsters in the front door and he�s turning them loose on our government and our economy.�
On Thursday, Yang is scheduled to arrive at 1:30 p.m. at the Sun, where he will take questions from the Sun editorial board and other attendees in a public forum being hosted in the newspaper's pressroom.
�It�s a bit of an experiment because we are holding it in our pressroom, which is our biggest open space in the Sun building,� said Sun Publisher Mark Guerringue.
�It will be up to Yang to determine how long he wants to stay to meet and greet, but he�s welcome to stay as long as he wants,� Guerringue said.
If you plan to attend the Sun�s �Meet at the Press� editorial board, please indicate that by visiting Andrew Yang for President 2020 on Facebook and checking in.
Following his visit to the Sun, Yang is scheduled to head to a meet-and-greet in Randolph at 5 p.m. He also plans to make an appearance in Berlin at 10 a.m. at the Eastern Depot Restaurant on Friday.
Public invited to meet presidential hopeful Andrew Yang
Conway Daily Sun
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang will be at The Conway Daily Sun on Thursday to speak about his bid for the White House.
Yang, 44, is a New York City-based entrepreneur,
author and father of two. As president, he has promised to enact �the Freedom Dividend,� giving $1,000 per month to every adult U.S. citizen over the age 18. The Freedom Dividend is described as a form of Universal Basic Income.
In a departure from past election cycles, the Sun this year is opening its pressroom to host visiting candidates and accommodate the public, who are invited to attend the Sun�s editorial board meetings.
Yang is set to arrive at the Sun at 1:30 p.m. and will take questions from the Sun editorial board and other attendees.
�It�s a bit of an experiment because we are holding it in our pressroom, which is our biggest open space in the Sun building,� said Sun Publisher Mark Guerringue. He said the Sun�s editors and reporters will ask the candidate questions and then open it up to questions from the public.
�It will be up to Yang to determine how long he wants to stay to meet and greet, but he�s welcome to stay as long as he wants,� Guerringue said.
Yang is part of a crowded field of Democratic candidates, which now includes former New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O�Rourke, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New Age author Marianne Williamson.
Last April, the Sun reported on Yang�s plan to give one New Hampshire resident $1,000 per month for a year to demonstrate the value of his idea. He opened nominations to people across the state from then until Sept. 1, 2018, after which he and his staff selected one family.
In a press release in January, the Yang campaign said the Fassi family of Goffstown were chosen to be the first recipients.
Yang explains the need for Universal Basic Income on his website. �By 2015, automation had already destroyed 4 million manufacturing jobs, and the smartest people in the world now predict that a third of all working Americans will lose their job to automation in the next 12 years,� according to yang2020.com. �Our current policies are not equipped to handle this crisis. Even our most forward-thinking politicians are unprepared.�
Yang said the Freedom Dividend would be paid for out of consolidating some welfare programs; instituting a value-added tax (tax on the goods and services a business produces; including new revenue from growth in the economy; and adding in savings on such things as the cost of health care, incarcerating prisoners and homeless services because people would be better able to take care of themselves.
Yang said his campaign took off after he appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. As of Monday, Rogan�s interview with Yang had been viewed over 2.3 million times on YouTube.
�It seems like a lot of people started paying attention all at once,� Yang told The Washington Post.
If you plan to attend the Sun�s �Meet at the Press� editorial board, please indicate that by visiting Andrew Yang for President 2020 on Facebook and checking in.
After his visit to the Sun, Yang is scheduled to head to a meet-and-greet in Randolph at 5 p.m. He also plans to make an appearance in Berlin at 10 a.m. at the Eastern Depot Restaurant on Friday.
Booker draws a crowd at North Conway appearance
Conway Daily Sun
Close to 120 people shoehorned themselves into the lobby of Cooper Cargill Chant legal services in North Conway last Saturday for a campaign visit by newly declared presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
As testament to the junior New Jersey senator and former Newark mayor�s star power, attendees also were gathered in the practice�s two conference rooms and on the porch.
It was just two weeks ago that Booker, 49, declared his candidacy, jumping into what will undoubtedly be a crowded field seeking to unseat Republican President Donald Trump.
Dressed casually in a white shirt, blue sweater and blue jeans, Booker was introduced by attorney Chris Meier, who ran for state Senate last year.
Booker, Meier said, has �taken the lead in the Senate, standing up against the cruel, unjust and un-American policies of the current administration. We are absolutely thrilled he is running for president and absolutely thrilled that he joined us and came here to speak.�
The first 2020 candidate to come to town, Booker�s visit lasted about an hour and a half and ended with him taking a few questions and posing for selfies.
Booker outlined the unifying theme of his campaign platform after thanking all for coming out to see him.
�We are at a time where there is a lot of moral vandalism going on and an assault on our institutions and our ideals,� he said. �We�re getting to a place (and I�ve met with people across the country) where people are beginning to ask openly about the forces that are beginning to rip us apart stronger than what holds us together.
�This is why I am running for president,� Booker said, �because I don�t believe that, and I know that we as a people stand for something different than that.�
He said the United States is about standing up to injustice.
�I believe we are a nation that is better than what we are seeing right now. We have become a country where people who work full-time jobs still find themselves �more month at the end of their money than money at the end of their month,�� he said.
Booker also assailed the criminal justice system, saying one of every three American adults has an arrest record and that the country is moving to a point where, quoting social justice advocate Bryan Stephenson, �you get treated better if you�re rich and guilty than if you�re poor and innocent.�
He said there is a need for a renewed commitment to quality education and a challenge to provide quality health care is negatively affecting citizens, noting, �We are a nation where people believe in the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but the ideal of life is challenged every day because people don�t take life-saving medication because they can�t afford it; where people don�t feel liberty because they are chained to fear that if they get sick or injured, they�re not going to be able to afford it and it will cast them into bankruptcy.�
This polarization has been daunting, but Booker believes it is not insurmountable, given the right leadership.
�We have got to admit to ourselves as a country that we have engaged now in a politics that pits American against American, that demeans and degrades some and tries to pull people down to lift other people up,� he said.
�And that kind of politics, I�m sorry � I was raised as a young man to believe in the ideals of our country, and even represented in other traditions, like the old African saying that if �you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.� That is our history.�
He summarized his campaign by noting, �I am running for president not just because of the quality of my ideas and my policy proposals � I am running because I think we need that revival in our country; a reminder of who we are to each other! A reminder, as King said, that we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a common garment of destiny � that we are a great people.�
During the Q and A, he told the person who asked if he is taking PAC money that he does not.
�I want to run this campaign on small-money contributions; let that be the lifeblood of this campaign.�
He said he is proud of his long record to fight against high prescription prices, dating back to when he was mayor of Newark. He said one of the first things he would do if he were elected would be to lower prescription prices through commonsense measure, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate down prices. He called that �something that should have been done years ago.�
Another person said President Trump seems to be testing his powers and asked how he would act as president.
�I will stay in my lane,� Booker responded, �and I will be turning to the American public and saying, �Hey, if we want to see these things changed, we need to elect a Congress that really reflects our values,� taking on money in politics, gerrymandering and voter suppression.�
He also talked about military actions without congressional approval, including in Yemen and Syria, and he added that he would fight to give military personnel who are sent to fight the wars the health care they deserve.
Andy Davis of the World Fellowship Center of Albany asked about arms exports.
�I�m a guy who lives every day with the threat of gun violence,� said Booker, noting he had not thought of the export issue but that he would look into it.
�Whether I�m a senator or a city councilman or maybe no title, I will spend the rest of my life trying to get commonsense gun safety laws for our country,� pledged Booker, drawing applause.
Booker was in the Granite State Saturday through Monday as part of his �New Hampshire Rise Tour,� which started in Portsmouth, went to North Conway, and from there, on Sunday to a meet-and-greet at the Governor�s Inn in Rochester. The rest of Sunday was spent at events in Manchester. On Monday, he was scheduled to appear at a house party in Nashua at the home of Sen. Cindy Rosenwald and Dr. Peter Klementowicz.
“We are at a time where there is a lot of moral vandalism going on and an assault on our institutions and our ideals,” he said. “We’re getting to a place (and I’ve met with people across the country) where people are beginning to ask openly about the forces that are beginning to rip us apart stronger than what holds us together. *****“Whether I’m a senator or a city councilman or maybe no title, I will spend the rest of my life trying to get commonsense gun safety laws for our country,” pledged Booker, drawing applause.
2020 Vision: Beto O’Rourke plans whirlwind tour of NH
Julian Castro acknowledges that right now he�s a long shot for the Democratic presidential nomination.
But the former San Antonio mayor who later served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, says that with the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary still more than 10 months away, time is on his side.
�If the election were held tomorrow, I know that I wouldn�t win tomorrow. But the election�s not held tomorrow. We still have 47 weeks until New Hampshire votes,� Castro said in an interview Monday with Seacoast Media Group.
The candidate also contrasted himself with some of his 2020 Democratic rivals who�ve served in Congress, touting �I�m one of the few folks in this race that have executive experience. That has a track record of getting things done. And I believe that people are ready for somebody who actually knows what they�re doing in that position.�
Castro also contrasted himself with fellow Texan Beto O�Rourke, who�s also running for the Democratic presidential nomination.
As Castro arrived in New Hampshire - for his second trip since declaring his candidacy in January - O�Rourke announced an eye-popping $6.1 million fundraising haul in the first day of his presidential campaign, the most yet by any 2020 Democratic White House hopeful. O�Rourke declared his candidacy last week, with the ensuing swing grabbing large crowds and extensive media coverage.
�I didn�t grow up the front runner. In the neighborhood that I grew up in, the way that I grew up, the way that a lot of people of different backgrounds grow up, they don�t grow up the front runner,� said Castro, the only Latino candidate in the race.
While O�Rourke has been criticized the past few days for growing up privileged, Castro emphasized that being a longer shot candidate who grew up with modest means could benefit him at the ballot box.
�I�m going to go out there and speak to a whole bunch of people in New Hampshire and across the country that don�t feel like they�re the front runner either these days. And I believe that�s a lot of people,� he pointed out.
Asked about the wall-to-wall media coverage of O�Rourke�s launch and his early foray on the campaign trail, Castro said, �My hope is that all of the candidates that are in this race, the 15 or 16 in this race, will have an opportunity to show the American people what they�re about.�
�The Democratic Party learned a lot from the experience in 2016 and because of that they�ve made positive changes to ensure that people across the spectrum have a voice. The networks hopefully have learned a lot as well. And hopefully they�ll make changes in terms of how they treat all of the candidates. That�s just as important because the voters rely on those networks to get their information,� he added.
Castro was interviewed after meeting with students, faculty, and nearby voters at an event held in the atrium at the University of New Hampshire�s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics. It was the candidate�s second stop in a jam-packed day long swing through New Hampshire.
O�Rourke�s ambitious NH itinerary
As Castro was taking questions at UNH, O�Rourke�s campaign announced that the former three-term congressman from Texas would make stops in every New Hampshire county in a 48-hour swing starting Tuesday evening.
The campaign said that O�Rourke�s visit would kick off with a meet and greet at Keene State College on Tuesday evening and that the swing �will include events in all 10 counties of the state.�
They added that O�Rourke will conclude his trip to New Hampshire on Thursday afternoon and that �additional details about the trip are forthcoming.�
O�Rourke will be introduced in Keene by 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Molly Kelly - who lives in nearby Harrisville.
Williamson returns to the Seacoast region
She was recently in Exeter, and White House long shot Marianne Williamson made another stop in the area on Monday. The best-selling spiritual author and adviser and friend to Oprah Winfrey paid a visit to Dover.
The Democratic presidential candidate took a walking tour of some downtown businesses and met with Dover-based attorney Bill Shaheen, a Democratic National Committee member from New Hampshire and longtime party activist who�s married to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
Republican hosting 2020 Democrats in the Seacoast
Castro�s event at UNH was hosted by Alex Talcott, an adjunct business law professor at UNH and adjunct senior lecturer at Great Bay Community College.
Talcott, a registered Republican who�s also the managing partner at Portsmouth-based Seacoast Financial Planning and Tax Services, has now held events at UNH with four 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and likely contenders.
Besides Castro, the roster included Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio and Eric Swalwell of California - who are moving towards launching campaigns, and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who�s taking steps towards launching a Republican primary challenge against GOP President Donald Trump.
Talcott said that former Congressman John Delaney of Maryland, who declared his candidacy back in the summer of 2017, is next up.
Talcott told Seacoast Media Group that the students are the real draw for the candidates.
He added that �I don�t really pitch anything� to the campaigns other than that students will take part in the conversations with the candidates.
Talcott�s message to the students is �not only do they matter, they�re essential.�
Presidential candidate Gabbard stumps in North Hampton
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, spoke to a full capacity crowd in North Hampton�s Centennial Hall on Sunday. It was the second day of campaigning in the Granite State for the 2020 presidential hopeful, who described her definition of �aloha� to voters.
�The reason we start our conversations with aloha, is that it�s a word that means we are all brothers and sisters, going beyond some of the things people tend to use to divide us.�
Gabbard called for an end to �self-serving politicians fomenting hatred and bigotry,� in what she saw as a betrayal of the founding fathers original promise of unity.
�It breaks my heart to see how far we�ve gone from that vision,� she said.
In her speech, Gabbard, who is an Iraq War veteran, addressed the Trump administration�s recent declaration the U.S. will abandon the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia.
�In Hawaii a year ago we went through something that made the reality of this threat all too clear,� she said. In January 2018, Hawaiian residents received an emergency text message that ballistic missiles were launched and to seek shelter. �The alarm itself turned out to be false, but the reason people reacted the way they did is because the threat is real,� Gabbard said.
In foreign policy, Gabbard said she espouses a strict non-interventionist approach, and has opposed U.S. foreign intervention and regime change wars in places like Iraq and Syria. Some of her foreign policy initiatives have drawn bi-partisan criticism, particularly a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017.
�People ask me �why do you talk about these issues of foreign policy, these are things happening in other places, why don�t you talk more about domestic issues?�� said Gabbard. �What is more domestic than our very existence?�
Elected as a Hawaii state representative at age 21, Gabbard joined the National Guard after 9/11 and went on to serve two tours of duty in Iraq. She continues to serve today as a major in the Army National Guard.
Since being elected to Congress in 2013, Gabbard has positioned herself as a progressive notable. She departed her post as vice-chair of the DNC to support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary race.
On the domestic front, Gabbard supports universal healthcare, raising the minimum wage and combating the cost of higher education as a for-profit venture.
�My father-in-law is a public school teacher in Hawaii and he just turned 61 years old, and he is still paying off his college loans,� said Gabbard. �This is a story that is not unique or different, it�s something that is squashing and crushing the dreams of far too many people.�
Today at age 37, Gabbard is the youngest declared candidate in an ever-expanding field for president, and the first to have Hindu-American and Pacific Islander heritage.
�We got to flip this thing on its head once again,� said Gabbard. �And make sure that as we look at how these policies need to change - that we are putting the well-being of the people first.�
“We got to flip this thing on its head once again,” said Gabbard. “And make sure that as we look at how these policies need to change - that we are putting the well-being of the people first.”
Sen. Kamala Harris vows to correct ‘extreme inequities’
On a snow-covered Presidents Day in first-in-the-nation primary New Hampshire, Sen. Kamala Harris rallied the largest crowd in the state a 2020 candidate has seen yet during a stump at historic South Church.
The Democratic junior senator from California spoke to an estimated 1,000 people Monday, continuing her campaign for �truth and justice� while kicking off her two-day swing through the Granite State. The line to see Harris swept through downtown and formed two hours prior, despite the cold temperatures and consistent snowfall.
Born to immigrant Indian and Jamaican parents, Harris, now 54 years old, became the first black woman to serve as California�s attorney general, and later was elected as U.S. senator in 2017. She officially announced her campaign for the presidency on Jan. 21.
Portsmouth�s South Church has been a backdrop for many past political candidates, thought of as the �social conscious of the community,� board chair CJ Cogswell introduced, touting acceptance to people of all identities. In the 1700s, it was South Church where the first Africans were baptized in the state.
�We are looking at extreme inequities and we have to correct course,� Harris told Monday�s crowd. �This is a moment in time that is requiring each of us, and collectively, to look in the mirror and ask this question, �Who are we?� And I believe part of the answer to that question is, �We are better than this.��
Sen. Kamala Harris visits Portsmouth
Harris took aim at tax cuts for corporations, family separation at the southern border and lobbyist influence on gun laws. In its current state, she said, America is �not working for working people.� She said most families cannot afford a $400 unexpected emergency, and many are subject to bankruptcy because of inability to pay medical bills. She called for Medicare for all.
Harris fielded questions on drug prices, mental health, climate change, and voter suppression. The latter, she said, is sure to happen again in 2020, and she encouraged attendees to be prepared, not only for homegrown attempts, but also the �other voter manipulation,� Russia. Her remarks came after a member of grassroots organization Indivisible New Hampshire asked if she would support a federal voter rights act, and making Election Day a national holiday. Harris replied, �Absolutely.�
Paul O�Connor, a retired union leader from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and currently IBEW national director, told Harris he�s tired of the way labor unions and federal employees are being �vilified.� He asked what Harris would do as president to �restore the dignity.�
2020 Vision: Harris vows �to compete� in NH
February 18, 2019
Sen. Kamala Harris visits Portsmouth
�There has been an erosion of labor and organized labor because there are powerful interests that know when working people unite, especially around collective bargaining, that working people win,� Harris said. �When working people win, America wins.�
A young woman seated on stage behind Harris identified herself as an undocumented immigrant college student, concerned for her own safety, as well as her parents� safety. Harris said the U.S. has to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and create a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people residing here.
�We have a president of the United States who has created a fiction about a crisis at the border. .... A distraction from the real issues,� Harris said.
The last question of the event came from community organizer Crystal Paradis, who asked Harris if she would support a current bill in New Hampshire at the federal level, one that would rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. Harris said she recently introduced a bill that would make lynching a federal crime. For 200 years, she said, it couldn�t pass the Senate, but last week, it finally did.
�People did not want to deal and accept and admit that we are the scene of a crime when it comes to what we did with slavery and Jim Crow and institutionalized racism,� Harris said. In an answer to Paradis� question, she said, �We have to remember our history.�
Several attendees at Monday�s event had already picked Harris as �that� candidate, although more than a dozen have also thrown their hats into the ring. Others were taking time to get to know the large field.
A self-proclaimed political junkie, Jane Kavanaugh, of Rye, said, �In my lifetime, there will be a woman president, and she might be it.� Kavanaugh said Harris comes across as appealing and honest, and she�s confident the Democrats will end up with a �good candidate.�
Cheri Sullivan traveled to the event from North Conway. �I�m looking for a strong candidate, someone who can really speak for the people, who can stand up for the rights of people in a way that can be heard,� she said. �I�m really looking for someone who can win, and maybe even convince the Republicans to come over and vote for them. And I think she�s got that voice.�
Sullivan said she thinks Harris can beat President Donald Trump. �I think in a debate, she�ll knock him out,� she said. �I think she�ll talk him right down to the ground.�
Air Force veteran Jerry Freeman, of Portsmouth, said he�d like to see Harris become president. �We need to get people together,� Freeman said. �The only thing that will ever destroy us is if we as people don�t get together. I�m kind of afraid the guy that�s in there now really has some connections to Russia. That�s not good. The Republicans are just going along with the flow.�
Jim Verschueren, chair of the Dover Democrats, said Harris first came into view for him during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. �I think there are several really great candidates, and I think she�s in the top tier,� he said.
“There has been an erosion of labor and organized labor because there are powerful interests that know when working people unite, especially around collective bargaining, that working people win,” Harris said. “When working people win, America wins.” *****
2020 Vision: Harris vows ‘to compete’ in NH
Sen. Kamala Harris wanted to clear the air right away.
At her first major event on her first trip to New Hampshire since launching her presidential campaign -- the Democrat from California told the crowd packed into South Church that �I just want to get this out of the way. I intend to compete in New Hampshire. I intend to spend time here. I intend to shake every hand that I possibly can. I intend to talk to you. I want to listen to you. I want to be challenged by you.�
The pledge by Harris, and a vow earlier in the day to a crowd in Concord as well as at news conference with reporters, was a concerted effort by the senator to push back on a perception that New Hampshire - which holds the first primary in the race for the White House - would be a lower priority for the candidate than the other states that also vote early in the presidential nominating calendar.
Harris - the daughter of parents from Jamaica and India - would be the first woman and second African-American to win the White House if she ultimately succeeds.
Even before her formal launch four weeks ago, the candidate headed to South Carolina, the first southern state to vote in nomination race. And she visited Iowa - which votes first - a few days later.
Sen. Kamala Harris vows to correct �extreme inequities�
February 18, 2019
Iowa and South Carolina, where black voters make up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate, are likely to figure heavily into Harris�s prospects.
�I plan on competing in New Hampshire. I plan on doing very well in New Hampshire,� Harris emphasized to the crowd in Portsmouth.
The senator spelled out her progressive platform to the audience, calling for tax breaks for middle class families.
�We know America�s not working for working people. Which in fact is why I propose we change the tax code to reflect the needs of working people,� Harris explained.
She proposed that families making less than $100,000 per year �get a tax credit such that they get to collect $500 a month to be able to meet the cost of living.�
On health care, she said that �access to health care should not be a privilege, it should be a right. Which is why I support Medicare for All.�
�One of the reasons that I support it is because when it would be achieved, we would be able to negotiate on behalf of all of us against the pharmaceutical companies, which means we would be able to bring down the prices,� she explained.
Harris said he would �absolutely� make Election Day a national holiday if she was elected president.
�In the 2018 election cycle we saw massive voter suppression taking place,� she pointed out. �Voter impression and intimidation are happening across our nation.�
And she warned that in 2020 we�re �going to see these attempts happen again.�
On the environment, she said to loud applause that �climate change is real ... and it is within our power to do something about it.�
Harris explained that �I am supporting the Green New Deal.�
The wide-ranging proposal to battle climate change enjoys strong support from progressives - and has been backed by many of the Democratic presidential contenders - but has been ridiculed by Republicans.
�We have to have goals,� Harris explained. �It�s a resolution that requires us to have goals and think about what we can achieve and put metrics on it. Some of them we�ll achieve. Some of them, we don�t. But if we don�t aspire, this is going to be a bad ending.�
She added that when it comes to battling climate change, �clearly we don�t have a leader in the White House on this.�
That was one of the many indirect snipes she took at Republican President Donald Trump and his administration.
Harris - a longtime prosecutor who served as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general - indirectly described Trump as a liar, saying �I plan on prosecuting the case against people who do not tell the truth ... and that case will be successfully prosecuted, because there�s a lot of evidence.�
Booker vows to ‘attack’ contaminated water
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker says America needs �to be making bigger investments� in cleaning up contaminated water.
�As president of the United States I will attack it head on not just in this community but in communities around the country,� Booker said Saturday in an interview with Seacoast Media Group.
�Across this country we have a real problem with contaminated water that�s affecting children, the elderly, all of us. So we must have a much more ambitious plan for cleaning up drinking water,� the Democrat from New Jersey urged.
Booker, a former two-term Newark, New Jersey, mayor before being elected to the U.S. Senate, said �I feel this issue very personally and it started me on a journey across the country because Newark has the same issue.
�We have lead in our water. We live right next to a Superfund site that has poisoned the Passaic River and it sent me out to go visit other communities that are facing the same thing.�
With ongoing water contamination issues at Pease International Tradeport and the Coakley landfill in Greenland and North Hampton, the topic is of upmost concern to many Seacoast residents.
Booker was interviewed minutes before he headlined an event at the 3S Artspace in downtown Portsmouth, his first public stop during a jam-packed three-day swing in the first-in-the-nation primary state. It was Booker�s first trip to New Hampshire since recently launching his campaign for the White House.
�I�m going to be going all over this state, talking to everybody I can, shaking as many hands, knocking on as many doors, standing in as many living rooms,� Booker said. �I love this state and I love the people here because they take this responsibility very seriously.�
Booker also took aim at President Donald Trump over his declaration of a national border emergency.
�If there�s any emergency at the border, it�s the one he created, the crisis he created. If there�s any crisis, you see it in humanitarian issues about separating families, caging children and more,� he said in his interview.
The president on Friday declared a national emergency along the southern border, potentially allowing him to divert billions in Defense Department funding toward wall construction.
�We�re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border ... one way or the other, we have to do it,� Trump said in the Rose Garden.
But Booker argued �we�ve been making progress and we still need to do more to secure our border but not with a wasteful wall.�
Booker on Thursday joined four other Democratic U.S. senators running for the White House - Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts - in voting against a bipartisan compromise that prevented another government shutdown. The deal also gave the president $1.3 billion for the construction of barriers along the U.S.-Mexican border, far less than the more than $5 billion Trump demanded.
�This is outrageous,� Booker said of the president�s actions. �I didn�t vote for that simply because of the way the president has his posture towards all this,� Booker said.
Booker spoke and took questions for nearly an hour and a half with a crowd his campaign estimated at nearly 500 people.
Booker touted his credentials as a fighter and pushing back against those who ridicule his advocacy of politics of love. �Come on,� he said, �love is the most powerful force, that it can topple the strongest of leaders.�
And he touted his credentials citing how he rose up through the ranks in Newark. But, he added, the 2020 election �cannot be just about who can beat the guy in the White House... this has got to be not just about how to beat somebody but how to unite all of us.�
Booker isn�t the only candidate in the Seacoast this three-day holiday weekend. Gillibrand, Harris, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg are all making stops in the region.
“As president of the United States I will attack it head on not just in this community but in communities around the country,” Booker said Saturday in an interview with Seacoast Media Group. *****
Yang points to economic threat of job automation
If the American economy is like a baseball game, 2020 presidential hopeful Andrew Yang says it�s taking a beating.
Yang cites reports by MIT, McKinsey & Company, and Bain & Company that state by 2030, 20 to 40 percent of American jobs will be automated. He said in manufacturing communities across America where jobs were off-shored or automated, half of the workforce never returned to the labor market. And half of that group filed for disability. He said drug overdoses and suicides spiked among those who filed for disability.
�The reason why Donald Trump won the election 2016 is that we automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa; all the swing states he needed to win and did win,� Yang, 42, said Friday. �My friends in Silicon Valley know we�re going to do the same thing to millions of retail workers, call center workers, fast food workers and most disastrously: truck drivers. It�s the third inning of the greatest economic and technological transformation of the history of the world, and that third inning brought us Donald Trump.�
With the New Hampshire primary a year away, Yang, a self-described serial entrepreneur running as a Democrat, visited Exeter Friday, returning to Phillips Exeter Academy where he graduated in 1992 after growing up in Westchester, New York. He founded the nonprofit Venture for America so he could take the entrepreneurial skills of recent college graduates in the most economically vibrant parts of the country, such as Boston, New York and San Francisco, and use their talent to reinvigorate areas decimated by job automation, like the Rust Belt. So far, Venture for America has created 2,500 jobs in cities such as Cleveland and Detroit.
Yang�s central issue is the fate of American workers when automation wipes out millions of jobs. He cites truck drivers. He laid out a scenario of social upheaval because truckers with daily hour limits are replaced by automated trucks that can be on the road 24/7. Combined with the high volume of former military members in the industry in a country awash with more than 300 million guns in the civilian population, Yang said these factors have the potential to create �violence and chaos.�
�What happened to the manufacturing workers is likely to happen to the truck drivers,� he said. �Truck drivers are likely to be much more resistant because they are in a different situation than manufacturing workers. Many of them own their own trucks, they owe money on their trucks, a lot are ex-military and suddenly they�re replaced by robots. They have driving hour restrictions. How can they compete?�
Yang�s solution? He calls it �The Freedom Dividend,� a universal basic income plan, or UBI. He is proposing every adult citizen of the United States be eligible to receive $1,000 a month, with no work requirement, so they can pay down bills, or any number of ways to stimulate commerce on a microeconomic level. The Freedom Dividend would be paid for by a tax on businesses that automate much of their operations.
_(UBI) will help rejuvenate rural areas and �red� states because it�s essentially a net wealth transfer from coastal companies to the interior,� he said. �It�s building a trickle-up economy - going from human beings, families and communities - up. This is the most New Hampshire policy you can imagine: It improves people�s liberty and freedom and would add $8 billion to the state�s consumer economy. The money you�re sending to Amazon would come back and allow people to reopen main street businesses and give kids a reason to stay (after college).�
For those who dismiss UBI as a socialist handout, Yang points to Alaska where oil companies pay into the Alaska Permanent Fund and state residents receive an annual dividend.
�In Alaska, a deeply conservative state, the argument was who would you rather get the oil money? The government, who�s just going to screw it up, or the Alaskan people?� he said. �Now it�s widely popular, it�s created hundreds of jobs, improved children�s health and decreased income inequality. What conservatives hate is a government bureaucracy making all our decisions for us. (UBI) provides freedom and autonomy.�
Yang has never held public office but said his knowledge and passion for empowering entrepreneurial ventures in forsaken places, gives him a closer connection to the economic woes plaguing pockets of the country than other Democrats running in 2020 with longer political resumes. He is also concerned about the need to create solutions to address climate change, but says, the problems can�t be solved if a vast majority of Americans are too concerned with putting dinner on the table.
�If I can�t pay my bills, the penguins can wait in line,� he said. �It�s hard for people to wrap their minds around something that seems so abstract and forward looking. So, if we get the economic boot off people�s throats and lift them from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of abundance of the future, then we can galvanize our society towards real solutions on climate change, but the two have to be connected.�
″(UBI) will help rejuvenate rural areas and ‘red’ states because it’s essentially a net wealth transfer from coastal companies to the interior,” he said. “It’s building a trickle-up economy - going from human beings, families and communities - up. This is the most New Hampshire policy you can imagine: It improves people’s liberty and freedom and would add $8 billion to the state’s consumer economy. The money you’re sending to Amazon would come back and allow people to reopen main street businesses and give kids a reason to stay (after college).”
Warren: The country is in a ‘dangerous moment’
When Elizabeth Warren visited town, her message was one of unity in the name of making changes to the corruption she sees in politics, where she says government works only for the rich and not for the average American family.
�This is our chance to dream big, to fight hard and win,� Warren said. �You in New Hampshire are an important part of this. It�s an investment in democracy and in truth. If you believe in that, be a part of it. You don�t get what you don�t fight for. The abolitionists, the suffragettes, were told it�s too hard. Give up. Early union organizers, foot soldiers in the civil rights movement and early gay rights activists were told it�s too hard. They didn�t give up. They organized a movement and changed the course of this country. This is our chance to fight hard and to make changes. Our country is in a dangerous moment and the direction we take is going to set a course for generations to come.�
The lines waiting to see the Massachusetts Democratic senator and presidential hopeful stretched down the stairs of the old Town Hall and snaked around Water Street.
Warren spoke about her upbringing in Oklahoma. She talked about hard times and how her family overcame hardship, how she persevered until she reached her goals.
�My story is a story about all families and about government,� said Warren. �My mother�s minimum wage job saved our home and family. Today, it will not keep a mom and baby out of poverty. It is wrong and I do not want to see it continue. Minimum wage used to be set based on what it will take for a family of three to survive. Now it�s what will it do for multi-million dollar corporations. I want a government that is for the family again.�
Warren said Washington works great for giant drug companies, and giant oil companies, not for people who need a prescription or who see climate change bearing down, not for people trying to live paycheck to paycheck.
�It�s corruption, pure and simple, that touches every family in this country,� said Warren. �For decades wages have been flat. Health insurance has doubled, college tuition tripled, and the cost of child care is up 700 percent. We have a problem, a government that works for those at the top, and now is our time to fight back.�
One of the people who came to see what Warren had to say was Jeff Donald of Brentwood. He said he has not yet decided on a candidate, but that Warren was one of his top picks.
�She is one of the few I really like,� said Donald. �She really gets into policy and she has some good ideas. I think she really focuses on equality and battling racism and those are ideals important to me.�
Denise Spacinski of Newburyport Mass. is volunteering for Warren�s campaign because she believes in her.
�She is our senator and I have liked her from the beginning,� said Spacinski. �She looks like she�d be a grandmother taking you for a stroll, but she has always stood up to tough opponents. As far as I can see she is straight as an arrow and considering what we are dealing with that is something we need.�
State Sen. Jon Morgan, D-Brentwood, said in introducing Warren, �I am here because I had enough of the anger and the bigotry. I have had enough of turning a blind eye to the science that is damaging our next generation.�
Warren said the country needs big, systemic changes to the rules in Washington, to the rules about the economy and to the rules of politics.
�In Washington, we need to attack the corruption head on,� said Warren. �Big problems take big solutions. We need to end lobbying as we know it, to stop the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. We need to make the Supreme Court follow basic rules of ethics. Every person who runs for federal office should have to put their tax returns out.�
Her last comment garnered loud applause.
On the economy, Warren said giant multi-national corporations run over their workers, their customers and the communities they are in.
�We need power on the other side of the system,� she said. �Let�s make it easier to join unions and give unions more power.�
If elected Warren is proposing a two percent tax increase to the country�s wealthiest families. She said with that, student loan debt could be wiped out, with $2 trillion dollars left over for other needs of the American people, like health care.
�I am calling it a fairness tax,� said Warren. �They all use roads; fire departments and we all pay for it. In 2020; if we make the credible case that we understand what�s broken and we have a real plan to fix it, and we have the grassroots to make it happen, we will be able to make the change we need come 2021.�
Committing to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure, Amy Klobuchar flaunts tech expertise in Iowa rural broadband talks
Des Moines Register
STANTON, Ia. � The�day after releasing a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, the first policy proposal of her campaign for president, Sen. Amy Klobuchar traveled to southwest Iowa, where historic flooding crumbled roads and�levees�this month.
Friday afternoon in Stanton, a town of�700 settled by Swedish immigrants and dotted with "velkommen" signs, the Minnesota senator led an�informal panel of local business leaders�at the�Farmers Mutual Telephone Company. After a tour of the facilities, she said her goal is to connect every American household to internet by 2022.
"To bridge the rural-urban divide, you have to be able to email someone," Klobuchar, a Democrat, said. "I'm still astounded that�one out of four�rural families doesn't have internet. ... Yet the whole country of Iceland is hooked up. I truly believe we can do this across the nation by 2022 � we just have to put some funding into it."�
Klobuchar laid out her first major policy plan�in a Medium post�Thursday. In it, she called�for a corporate tax rate of 25 percent to help pay for�initiatives�including expanding public transit, repairing roads and bridges, and increasing access to clean water.�
To pay for the plan, Klobuchar proposed a�$650 billion increase in federal spending, as well as allocating�$25 billion in seed money to attract�"$250 to $300 billion in direct loans, loan guarantees, and other forms of credit enhancement."
Over a lunch of Casey's pizza and coffee, Klobuchar asked detailed questions of�the panelists on the challenges of making the internet accessible. Klobuchar sits on the Senate Committee on�Commerce, Science, and Transportation, tasked with improving the country's telecommunications.
"She definitely understands this stuff," said Shawnna Silvius, the executive director of Montgomery County Development Corporation. "And that's what it'll take to get it done." Silvius said Klobuchar's�plan to fund the initiative�sounds realistic and "exciting."
Kevin Cabbage, the Farmers Mutual Telephone Company's�general manager, said his company�provides high-speed fiber optic internet to five towns, including Stanton, and has built out access to five others as it works to reach the rural areas between. Internet provided by Mediacom, CenturyLink and Windstream is highly unreliable in the area, the panelists repeatedly said, which hurts population retention rates.�
To expand access to all of Montgomery County, he said the company needs more funding.�
"If you don't provide an an equal playing field for access for small businesses to come up with the next good idea, it really puts a total advantage on bigger businesses�... and that creates more and more monopolies,"�she said.
After the panel, Klobuchar headed to Omaha to talk with labor leaders about�renewable energy and weatherization efforts.
Klobuchar is focused�on infrastructure because it's�a "bread and butter issue," she told reporters in Stanton. "This issue to me is so frustrating because it's actually doable and it's just been a bunch of rhetoric.
"People in this country are tired of the chaos, they're�tired of all the talk, and they're ready for someone who's going to seize on this opportunity to get things done."
Later in�Pacific Junction,�homeowners and parents Fran and Jason Parr greeted�Klobuchar on the side of the road to share their story. While the water is receding�about 8 inches each day,�they haven't been able to get to their house since evacuating two weeks ago.�
The Parrs' home was built around 1920, old enough to have horse hair in its�plaster walls. Two and a half miles east of the Missouri River, it's�likely a total loss, they�said. Without much warning, they�grabbed what they could and took their 4-year-old identical twins to safety.
After thanking Klobuchar for visiting, taking off her thick glove to shake the senator's hand, Fran joked that, "We've each got our own battles this year, huh?"�
"That's for sure," Klobuchar replied. "If you can handle this, I can handle that."
Kirsten Gillibrand says she's the opposite of Donald Trump � that's what she's hoping will put her on the leaderboard
Des Moines Register
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand took jab after jab at Republican President Donald Trump to the raucous applause of the crowd at Barrel House in Davenport this week.
She condemned Trump for his policies � expressing heartache over kids detained at the border and anger about his banning transgender people from serving in the military � and noted that she voted against Trump's nominees for cabinet positions.
"I have never heard of something more outrageous in my life coming from a commander in chief that never served," she said to the local crowd in the bar.
While other candidates may shy away from focusing on Trump in their Iowa campaign messaging, Gillibrand said she is ready to brawl as the antithesis of Trump.
She plans to close out her weeklong campaign swing Sunday in front of New York City's Trump International Hotel, developed by the sitting president, to deliver a campaign speech.
"I will restore what has been lost," Gillibrand told the Register. "I will restore the notion that we should care about one another. That in our best moments, we are people that believe in the golden rule: That we should treat others the way that we want to be treated."
She told the Register that if elected, she would repeal all of Trump's executive orders, prioritizing the ones that impact the environment and climate.
But beyond her policy attacks on Trump, Gillibrand focused on her life as a mom and a woman who has developed and displays empathy and compassion.
As young boy played and pulled on a table at Barrel House during a photo line, Gillibrand gently maneuvered him away to safety and held his mother's hands as the woman shared the struggles the black community faces.
Some voters in Dubuque County, a county that made a drastic shift toward Trump in 2016, appreciated Gillibrand's anti-Trump message. But others were wary.
"It was exciting to hear perspective from a female candidate, particularly since the 2016 loss was so devastating. I'm leaning more towards caucusing for her," said Abby Melbourne, 18, of Bettendorf. "I like that she talks so much about restoring the moral authority of America."
Nick Fisch, 25, of Dubuque, said Gillbrand's message didn't resonate as much as Beto O'Rourke's did during the Texan's recent visit to Dubuque.
Fisch noted that Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer won her race in November � and barely mentioned Trump.
"I'm looking for a candidate that can inspire people to go out for them versus against the current president," Fisch said.
Polling at the bottom in Iowa
In the most recent Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll, 35 percent of those polled viewed her favorably and 6 percent view her unfavorably. She was among the candidates who were not named by a single poll respondent as a first choice pick.
"I just announced this week, so I have a long way to go to earn the support of caucusgoers," Gillibrand said. "But I fully intend to meet them, ask them for their support and win them over with my vision for this country and what I'm willing to do to make this country thrive."
Though she polled at zero percent in March, that isn't an indication of how she'll perform once the caucuses roll around in February of next year, said Eric Woolson, a Republican political strategist.
Previous caucus winners, like Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012, originally polled at the bottom of the pack.
"Frankly, I�d rather start near the bottom than near the top," Woolson said. "The caucuses are all about building momentum."
Candidates who peak early can also be targets for criticism and attacks by their lower-polling competitors, Woolson said.
The challenge for low-polling candidates, particularly in a crowded field, is getting noticed.
"For someone in her position, way behind in the polls, there�s time to make something happen," Woolson said.
Gillibrand told the Register that she isn't planning on holding large rallies and prefers smaller gatherings where she can meet with communities and listen to their needs, she said.
So far, she has filled up three black leather notebooks with notes from her presidential campaign. They're scribbled in loopy cursive with the names of constituents and their concerns like clean water or education.
To help her travel this summer across the state, she's planning on getting an RV.
"Hopefully I'm going to bring Maple, my dog."
Iowa caucuses 2020: Frontrunner Bernie Sanders brings his 'political revolution' back to Iowa
Des Moines Register
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders kicked off his second Iowa campaign the same way he concluded his first.
He railed against Wall Street.
He criticized billionaires and the growing chasm between the nation's rich and poor.
He jabbed his right hand in the air, pointing in revulsion as he talked about the high costs of prescription drugs and medical care.
"With your help, we are going to transform this country and create an economy and a government that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent," Sanders said on Thursday, echoing the crux of his last presidential campaign.
But the 77-year-old senator from Vermont launched his 2020 Iowa campaign miles ahead of where he began before the 2016 Iowa caucuses, when he challenged former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a political outsider.
Sanders walked onto the stage at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs Thursday evening as a frontrunner: A December Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed the senator polling at 19 percent, second only to former Vice President Joe Biden, who was the preferred candidate for 32 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers polled.
Three years ago, Sanders called for a "political revolution" fueled by working and middle-class Americans. Those same themes ran throughout his nearly hour-long speech in front of 2,000 rowdy supporters in western Iowa.
While Sanders has not abandoned his long-held political platform, he said his policy proposals � like instituting a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage, providing Medicare to all Americans and free public college for all � are now mainstream tenets within the Democratic party.
"Those ideas that we talked about here in Iowa four years ago that seemed so radical at the time � remember that?" he asked. "Well today, virtually all of those ideas are supported by strong majorities of the American people."
Sanders pointed to Iowa as the place where his political movement first earned traction. He said he wanted to extend a "very, very special thanks to the people of this great state."
"Iowa, you helped begin the political revolution in 2016," he said, "and with your help on this campaign, we�re going to complete what we started here."
Kierra Near, a 20-year-old student at the nearby University of Nebraska-Lincoln, sat on stage behind Sanders after a staffer plucked her out of the crowd. A registered Democrat, she said she will still consider other candidates. But Sanders' call to enact new policies to combat global climate change got her attention.
"He got me," she said. "I'm all about environmental issues."
Cyndie Poffenbarger said Sanders is best equipped to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020.
"Because he's honest," said the 64-year-old from Council Bluffs. "More people know him this time."
Wearing a "Bernie 2016" cap and a "Bernie 2020" T-shirt, Poffenbarger said Sanders stands out in a wide field of Democratic presidential candidates. She said she's drawn to Sanders' consistent support of universal healthcare and a $15 minimum wage.
"I followed him for like 10 years before he ever ran for president," she said. "I've always admired Bernie Sanders."
Sanders speech on Thursday ticked off a litany of policy proposals and cast a pessimistic view of the state of the nation. He spoke about the nation's opioid crisis, decried the hollowing out of rural America and elicited boos when he rallied against the nation's "prison industrial complex."
"Please make no mistake about it, the struggle we are engaged in is not just about defeating Donald Trump, as important as that is," Sanders said. "This struggle is about taking on the incredibly powerful institutions that control the political and economic life of this country."
Beto O�Rourke outlines presidential priorities during campus visit
Before presidential candidate Beto O� Rourke took the stage Wednesday night, Jake Drobnick, an Iowa State University freshman, summed up the hour-and-a-half long wait by joking, �Beto late than never.�
When O�Rourke, who had a flight delayed at O�Hare Airport in Chicago, made an appearance donning a red Iowa State Cyclones hat, he told a crowd of 185 students and Ames residents packed in the ISU Memorial Union Maintenance Shop, that he�s �leading a critical charge to defeat (President) Donald Trump.�
�We�re all going to be on the same team, and whoever the nominees is, whether it�s a he or she, we are going to defeat Donald Trump,� said O�Rourke. �Don�t let them divide us. We are all Americans.�
O�Rourke is the latest Democratic presidential hopeful to visit Ames and Story County in recent weeks, and is among the 16 or so vying for their party�s presidential nomination in 2020.
O�Rourke said that his visit to Iowa, his second, is important because it sets the tone for the United States when comes to the election.
The Texas native said that the country is on the verge of a �progressive response� that will be accomplished with economic and political democracy.
�It will require a vigorous Democracy that involves a new voting rights act signed into law,� said O�Rouke. �But it will done by a political and economic Democracy.�
O�Rourke said that one way to accomplish those goals is by creating a fair voting environment, by establishing a new voter�s rights law, enacting same-day and automatic voter registration, ending countrywide gerrymandering and removing financial power out of the politics.
In terms of an economic Democracy, O�Rourke said that a nationwide minimum wage of $15 per hour and debt-free education are among his priorities.
O�Rourke, who announced his bid for presidency on March 14, said his first acts as president, if elected, would be pushing for universal healthcare and protecting reproductive rights for women.
�We have maternity crisis that is three times as deadly for women of color, we have a crisis in infant mortality. If your conscience does not call you to do the right thing, than maybe your self-interests will,� said O�Rourke. �When millions of Americans cannot see a doctor or cannot take their children to a therapist, they are not well enough to go to school, or work a job or star a business, we all lose out on the potential that is not realized.�
An ISU student challenged O�Rourke on his stance on reproductive rights by raising concerns about abortion as a method for �killing hundreds of babies,� O�Rourke answered with �frank candor.�
�While I respect your question, I must answer with frank candor� said O�Rourke. �Since 1973, Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land and more than anyone else, I trust a woman with the help of her doctor to make her own decisions about her own body.�
One of the major talking points of the question and answer portion of the event was climate change, and O�Rourke furthered his environmental stance stating that he wants to meet a goal of getting to �net-zero� carbon emissions by the year 2030.
_(Climate change) is the greatest existential threat to our nation,� said O�Rouke. �Nothing else will matter if we do not take steps to address the climate going forward.�
If elected, O�Rourke said he would make environmental concerns and equality concerns his top priorities and said, �If elected President, I will sign into law �The Equality Act� to protect the civil rights of the gay, trans and minority communities.�
O�Rourke gained some steam following a competitive Senate race in Texas against incumbent Ted Cruz, but also seemed to be popular with viral videos of him doing town hall speeches while standing on tables.
�I heard a lot about Beto from viral videos on Twitter and the internet,� said Joaquin Ramirez, from Marshalltown. �But I also wanted to know where he stands out in the pack of candidates.�
In a crowded field of Democratic candidates, O�Rourke�s charisma seems to be setting him apart for some prospective voters.
Rick Osborne said, �I�ve heard a lot of buzz about Beto (O�Rourke), his charisma, and how he can move a room, and at some point you have to talk about policies, but it was interesting to see that charisma translate from the town halls you see on TV.�
Ultimately, policies will steer both Ames resident and Iowa State students come the first-in-the nation Feb. 3 Iowa Caucuses.
Iowa State student, Ben Whittington said, �A candidate that addresses student loan and debt assistance will attract my attention, since those issues will be at the forefront of my voting priorities.�
But for one Iowa State freshman, despite the late-start on Wednesday evening, O�Rouke got an �A+�.
�I found him engaging, inspiring, and he�s get an A+ from me because of how he mentioned reproductive rights and my right to choose what to do with my body,� said Taylor Miller.
Warren attacks corruption during stop in Perry
In her first visit to Dallas County, at La Poste in Perry, U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said that the United States has a chance to change the course of the country by �attacking corruption, changing economic rules, and protecting democracy.�
�I get that the three things I�m asking for are hard,� Warren said during her visit to Perry on Friday. �I get that it�s hard, but we can�t quit now. We have a chance to dream big and fight hard and win this thing in 2020.�
She is one of more than a dozen Democrats to officially declare their candidacy for their party�s presidential nomination in 2020, and just the latest to visit the region ahead of the Feb. 3, 2020, Iowa Caucuses.
On Friday, Warren said that attacking corruption is possible through systematic change and that the issue must be addressed �head-on.�
�We need big systemic change in this county,� Warren said. �We need to start, in my opinion, with the corruption problem in this country.�
Warren said that by ending lobbying in Washington D.C., stopping a revolving door between Wall Street and Washington, and establishing a principle that anyone who wants to run for federal office should make their tax returns public, corruption can be stopped in the United States.
Warren said she plans to change economic rules by changing the national minimum wage for the interest of working families.
�In America today, a full-time minimum wage job will not keep a mother and a baby out of poverty,� Warren said.
She said that instead of matching the national minimum wage to fit the interest of multinational cooperation, the national minimum wage should fit the interest of individuals.
After her opening remarks, Warren took questions from the audience stating, �Every issue that brought you here today, at the intersection of those issues is corruption.�
On the topic of climate change, Warren said, �I believe in science,� and noted that addressing climate change is a matter of urgency.
She voiced support for the proposed environmental stimulus package Green New Deal and said it�s vitally important for Iowans because it protects their infrastructure.
�Here in Iowa, think about the floods that came here. How many bridges were destroyed? This is going to keep happening unless we build now and protect our infrastructure,� Warren said.
One of the roughly 100 people in attendance, Manuel Valenzuela, one two Vietnam veterans from Colorado Springs, Colo., along with his brother Valente travel the country to speak out against the deportation of military personnel.
�So many of our brothers who fight our freedoms, fight for our rights are being stripped of theirs - and I know that Elizabeth Warren is the commander-in-chief that can bring them all back,� Manuel Valenzuela said in an interview with the Perry Chief, which is affiliated with the Ames Tribune.
Warren shook Valenzuela�s and made a vow to him saying, �My promise to you when I�m president of the United States (is that) no veterans will be deported.�
In a further discussion of immigration policies, when asked by Perry Mayor John Andorf about what she would do for immigration, Warren said immigration laws need to reflect American values.
�We need immigration laws that are fair and equitable, keep our families safe, and create a path to citizenship,� Warren said.�We keep families together. We don�t separate families.�
Throughout the event, Warren touted her fighting spirit, especially in the political arena.
When asked by an audience member about her �electability� and how she would hold her own against Republican incumbent President Donald Trump in a general election she said, �I know how to fight and I know how to win.�
In a crowded Democratic field that boasts 16 candidates, the Massachussetts senator seemed to stand out for some event-goers.
�What appeals to me about Warren is that she has policies,� said Nancy Hanaman, of Rippey. �We don�t need someone who comes in, like our current president, who says I�m going to do all this and doesn�t have a plan of any kind and decides to put something together later.�
Debby Wicks, of Perry, said �I thought she did a great job here and she was to the point. There were some things about her that I didn�t even realize. I didn�t realize she was an educator and I thought that was interesting. I believe that we need some help with the education system and the environment and the corruption, everything that she said.�
Other event-goers are taking a wait-and-see approach in such a large and diverse field.
�I�m at the beginning stages. This isn�t my first rodeo,� said Chris Siebrasse, a retired dentist from Stuart. �Every four years we go out and we listen to the candidates and we make our choice. So that�s where I am.�
Booker focuses on inequality, divisiveness during stop in Ames
Sen. Cory Booker, one of more than a dozen 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, spoke messages of love and unity to a crowd of more than 200 people Sunday at Prairie Moon Winery.
Booker, who announced his presidential bid Feb. 1, has made two tours through the state of Iowa, with his stop Sunday his first to Ames since he announced his intentions to seek is party�s presidential nomination. He�s also the latest to visit Ames in recent weeks, nearly 11 months ahead of the state�s first-in-the-nation caucuses on Feb. 3. 2020.
Booker, from New Jersey, said his career has been dedicated to helping those who are struggling to �make it,� and he shared an anecdote of how living in an inner-city housing project in Newark, N.J., shaped his desire to address poverty issues.
Booker, whose grandmother was born in Des Moines, said families living in or near poverty face a lack of opportunities � educationally, professionally and economically � and that expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit can help lift more Americans out of poverty. The tax credit is a refundable tax credit for low-to-moderate income working individuals and families.
�There�s a lot of Americans who feel like they�re in a pit right now,� said Booker. �They feel isolated and alone, they�re struggling to support their children. Well this is my hope for this election, it�s about a having our country rise up from that pit.�
Sunday�s event was hosted by Working Hero Iowa, with founder Joe Sanberg, and the organization�s state director and 2017 Iowa 4th Congressional District runner-up J.D. Scholten, discussing their work with helping Iowa families overcome poverty.
Sanberg said 53,000 Iowa families leave $140 million unclaimed during tax season, and discussed the organization seeks to help eligible Iowans receive their cash refund.
�In the next 30 days, if you care a whole awful lot, make sure those 53,000 Iowan families who are working hard, but can�t afford life�s basic needs know about their income tax credit, so they can claim that $140 million every single year they are leaving unclaimed,� Sanberg said.
Booker vowed to run a presidential campaign on love and unity, in response to what he calls a trend of �hate at unforeseen levels� in America � something Booker described as the biggest challenge facing the country.
�The very dream of America is not an individual dream, it�s a dream that demands all of us� said Booker. �What will become of our dream? That dream is that every child in America can have health care, the dream that we have ... cathedrals of learning, the dream that a good day�s work will get good pay and good retirement securities.�
In the question and answer portion of the event, Booker fielded questions from Story County residents on topics of immigration and education.
If elected, Booker said he would re-establish America as a welcoming environment for immigrants seeking asylum.
�I would work to have adequate judges facilitate the process of asylum and in the process, say to (immigrants) who are here that we�re not going to tear them away from their families, and put your children in cages,� said Booker. �We�re going to treat you with human dignity and affirm your human rights.�
Booker said that measures by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to raid schools and split families at the U.S.-Mexico families has created a distrustful relationship with law enforcement, making them unsafe at U.S. borders.
Booker also tackled the educational and professional barriers that affect students, putting an emphasis on universal pre-schooling.
�Opportunities start at those early ages, and should I become your president, I�m going to make sure we have universal pre-school for all kids so that they are not behind by time they get to school,� said Booker.
Booker said that implementing and prioritizing apprenticeship programs for young people who forgo college, adopting paid family leave programs and rolling out debt forgiveness programs can help, �provide a pathway to prosperity.�
The charismatic senator, during the hour-long event, often leavened serious discussions with impromptu humor, but ended the event with a challenge for Iowans to be active in social and political causes.
Booker pointed to Iowa�s ability to be a trendsetter for the nation � referencing Iowa�s legalizing same-sex marriage in 2009 and being one of the staple states for the Underground Railroad.
�People think the opposite of justice is injustice, but it�s actually inaction,� said Bo
Democratic presidential candidate Yang speaks in Boone
Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang, an American entrepreneur from New York, made a stop at the Livery in Boone this week to talk about the platform he�d pursue if he�s elected.
Yang was the latest in a growing field of Democrats seeking their party�s presidential nomination in 2020 to visit Boone and central Iowa in recent weeks.
Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney is scheduled to speak Friday at SAM Club, 237 S. State St., in Madrid from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sen. Cory Booker is scheduled to attend an event at Prairie Moon Winery in Ames on Sunday, starting at noon.
Yang, the son of immigrants started his discussion with the notion that automation is destroying communities like Boone and that while beneficial, automation is eliminating the need for human workers.
�The cause for the fault of our economy isn�t immigrants, but rather the AI (Artificial Intelligence) is at fault for the degradation of our economy,� Yang said.
He said he plans to push back against the AI and increase jobs across America.
According to Yang, there�s a problem with income disparity and he said he has the solutions to the problem.
One idea Yang has mentioned is the the implementation of a �Freedom Dividend,� a concept to boost the universal basic income by $1,000 dollars a month for every American between the ages of 18 and 64. Stopping at 64 due to Social Security kicking in at 65.
�This would enable all Americans to pay their bills, pursue education, start business, stay healthy, relocate for work, spend time with their children, take care of loved ones and have a real stake at the future,� Yang said.
He said the Freedom Dividend would grow the economy by 13 percent�or about $2.5 trillion by 2025 � and would increase the labor force by 4.5 million people.
Yang also promoted a�single-pay� health care model in which a single public agency organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands �ultimately, doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.
�Instead, we have a private health care system that leaves millions uninsured and leads to hundreds of thousands of bankruptcies every year,� Yang said. �At the same time, our cost of care is higher than in almost any other countries while providing worse outcomes.�
Other initiatives included in Andrew Yang�s platform:
n Reverse damage of climate change through geo engineering.
n Close private prisons and reduce mass incarceration.
n Legalize marijuana and expunge the federal convictions of all marijuana-related use/possession offenses.
n Common-sense gun laws, increased education requirements and restrictions for those with a history of violence.
n Appoint judges who support a woman�s right to choose.
n Increase availability of contraception.
n Support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and eliminate super PACs.
Yang pushes �Freedom Dividend� during stop in Ames
Providing $1,000 from the government to every adult through a Universal Basic Income would help relieve the burden created by the loss of manufacturing jobs to automation, and �put more economic power into people�s hands,� Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang said Thursday.
Yang spoke to small group of people at the Iowa Stater Restaurant at the Gateway Hotel, where he pitched his main policy proposal, called the Freedom Dividend.
Yang is one of a handful of announced candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Even more have either announced the creation of an exploratory committee as they consider a presidential run, or our thinking about throwing their hat in the ring. He is the third candidate in recent weeks to visit Ames. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand also have made stops in Ames. Warren attended a private house party sandwiched between big events in Sioux City and Des Moines. Gillibrand spoke to a packed house at Stomping Grounds, a Campustown coffee shop.
Yang was brought to Ames by the Story County Democrats, whose members made up the majority of the audience Thursday. A few others also attended to bring up issues or ask questions that wanted addressed by Yang.
The New York native began his life after college as an corporate attorney in New York City. He stayed in that position for five months before realizing that it was not the career he had imagined himself being in. He began working for a healthcare startup, then moved on to later becoming CEO of an education company before finally putting his newly learned entrepreneurship knowledge to the test when he began his company, Venture for America (VFA).
Yang said that in 2017, he began to see that many jobs were in danger of being lost to automation � an issue President Trump promised would not happen if he became president.
�There�s a direct line up between the adoption of industrial robots in a voting district and the movement to Trump,� Yang said. �The reason why Donald Trump is our president today is that we automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, and 40,000 right here in Iowa.�
But, Yang said that the loss of manufacturing jobs across the country is not being solved, and there is no solution to it in place.
�What we did to the manufacturing jobs, my friends at Silicon Valley know we�re about to do to the retail jobs, the call center jobs, of which there are thousands here in Iowa, the fast food and food service jobs, the truck driving jobs and on and on through the economy,� Yang said.
After speaking to representatives from both parties in Washington D.C. about those issue and receiving what he believed were bad answers, Yang decided to run for president.
�I have two sons, and I�m not going to leave them shambles of a country,� Yang said. �That�s where we�re heading right now.�
Yang proposed the Universal Basic Income as his priority policy if elected.
�It�s not left or right, it�s forward,� Yang said. �This is something that Republicans and Libertarians can get behind because it puts more economic power into people�s hands.�
Yang said that the policy would ensure that every American adult, over the age of 18, would receive $1,000 every month from the government. Yang said that this idea has been brought up throughout American history by the likes of Thomas Pain, Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama.
Yang said that enacting the policy would help families that may be struggling to pay their bills, college students attempting to pay off loans or American�s who are in-between jobs stay on their feet. He also said that it would help each state�s economy because most of the money would be spent at local businesses.
�I want to solve these problems. We have to get to a point where we first acknowledge the situation we�re in and then start solving the problems,� Yang said. �If these problems get solved, and I�m not the president, then that would still be mission accomplished to me.�
Lauris Olson, Chair of the Board of Story County Supervisors, attended the luncheon and said she appreciated the honesty Yang had when addressing how difficult it is to enact the change he envisions.
�He�s advancing some very aggressive ideas,� Olson said. �Change, more change than we would normally anticipate, but he makes a very good case to why some of this change needs to occur.�
Buttigieg makes first presidential campaign stop in Ames
The presidential election in 2020 is calling for a newer voice, Pete Buttigieg said to Ames residents in a crowded room at Cafe Diem on Friday.
�We come to a moment as we approach the 2020 cycle that is a lot bigger than a single election,� Buttigieg said. �It�s a moment of profound realignment in American politics, and it�s a moment that�s calling for new voices, calling for bold ideas, it�s calling for something different we�ve seen before, and I believe that means a new generation has to put forward leadership.�
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., recently announced his presidential campaign, and Ames is the first city he has visited.
Buttigieg is the fourth candidate who made the trip to Ames in the year-long build-up to the Feb. 3, 2020, Iowa Caucuses. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kristen Gillibrand, along with Andrew Yang, have all visited with Ames residents in the past few weeks. Warren spoke to a private house party between her events in Sioux City and Des Moines. Gillibrand spoke at Stomping Grounds, a coffee shop in Campustown, to a room packed with people. Yang met with a small group at the IowaStater Restaurant.
�We will be unveiling policies as we go, but before we leap to the policies, let�s talk about our values,� Buttigieg said. �Let�s talk about values like freedom.
Buttigieg said that it�s common for talk to center around Republicans being the ones who value freedom the most. He said that they focus on one type of freedom. This includes freedom from regulations, freedom from taxes and freedom from government. Buttigieg said that this is not the only type of freedom out there.
�There are a lot of other things that can make you unfree,� Buttigieg said. �You�re not free if you can�t leave your job and start a new business because you�re afraid of losing your health care. You�re not free if they�re dismantling consumer protections, and you can�t sue your credit card company if they get caught ripping you off. I believe you�re not free if you can�t marry the person you love because some county clerk tells you that�s not consistent with their interpretation of their religion,� Buttigieg said.
He took the moment to point out his husband in the crowded coffee shop whom he married in June of last year.
Buttigieg said that the issues going on in government feel personal to himself and others in his generation.
�But it�s not about a young candidate, for young Americans,� Buttigieg said. �It�s about a young candidate representing what I think all of our generations want to join hands and see happen, which is that basic thing about America, that each turn of the wheel, each new generation has seen a more prosperous, and by the way, a more democratic, society than the one that that generation inherited.�
Buttigieg took questions from the crowd and addressed issues regarding public education, his leadership skills, and water quality, among other things.
On public education, Buttigieg said that there needs to be more funding that goes into education. He said that quality education begins with teachers getting paid higher wages.
When talking about his leadership skills, Buttigieg brought up being mayor of South Bend, Ind., and said that even though he is not the mayor of a large city in America, the leadership skills that come with being a mayor for a city of any size are what need to be seen more in the country�s capital. The main skill that goes into it, he said, was being able to hold a community together.
On issues regarding water quality, he said that the first step to fixing those issues is to ensure that there are people in government that believe there is an issue to begin with.
Scott Le, an Ames resident and Iowa State University student, said that he was glad Buttigieg talked about climate change, but he wished he would have had more time to talk about his policies.
�I wish he could have shared a bit more about what specific policies he wanted in regards to the Green New Deal because that�s something that I�m passionate about,� Le said. �I think the biggest things that I care about is also just getting money out of politics. We have a lot of legislation that gets passed that seem to help those that are more wealthy. I think we need to rebuild the middle class.�
Beto O'Rourke makes good first impression in Eastern Iowa campaign stops
The introduction went well.
A hundred or more people who met Beto O�Rourke, the former Texas congressman who earlier this week joined the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, came away impressed with his energy, his vision and his contrast to President Donald Trump.
�There�s a lot of issues he�s on the right side,� Roger Schnittjer of Mount Vernon said after meeting O�Rourke on what the Texan called the �second day of running to serve you as the next president of the United States of America.�
�He has a lot of energy,� added Becky Douglas of Belle Plaine.
O�Rourke is scheduled to be in North Liberty at 10:15 a.m. Saturday for the St. Patrick�s Day 5K Run; in Waterloo at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Black Hawk County Democratic Party headquarters; and 8 p.m. Saturday in Dubuque at 410 Shrewsbury Lane.
O�Rourke on Friday acknowledged that energy and excitement going into the next election. It�s not necessarily for him or even for the Democratic Party, he said while standing on the bar at the Sing-A-Long Bar and Grill in Mount Vernon.
�It�s around the energy we all feel at a moment of truth that will define us forever,� he said. It�s about �our eagerness to participate, to make sure we are up to the challenges before us, that we do everything we can in our power at this moment, for us, for the kids and grandkids we have, for the generations that will follow them.�
He was right that the excitement from the 50 people at the bar and about that many who listened from Yock�s Landing next door.
�We�re excited to have him as a candidate, but it�s pretty early to say we�ve made a decision,� said Alason Jones of Mount Vernon who attended with her husband and two children.
Douglas, who liked his answer to her question about restoring dignity to the presidency and being an ally other nations could depend on, called O�Rourke a �honest, decent man � but I�m open to others.�
The United States has to reassert global leadership that Trump has squandered, O�Rourke said.
However, the responsibility for that falls not only on the next president, O�Rourke said.
�In a democracy where the people are the government and the government is on the people, those actions are done and taken in our name,� he said. �All of us shoulder the responsibility of making it better. That�s part of what this campaign and this election can be about.�
Earlier, O�Rourke � who almost wrested the U.S. Senate seat from Republican Ted Cruz in Texas in November � made stops in Mount Pleasant, Fairfield and Washington where he spoke and took questions for about 45 minutes in a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd jammed at Cafe Dodici.
Later, O�Rourke was in Cedar Rapids where he was interviewed at Raygun for the Political Party.
He touted his refusal to take PAC money, access to reasonable health care by expanding Medicare and Medicaid and vowed to run a positive campaign and not attack other candidates.
�In this campaign, you will not hear me demean or vilify another candidate or really anybody,� he said.
Jose Maldonado, 33, an Iowa City man of Mexican descent wearing a �Beto� hat, liked O�Rourke�s passion as well as his stance on immigration, including finding a path to citizenship for those in the U.S. illegally. Maldonado also appreciated having a bilingual candidate in O�Rourke, who also speaks Spanish.
�He is very good at bringing a lot of people under his umbrella,� he said.
O�Rourke even impressed Republican Jenny Turner of Kalona, who asked whether O�Rourke felt embarrassed by the rush to judgment in the Jussie Smollett case, in which the actor is accused of making up a racist, homophobic attack by Trump supporters and whether young people should feel safe wearing a Make America Great Again hat.
Turner, while she�ll not caucus or vote for O�Rourke, said she appreciated his answer that political attacks have no place anywhere in the country.
�I like him,� she said. �I like how he works hard to look you in the eye when he talks to you. He is genuine.�
He�s also �smart and articulate and can see the big picture,� Catherine Jones Davies of Anamosa said. �He also sees the consequences of policies � that�s refreshing.�
So while first impressions were positive, Jones� �anybody but Trump� Republican husband, Jim, wasn�t ready to commit.
�He�s one of many we�re going to have to see,� he said.
For Bernie Sanders campaign, 2020 Democratic race is about electability
Bernie Sanders is back bigger and stronger than the democratic socialist insurgent who nearly won the Iowa caucuses in 2016.
That�s the storyline from Sanders� campaign after weekend events drew more than 5,000 people in Iowa.
�It�s early, but we feel good,� campaign manager Faiz Shakir said. �The state of the Sanders campaign is strong and getting stronger.�
In 2016 the campaign began as a as a movement of ideas. People cared deeply about ideas Sanders long believed in. However, the early months of the campaign were spent introducing Sanders to people who were not familiar with the Vermont senator, Shakir said.
Because of his 2016 campaign, he starts the 2020 election cycle with name recognition and a mission � �to finish the job,� Shakir said.
In addition to the crowds he has drawn, Shakir said the campaign raised $10 million in the first week and attracted more than a million volunteers.
Shakir expects �there will be a lot of dust kicked up� by the large field of candidates for the Democratic nomination. When the dust settles, Sanders will have answered the overarching questions on voters� minds: Who can best defeat President Donald Trump and who do voters trust to make the change they want to happen?
�Unequivocally, the answer is Bernie Sanders. I think the voters will come to believe that and understand that as well,� Shakir said.
�This race is a race about electability,� said Jeff Weaver, the 2016 campaign chair and now a senior adviser to Sanders. �Democratic primary voters are very concerned they elect somebody who can defeat President Donald Trump.�
He has strong appeal among independent voters and younger voters who are less likely to vote unless they are motivated, Weaver said. In 2016, he was able to attract support from first-time voters or those who were voting for the first time in a long time.
�Those are the kind of voters the Democratic Party needs to bring into the fold and to add to its coalition to be successful,� he said.
Sanders pollster Ben Tulchin said the candidate is �extremely well-positioned to win the primary and defeat Trump in a general election match-up.�
Sanders �started in a very strong position and has gotten stronger� even as other candidates have entered the race, Tulchin said, adding that Sanders is leading all other announced candidates by double digits.
No mention was made of polls showing former Vice President Joe Biden leading Sanders when he is included in the field.
Sanders� average favorability over 10 national polls has been over 70 percent.
�So he�s very popular with Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents,� Tulchin said.
Beto O'Rourke calls for unity during first Iowa visit as 2020 presidential candidate
As he drove along the Mississippi River between campaign stops, Beto O�Rourke pined to pull the vehicle over � yes, he was driving himself � so he could dip his toes in the water.
�I just don�t feel like you can come this close to it and not,� O�Rourke said.
When his staff told him there was not enough time to stop, O�Rourke groaned.
�All right, then,� he conceded. �Some future visit we�ll do that.�
That must have been one of the rare disappointing moments for O�Rourke during his trip to Iowa on Thursday, which came on the heels of his announcement he is running for president.
O�Rourke, the 46-year-old Democrat and former congressman from Texas, made a spin through southeast Iowa � making stops Thursday in Keokuk, Fort Madison, Burlington and Muscatine � on the first day of his campaign. He has public events scheduled Friday in Mount Pleasant and Cedar Rapids.
O�Rourke received a warm welcome from Iowans who greeted him at a local sandwich shop in Fort Madison and a local coffee house in Burlington.
The latter was packed by a crowd that would make a fire marshal squirm, and O�Rourke stood on the coffee shop�s bar so everyone could see and hear him.
Roughly 80 people came to Sub Arena in Fort Madison for an event that was not publicly announced.
�I�m pumped. More pumped than when I first met Barack Obama,� said Ernie Schiller of Donnellson after the Fort Madison event.
O�Rourke already had won over Stephanie Brownlee, a 20-year-old Fort Madison woman who came to see him at Sub Arena. Brownlee grew up with Republican parents and was a registered Republican until four years ago. She said she voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Brownlee said she likes O�Rourke because he talks about wanting to fight for all Americans, not just Democrats, and he reminds her of former U.S. Sen John McCain from Arizona in the way he shows respect instead of disdain for his political rivals.
�I think he�s amazing,� Brownlee said, adding she believes O�Rourke is a candidate �who can relate to both sides of the aisle.�
The southeast Iowa region where O�Rourke campaigned Thursday contains many swing voters, the kind who voted for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 but swung to Republican Donald Trump in 2016.
The state Senate districts that contain Des Moines and Lee counties, where O�Rourke campaigned Thursday, swung 25 and 30 percentage points respectively from Obama�s 2012 victory margin to Trump�s 2016 victory margin.
�I�ll work with anyone, anytime, anywhere to deliver for Lee County, to deliver for this country. That�s what I want out of our government. I want us to be able to put our differences aside, find the common ground and just to get it done. And the only way you have any hope of doing that is showing up and listening to and learning from the people you want to serve,� O�Rourke said during an interview between the Fort Madison and Burlington campaign stops.
�So I don�t pretend to know the answers for that significant shift between �08 and �16. And I don�t even know how important it is, other than to be able to focus on 2020 and beyond, how are we going to truly deliver for these communities. Not to make them solidly Democratic or blue � their partisan color doesn�t really matter to me � but to invite everyone into the conversation and the partnership to get these things done,� he said. �And it begins by showing up and, as many people in there reminded me, it continues by coming back.�
In Iowa, Sanders says 2020 is about Completing 'Political Revolution'
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders finished his first swing through Iowa Saturday as an official Democratic presidential candidate. Instead of small and more intimate venues, the campaign held three rallies over the course of three days in the state which kicks off the presidential nominating process.
Sanders, an independent senator who caucuses with Democrats, told the crowd he thinks he has a good chance of winning the Democratic nomination in 2020. But he says he will strongly support whoever gets the nomination.
Sanders credited Iowa for jumpstarting his �political revolution�
�Iowa helped begin the political revolution.� Sanders told the crowd. �Now as we move to 2020, our job is to complete that revolution.�
Sanders says many of his ideas in the last cycle were dubbed too radical but now many of his fellow candidates are embracing them, like "Medicare for All".
�They are ideas that Democratic candidates from school board to president are campaigning on,� Sanders said. �Thank you, Iowa.�
While there a lot more candidates this cycle, teacher Jennifer Birkey, who drove from her home in Fort Dodge to see Sanders speak, says she�s backing the Vermont Senator � 100 percent.
�He�s not afraid to battle the big wigs,� Birkey says. �He�ll look the Koch brothers in the eye and tell them what he thinks.�
He also held rallies in Council Bluffs on Thursday night and Iowa City on Friday night.
Klobuchar Touts Midwest Roots, Bipartisan Common Ground
Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar made several stops in Iowa this weekend. It�s her first trip here since announcing she�s running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. Klobachar told a crowd at a brewery in the central Iowa town of Knoxville she doesn�t come from a political machine or from money.
�I have won every single congressional district � three times in a row - in the state of Minnesota,� Klobuchar told the crowd at Peace Tree Brewing Company. �That includes Michelle Bachmann�s district. So I know how to find the common ground with people that don�t always agree with me.�
Klobuchar talked about working with Iowa Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley to crack down on pharmaceutical companies. Klobuchar says any changes to energy or climate change policy needs to work for rural America.
�This idea that we move toward more renewables has been a positive economically for the states in the Midwest,� Klobuchar told reporters. �Because we want to be investing in the farmers and the workers of the Midwest instead of the oil cartels of the Mideast.�
She says one of the first things she would do if elected president would be to re-join the Paris climate accord, which is an international agreement to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
Klobuchar made several appearances in Iowa during the 2018 election stumping for congressional candidates. She talked about the victories of electing Iowa�s Democratic Reps. Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer.
Klobuchar also made weekend stops in Mason City and Albia.
O�Rourke Starts Presidential Campaign in Iowa
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O�Rourke started his bid for the White House campaigning in Keokuk on Thursday. And continued his swing through the state with multiple stops on Friday.
The former Texas congressman is linking the terrorist attack at two New Zealand mosques that left 49 people dead to President Donald Trump�s rhetoric.
On the road between campaign stops Friday, O�Rourke said the United States should not only offer compassion to the survivors and to those who lost loved ones in the terrorist attack, but also be a leader in calling out Islamophobia.
�We must also acknowledge there�s a consequence to our rhetoric and we must be very intentional in how
we include people from all walks of life, all traditions of faith, all countries of the planet,� O�Rourke said.
O�Rourke tells IPR the president should stop �digging a hole,� referring to comments he�s made about immigrants and white nationalists. In the wake of the New Zealand attack, Trump said he does not regard white nationalism as a rising global threat.
O�Rourke also acknowledged mistakes he�s made during a taping of the Political Party Live podcast in Cedar Rapids Friday night.
O�Rourke said his joke about his wife raising their three kids sometimes with his help was a "ham-handed" attempt to highlight the work she does for their family. He also said he was "mortified" by the violent fiction he wrote as at 15.
He says he plans campaign in Iowa regularly for the Democratic presidential nomination.
�I�m really hearing people�s commitment to one another,� O�Rourke told IPR. �And a desire for civility and respect in how we articulate our goals. How we describe other people even to those with whom we disagree.�
Kirsten Gillibrand Outlines Progressive Stances On Climate Change, Healthcare During Iowa Visit
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D-NY is laying out aggressive stances on a slate of progressive issues as she introduces herself to Iowans on her first swing through the state after officially announcing her candidacy this past weekend.
The two-term senator and attorney, Gillibrand told dozens of people crowded into a bar in Davenport Tuesday night that climate change is "the greatest threat to humanity that exists."
To address the threats of warming temperatures and rising seas, she voiced her support for the Green New Deal, an agressive plan by congressional Democrats to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade.
"To deal with such a big problem, we need the kind of solutions that are as bold and as big as the problem that it is. I believe the Green New Deal is a very good start but it's not enough." - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D-NY
�When John F. Kennedy said, �we�re putting a man on the moon in the next ten years not because it�s easy but because it�s hard,� he didn�t know if we could get the man on the moon in ten years," she said. "We don�t know if we can get to net zero carbon emissions in ten years, but we should certainly try."
Gillibrand even called for going above and beyond the Green New Deal, which proposes considerable investments and committment from the federal government to expand renewable energy, help communities become climate-resilient and overhaul the nation's building stock, all while creating jobs and economic development.
"We, to deal with such a big problem, we need the kind of solutions that are as bold and as big as the problem that it is," she said. "I believe the Green New Deal is a very good start but it�s not enough.�
Gillibrand told the crowd she learned how to appeal to and win right-leaning voters after winning a seat in the House of Representatives in 2006, representing a district in upstate New York where Republicans outnumber Democrats. She was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2009 to fill the vacancy left by Hillary Clinton, and was reelected to a second term in 2018.
"What makes her think, not being a pessimist or anything, but what makes her think that she can beat him, versus Hillary? Because Hillary had a lot of credentials." - Renee Simmons, Davenport Resident
Gillibrand also said she�d be a moral leader, outlining her plans to implement Medicare for All, roll back Trump-era immigration and social policies. Gillibrand said she'd allow more refugees to resettle in the country, make a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants living in the country, and stand up to international adversaries.
"We need to ask more of our friends, of our allies," she said. "This president will not stand up to [Russian President] Putin. He will not stand up to the Saudis. He does not stand up to anyone that he should. And I promise you, I will."
Davenport resident Renee Simmons says she was struck by Gillibrand's tenacity and enthusiasm. She's the first candidate Simmons has come out to see. Simmons says she's still on the fence this cycle. After seeing Hillary Clinton lose the election in 2016, she says she's worried about whether the New York Democrat has what it takes to get the party back in the Oval Office.
"My question is, what makes her think, not being a pessimist or anything, but what makes her think that she can beat him, versus Hillary? Because Hillary had a lot of credentials behind her, very educated, very qualified," she said.
Simmons says she's discouraged by the division she sees in the country in the wake of the 2016 election. She wants to see Americans set aside their personal differences, and come together to vote President Donald Trump out of office.
"I don't think beating him is the problem because he didn't win the last time," she said, referencing Trump's loss of the popular vote by some 2.8 million votes. "I just feel as though we need to do something different. We need to move forward, we really do."
Warren Fields Questions On Unifying Democrats In Latest Swing Through Iowa
On a swing through Iowa this weekend, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren faced some questions about how she would unite the party. Some voters are concerned about infighting among the growing field of contenders.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts made multiple stops in northeast Iowa this weekend, primarily focusing on an economic message. Warren argues the country needs �systemic change� to reduce the influence of money in American politics and to redistribute wealth to the middle and working class.
Warren grew up in a working class family in Oklahoma, becoming a special education teacher before attending law school and ultimately becoming a professor at Harvard Law School, spending much of her career focused on economic policy and what causes Americans to go bankrupt.
Some 200 people filed into Central Middle School in Waterloo Saturday morning, where Warren spoke of her family�s own economic struggles. Warren says corporate interests have an out-sized influence on federal policy, and that working families can�t keep up and people of color are left even farther behind.
�When I was a girl, a minimum wage job in America would support a family of three. It would pay a mortgage, it would cover the utilities, and it would put food on the table. Today a minimum wage job in America, full time, will not keep a mama and a baby out of poverty,� Warren told the crowd. �That is why I am in this fight. That�s it.�
Warren took questions from the audience on Medicare for all, the influence of money in politics, and how she�d face President Donald Trump. Warren said she would beat the president by focusing on her issues and policy proposals, which include universal childcare, a wealth tax on �ultra-millionaires� and what she calls the �biggest anti-corruption bill since Watergate."
�We�ve gotta talk about our issues,� Warren said. �What we have to do is get out there every day. And I mean all of us, I�m going to do it, but I need everybody to do it. To talk about our vision of what we can do together.�
Voters also asked Warren how she�d handle potential fault lines within the party. Warren says she doesn�t intend to attack other Democrats, and that her platform will set her apart, from the president and from other progressive candidates.
�I�m not here to attack Democrats,� Warren said. �This really is our moment. And the need for us to get this right couldn�t be more urgent. So count on me. And let me also say, I�m going to support our Democratic nominee. All the way.�
When asked why she endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the last election, Warren said Democrats should come together and put 2016 behind them.
�I�m just going to be blunt with all of you. We can�t go back and re-litigate 2016. We just can�t. We just can�t.�
White House hopefuls talk rural, ag issues
Quad City Times
Proposals to address corporate agribusiness mergers, dropping farm incomes, immigration and trade policy were relayed by four Democratic presidential candidates and one potential candidate during a forum held Saturday afternoon on the Buena Vista University campus.
Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, John Delaney and Amy Klobuchar, all seeking the Democratic nomination for president, participated in the forum, as did Tim Ryan, who is considering a run.
The event was billed as an opportunity for candidates to speak directly to rural Iowans about rural and agricultural issues, though a few broader topics also were sprinkled into the two-hour discussion.
�I want to know what the vision is for growing and revitalizing rural America,� said Tom Vilsack, the Democratic former governor of Iowa and federal agriculture secretary. �We need a vision that will drive and prioritize what an administration does.�
Roughly 800 people attended the forum, organizers said. It was sponsored by the Iowa Farmers Union and Open Markets Action with media partners the Storm Lake Times and Huffington Post.
The candidates took turns fielding questions from a panel of journalists, including Pulitzer Prize-winning Storm Lake Times editor Art Cullen, and from the crowd.
The U.S. Senator from Massachusetts tailored one of her central campaign themes, addressing the power and influence of large corporations, to rural issues by repeating her call for increased scrutiny of corporate agribusiness mergers.
She also said there should be a federal law similar to an Iowa law that prohibits foreign countries from owning farmland.
�That not only creates a problem for farming communities and for our food security, it creates a threat to the safety and the defense of the United States of America,� Warren said.
The former housing and urban development secretary under former President Barack Obama said he plans to introduce an immigration plan in the coming days that he described as �bold.�
Castro, who is from Texas, said if he is elected president and Democrats in 2020 also win majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, he will move swiftly on immigration reform legislation.
�Every country in the world of course wants to have a secure border and should. We can have a secure border and also be compassionate and recognize the value of our immigrant community,� Castro said.
The businessman and former Congressman from Maryland highlighted his �Heartland Fair Deal� plan that he published this week. The sweeping policy proposal addresses rural health care, infrastructure, trade and anti-trust regulations, among other provisions.
Delaney said he would seek to direct government investment to rural communities, noting that most investment capital now goes to just four states: New York, California, Texas and Massachusetts.
�That�s not a country of opportunity. That�s a country of birthright,� Delaney said. �That�s why so much of my agenda is focused on policies to encourage people to invest in communities. ... I want there to be a resurgence of investment in these kinds of communities.�
The U.S. Senator from Minnesota, asked about corporate agribusiness mergers and vertical integration, recalled the Granger movement, in which post-Civil War farmers fought monopolies over the transportation of grains.
Klobuchar noted her legislation that would boost fees on corporate mergers to provide more funding to investigating those mergers, and more resources to the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission for similar purposes.
�You have to have people that are sophisticated as those corporate tycoons to be able to take this on. You can�t just think you�re going to be able to do it with three lawyers in a room,� Klobuchar said.
The Congressman from Ohio, who has not yet declared whether he will run for president � he passed on an opportunity to do so during Saturday�s forum � said the country can overcome the loss of manufacturing jobs by committing to new technology in renewable energy, for example.
He said government can play a role by using financial incentives to encourage the private sector to invest in certain industries and communities.
�This is the new model: How do we use the government, the tax code and every incentive we possibly can have and put into place (to) incentivize the private sector to make investments in distressed communities or rural America?� Ryan said.
In Davenport visit, New York Sen. Gillibrand says she stands up for what's right
Quad City Times
�I love being in Iowa. Because you�re a red state,� New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said to a packed restaurant in downtown Davenport on Tuesday night. �I got my start in politics in the grassroots, in a red place, where you had to work really hard to win.�
Gillibrand, a Democrat from a conservative district in upstate New York, is running for president on a progressive platform.
But her message to Iowa voters Tuesday night at Barrel House in downtown Davenport had as much to do with character as with policy.
�I have always been brave,� she said, citing her votes against the Wall Street bailout and the government's �Don�t ask, don�t tell� policy on homosexuality in the military. �I stand up for what�s right. Because the truth is it doesn�t matter who you�re fighting against. It matters most who you�re fighting for.�
Gillibrand�s 90-minute meet-and-greet featured a 15-minute stump speech and about half an hour of questions.
The 52-year-old senator focused mostly on national issues: climate change, �the greatest threat to humanity;� the right of women to access abortions; the �immoral� policy of child separations at the U.S.-Mexico border; transgender rights; and health care, which she called something that �should be a right, and not a privilege, for all Americans.�
Gillibrand also spoke about the need to improve infrastructure in the Midwest.
�We need for rural America to have basic networks of communication and transportation: that means high-speed rail, rail lines and rural broadband,� she said.
�The middle of the country needs to be listened to. ... I think the biggest problem in Washington is that it�s run by corrupt special interests that decide everything,� Gillibrand said.
She teased that she may return to the Hawkeye State this summer in an RV with her kids.
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An early champion of the #MeToo movement, Gillibrand was one of the first national Democrats to say President Bill Clinton should have resigned after the revelation of his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Gillibrand was also the first Democratic senator to call on then-Senator Al Franken to resign after eight women accused him of sexual harassment.
On Monday night, Gillibrand spoke at an MSNBC town hall in Michigan, where she doubled down on calling for Franken�s resignation and defended the way her office handled harassment allegations against a senior male staffer, who was dismissed earlier this month. As first reported by Politico, a female aide to Gillibrand resigned in protest of the way workplace misconduct allegations were treated.
�The allegations she came forward with did not rise to the level of sexual harassment,� Gillibrand said to a press gaggle Tuesday in Dubuque. �What we did find is there was evidence of derogatory and inappropriate comments by the employee, and that is why he was punished severely.�
In wake of the scandal another longtime Gillibrand aide will also be leaving the senator�s office next month.
Multiple voters at Barrel House expressed either ignorance or ambivalence toward the incident. Attendees interviewed uniformly said they had not yet committed to a campaign and are eager to hear from the candidates over the coming months.
Today, Gillibrand has planned stops in Muscatine, Burlington, Ottumwa and Des Moines as part of her third tour through Iowa, she said on Tuesday.
Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate in 2009 to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, who became Secretary of State. She won re-election in 2010, 2012, and 2018. Gillibrand transitioned from an exploratory to an official presidential campaign this week.
�I plan on spending a lot of time in Iowa. I deeply respect your responsibility in this democracy,� she said in closing. �I want to earn your caucusing for me.�
In Muscatine, Beto O'Rourke jumps into presidential race
Quad City Times
For months he�s looked like a candidate, stumped like a candidate, and even roadtripped like a candidate.
And as Beto O�Rourke told a house of supporters in Muscatine Thursday night, as of earlier Thursday he is finally a candidate for president.
And he�s already found his refrain: �We�re going to have to work together.�
�I want us to come together to unite. And it�s going to take all of us,� O�Rourke told the crowd of more than 100 people, squeezed into a small house that was packed to the elbows with press, voters and supporters. �Given the challenges we face, we will not overcome them with only half the country.�
After months of teasing a run to be the Democratic nominee, O�Rourke � or just �Beto� (BEH-toh) as supporters call him � launched his candidacy Thursday morning amid his first-ever trip to Iowa. He also released a kickoff video on social media.
O�Rourke is the 46-year-old former congressman from El Paso, Tex., whose political star rose last fall when he ran for Senate and nearly unseated Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). O�Rourke lost the race but became something of a Democratic celebrity, racking up endorsements from LeBron James, Eva Longoria, and Beyonc�.
If elected, O�Rourke would be the first person to go from the House to the presidency since James Garfield, in 1880.
On Thursday night, O�Rourke discussed several major issues for Democratic candidates: health care (O�Rourke has indicated interest in universal care), climate change (which he called �the ultimate existential threat�), and threats to democratic participation (O�Rourke has vocally championed House Bill 1, a comprehensive bill passed this month by the Democratic House to tackle financing and ethics in government).
After his brief stump speech, perched atop a small stool, O�Rourke took questions from the crowd. He seemed comfortable in front of the crowd, speaking loudly in a blue button-down under a grey sweater, which he eventually took off as the room grew warmer.
�The great news for our democracy is that there are so many people who are willing to step up, including those here,� O�Rourke said, �because they recognize that this is a defining moment of truth for this country.�
Voters in attendance expressed their interest in meeting O�Rourke, whose celebrity preceded him. The excitement over O�Rourke reminded Dorothy Riley, an 84-year-old Iowan, of when she saw John F. Kennedy campaign in Moline almost 60 years ago.
The 2018 Texas senate race, decided by less than 3 percentage points, was marked by unprecedented turnout and enthusiasm, particularly among young voters and minorities. O�Rourke, known for his social media savvy and fundraising, received more than twice as many votes as the Democratic nominee in the 2014 Texas Senate race.
O�Rourke came to Iowa this week to stump for Eric Giddens, of Cedar Falls, a Democrat running for state Senate in a special election. On Thursday O�Rourke stopped in Keokuk, Fort Madison, and Burlington before ending his day at the Muscatine event.
He plans to spend at least two more days traveling through the eastern part of the state, including stops in Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Dubuque.
�I don�t want us to be defined by our differences or our divisions,� O�Rourke said. �I never denigrate or put down. I always seek to lift up and bring out the very best, because people bring out the very best in me.�
Mayor Pete' wants to be a president of firsts
Quad City Times
Speaking in Davenport Monday, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg addressed the big question: Why should a 37-year-old mayor from the Midwest be the Democratic nominee for president?
�It makes sense for us to put forward a different kind of voice right now,� Buttigieg said in his stump speech, perched atop a short ladder. �It�s time for something completely different � for someone who comes out of executive leadership, someone who comes from the middle of the country, who understands smaller communities, and who took up arms in the defense of our nation.�
Buttigieg (pronounced BOOT-edge-edge) has been mayor of South Bend, Indiana, since 2012, and is an openly gay veteran who served in Afghanistan. In January, he launched an exploratory committee to run for president.
At Brew in the Village, in the Village of East Davenport, Buttigieg spoke to around 90 Quad-Citians about his Midwestern roots and vision for higher office.
�I�m excited to be in a community that reminds me of the one I�m from,� Buttigieg said. �I�m also from a river community, one that was told it didn�t have much of a future. But we didn�t want to accept that sitting down.�
His hour-long meet-and-greet was the first stop on a day-long Iowa tour, his second of the year.
Buttigieg was born and raised in South Bend, where his parents worked as professors at the University of Notre Dame. He attended a private Catholic high school and Harvard University, graduating in 2004, before graduating from University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. From 2007 to 2010, he worked for management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
After losing to a Republican incumbent in the 2010 race for Indiana's state treasurer, Buttigieg was elected mayor of South Bend, where he has served since 2012. He has said he will not seek a third term in 2020.
An officer in the Naval Reserve since 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan for seven months in 2014.
�Our party has sometimes forgotten how to talk to this part of the country,� Buttigieg said to nods from the crowd at Brew. �And yet it�s in communities like ours that the commitments of our party � around fairness, around making sure everyone gets a shot � are where there�s the most at stake.�
Voters in attendance expressed enthusiasm for Buttigieg�s energy and skill set.
�To run a city you have to be very pragmatic,� said Jerry Linn, a retired Army lawyer from Eldridge. �He�s a fresh perspective, one that you won�t get from D.C.�
Linn and others liked what they heard from Buttigieg but want to wait and hear from other candidates before committing to any campaigns. Dozens of candidates are expected to stump in the Hawkeye State before the first-in-nation caucus in February 2020.
�We�ve got such a long way to go,� said Patrick Mirocha, who works for and lives in the city of Davenport. �I want someone to restore faith that government can function � more bipartisan legislation, no more shutdowns.�
In 2014, The Washington Post called Buttigieg �the most interesting mayor you�ve never heard of.� In 2016, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni ran a profile of Buttigieg titled �The First Gay President?�
If elected, Buttigieg would be a president of firsts: the first to be openly gay, the first to be elected in his 30s, the first millennial, and the first to be elevated directly from mayor.
The path is unprecedented, Buttigieg admitted, but not unwelcome. The positive response to his candidacy, he said, is �a sign that there�s an appetite for something unconventional.
�One thing you never hear is a mayor shutting down a city because he isn�t getting his way in the legislative body,� he added. �We just get the job done.�
On Monday Buttigieg also traveled to Iowa City and Cedar Rapids and heads to New Hampshire later this week. He�s also on tour promoting his memoir �Shortest Way Home,� which came out last month. His husband, Chasten, was with him Monday.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar offers history lessons, 'heartland economics' in Mason City
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) found herself in a Walt Whitman state of mind at her first Iowa campaign stop since declaring her candidacy for the 2020 Presidential Election.
Specifically, she felt it apt to quote to the at-capacity Lorado's crowd a poem from the "Leaves of Grass" author that name-checks "masons," masonry and the fundamental, "dignified" jobs that mold America.
"I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear, those of mechanics, each one singing as it should be blithe and strong," Whitman began in the 1860 piece "I Hear America Singing." "The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam, the mason singing his as he makes ready for work."
The road taken through 19th century American poetry was one of several history lessons Klobuchar used to frame her 22-minute speech.
There were forking paths that touched on: income disparity, health care, climate change, antitrust law and the "shock" of the 2016 election results.
Klobuchar elucidated "how we got here" and how it would be possible to "cross the river of our divide."
To the senior senator from Minnesota, such a rapprochement would have to start by not "governing from chaos" but by closely hemming to so-called "Heartland economics."
Cornerstones of that fiscal philosophy: getting big money out of politics, expanding broadband access to rural areas, reversing provisions of the 2017 GOP tax bill and establishing a national 15 dollar minimum wage.
"We need an economy in America that works as one," Klobuchar said perched from a white Cosco stool with gray rubber grip. "We need to stop this rural/urban divide."
Klobuchar argued that she's done that by working with politicians such as Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and now-deceased Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) on bills to challenge the pharmaceutical industry and reform the immigration process.
"Our country has always been a beacon for new immigrants," Klobuchar said. The former attorney for Hennepin County has more Somali-American citizens than anywhere else in the United States.
And to make that beacon shine as bright as possible to the rest of the world: Klobuchar pledged that if elected president she would re-enter the Paris Climate Accords, which President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2017, on her first day in the White House.
Even in such moments, Klobuchar didn't spend much time attacking the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.. Instead she kept hammering home the need to "meet people on common ground."
References to President Trump were largely oblique, save for a reference to "governing by tweets" and "Snow woman" not being such a bad presidential nickname to be hit with.
Her sternest rebuke came in a brief stop off, after the main speech, at the north-facing Southbridge Mall entrance which was the overflow area for Lorado's.
"I know that I can beat Donald Trump," Klobuchar flatly stated to the crowd. "I don't have super PACs or well-oiled machines, (but) what I do have is grit and my friends and my neighbors."
Whether that grit will be enough to propel Klobuchar to the nomination remains to be seen.
Lydia Futrell, a 17-year-old Clear Lake resident, who came out to the event with her mom Alice admitted that she didn't "know a lot about Senator Klobuchar" who had only 2 percent of support among Democratic voters in a recent Monmouth 2020 primary poll.
The high school student said that her top two issues were climate change and gun violence.
Klobuchar didn't address the issue of gun violence nor did she spend much time on recent allegations that she is an abusive boss to staff members and once threw a binder at an aide.
That topic was left to the Iowa GOP to broach.
Chairman Jeff Kaufmann didn't even wait for the event to start before he issued a statement saying that "Senator Klobuchar should learn what it means to be 'Iowa Nice' during her visit, because the Iowans I know will not accept this childish and offensive behavior."
When asked about her allegedly abusive behavior on "Good Morning America," the three-term senator said, "I am tough, I push people, that is true. But my point is I have high expectations for myself, I have high expectations for the people who work with me, and I have high expectations for this country."
Policy proposals aplenty from Democratic candidates last week
Quad City Times
The Democratic presidential primary took a new turn last week.
No fewer than four of the Democrats running for president announced significant policy proposals last week.
Perhaps it was intentional that so many significant policy plans were published in the wake of the announcement that the special counsel�s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election was finished. Perhaps it was a coincidence.
Regardless, it was a week that provided a tall glass of water to Iowa Democratic voters thirsty for policies upon which to differentiate the field of 15 candidates.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, announced her plan to create what she said would be a more competitive playing field for farmers by breaking up large agricultural business mergers such as Dow-Dupont and Bayer-Monsanto.
John Delaney, the businessman and former congressman from Maryland, announced his "Heartland Fair Deal," a set of policies designed specifically to target economic growth, health care and other issues in agricultural and rural communities.
Warren�s and Delaney�s plans were announced just ahead of this weekend�s Heartland Forum in Storm Lake, where several candidates were fielding questions about agricultural and rural issues. That, it can be said with confidence, was not a coincidence.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, of California, unveiled her plan to boost teacher pay by an average of 23 percent, or $13,500 annually.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, published a plan to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure, which she said would be her top budget priority.
The marathon race to the 2020 Iowa caucuses is heading into its fourth month, and for the most part, candidate introductions are a thing of the past. These policy proposals could help Iowa Democrats who are wrestling with ways to whittle the field to a short list of candidates they'd consider supporting.
In her proposal, Warren said she would appoint to the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission so-called trust-busters who would review and reverse mergers of large agribusiness corporations and break up other large agribusinesses that control significant portions of the market, among other provisions.
"I will tackle consolidation in the agriculture and farming sector head on and break the stranglehold a handful of companies have over the market," Warren said in a statement.
Delaney�s "Heartland Fair Deal" calls for student loan forgiveness for rural Americans, doubling the Earned Income Tax Credit, redesigning anti-trust regulations and re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership international trade deal, among other provisions.
"My plan is designed to allow people to move back to rural America, to start a business in a small town, to end the trade war and give farmers new markets, to boost rural health, and to get more government contracts into rural America," Delaney said in a statement.
Harris� plan would send federal funding and incentives to state governments in order to boost teacher pay. Harris� campaign said the goal is to close the gap between pay for teachers and other similarly educated professionals.
"At the most fundamental level, our children are being raised by two groups of people: families and teachers. Yet, we fail to pay teachers their value," Harris wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post.
Klobuchar�s $1 trillion infrastructure plan would focus on funding bridge and road repairs, flood protection, airport modernization, school infrastructure, clean water initiatives and broadband internet expansion, among other elements.
"America needs someone who will deliver on their promises and get things done for this country. This plan is about bringing our country together. Building bridges is not just a metaphor � this is what I�ve done and what I will continue to do as president," Klobuchar said in a statement.
Other candidates have introduced policy proposals as well. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, of New Jersey, has proposed so-called baby bonds: $1,000 savings bonds at birth for every child. Once that child turns 18, he or she could use the money toward an education, buying a home or starting a business.
Andrew Yang, the California businessman, has pitched a proposal for a universal basic income, a $1,000 monthly stipend for every American.
To date, candidates have been introducing themselves and outlining their ideas in broad strokes. This week, we saw a surge of bigger, more detailed, ideas for Iowa Democrats to consider.
Kamala Harris tells Cedar Rapids crowd she�s ready, able to fight
Cedar Rapids Gazette
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris told Iowans she is �someone who knows how to fight and has a record of fighting� during a live podcast taping Sunday at CSPS in Cedar Rapids.
The California senator and former state attorney general was a guest on Political Party Live, a podcast hosted by Stacey Walker, the first African-American to serve as a Linn County supervisor, Simeon Talley and Misty Rebik.
In an hourlong taping, Walker dubbed Harris �one of the top contenders for president� as they discussed her support for criminal justice reform, her standing as one of few African-American women to run for president, and her background as a prosecutor.
That experience sets her apart, she said, in an already-crowded field.
�I have the ability to prosecute the current occupant of the White House,� Harris said of President Donald Trump, to roaring applause. �Prosecuting the case against why he should no longer serve and we need change � so (special counsel Robert) Mueller will of course deal with the other stuff, I�m not suggesting I�m doing that � but I am talking about the ability of a candidate who wants to unseat an incumbent president.�
The Iowa stop was the last of many for Harris this weekend, when she made appearances in Des Moines, Ankeny, Ames and Scott County. An event in Waterloo was canceled because of weather.
It was her first trip to Iowa as a candidate since a CNN town hall in Des Moines shortly after she announced her campaign last month.
Many attendees said they still were undecided about who to support in the 2020 caucuses but were interested in starting to know Harris.
�I am looking for the Democratic candidate that will put Trump behind bars, stand up to the Trump family, bring the moral issues back, get America back to being America,� said Randy Atkinson, 57, of Cedar Rapids. �Get rid of the lies, get rid of the immorality. I�m just seeing which Democratic candidates have those characteristics and can stand up to his bullying.�
After a guest appearance on the podcast by Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition founder Sarah Ziegenhorn, Harris voiced support for �on-demand� substance abuse treatment in emergency rooms. She later called for universal health care.
�It should not only be accessible to those who can afford it ... it should be accessible to all,� she said. �Then when people start saying, �cost, cost, cost,� my response is no, it�s not about cost. It�s about investment. ... Let�s look at the return on investment, and I�m going to tell you, I�ll put money down on the American public every day of the week.�
She also addressed what she considers too little talk about climate change and foreign policy � conversations she said are overshadowed at times by talk about her fashion choices.
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�Wars classically have been fought over oil,� she said. �In a hot minute they will be fought over water. We have to have leadership around foreign policy that understands that among our priorities climate change must be one of our highest.�
Harris said she takes seriously her role as an African-American woman running for president, as well as �making sure we leave the door open and provide a path to follow� to generations after her.
�When you break barriers, it�s not like you just start on one side of the barrier and just show up on the other. There�s breaking involved, and when you break things, it�s painful,� she said. �You might get hurt. You might get cut, and it will be worth it � it will be worth it � but it�s not without struggle and sacrifice and sometimes pain.�
Larissa Alire, a 20-year-old Coe College student, sat in the venue�s second row with other politically minded friends. A woman of color herself, she asked Harris how to carry on when no one in the room �looks like you.�
�Here�s what I want you to know when you�re in those rooms, and you�ve got to know it in your head and your heart: We�re all in that room with you,� Harris said. �We�re all in that room with you cheering you on and expecting you, shoulders back, chin up. And that you will speak, and you will speak up, and you will know that your voice is an important voice to be spoken, and it must be heard.�
In Sioux City, Julian Castro says he'd re-join Paris Climate Accord on day 1 of presidency
Sioux City Journal
In a visit to the home of Sioux City attorney Al Sturgeon, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Juli�n Castro made his pitch for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
He spent Friday touring towns in Northwest Iowa, just over a month after announcing his candidacy.
If elected, Castro said the first thing he'd do on Jan. 20, 2021, is sign an executive order re-committing the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord.
"We need to address some of the long-term threats to this country: climate change being number one," he said.
Castro, who made a point of personally greeting attendees crowded into Sturgeon's kitchen and dining room before he spoke, joked about his twin brother, Congressman Joaquin Castro, and the difficulty in visually differentiating between the two identical men.
"He likes to go around telling people that the way to tell us apart, is that I am a minute uglier than he is," Castro said to laughs from the crowd. "It's not true, don't believe it. In fact, these days, he's growing out a beard, so that people can tell us apart. So if you see him, you will know that he's the uglier one."
The audience included state senator Jackie Smith; Woodbury County Elections Commissioner Pat Gill; and J.D. Scholten, who ran an unsuccessful campaign last November to unseat longtime 4th District Congressman Steve King.
Speaking of Scholten's loss to King, Castro recounted an encounter he had Thursday with Congressman King at a Des Moines television station.
"I had a pleasant conversation for two minutes with him, but it reminded me that he does not represent the people of Iowa," Castro said of King.
Castro pitched ideas including affordable healthcare and college, a $15 minimum wage, support for labor unions, addressing climate change and affordable housing, criminal justice reform, universal pre-K education and immigration reform.
He told the story of his grandmother, who immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1920s at age 7, an orphan of the Mexican Revolution. In her later years, she suffered diabetes and lost a foot.
"Thank God that Medicare was there for her," Castro said of his grandmother. "I believe that Medicare should be strengthened, and it should be there for everybody."
In 2014, more than 90 years after his grandmother arrived in Texas, President Obama called Castro to offer him a position as HUD secretary, a position he held for two and a half years.
"It's not every day that a president calls you and asks if you want a job. I had just gone through the drive-through at Panda Express," Castro said to more laughs from the audience. "I didn't tell him that I had a bag of Panda Express on the passenger side of the car."
In advocating for free post-secondary education, Castro said the U.S. will need an educated workforce to keep up with competition from other countries that churn out educated young people.
"Some of the folks in this room will remember, that it wasn't that long ago, that a lot of our state university systems were tuition free," he said. "Go talk to the young at heart, folks that went through college a couple generations ago, and they'll tell you it was $50 a semester, or it was free."
Warren: I�m not afraid of anyone, including Trump
Sioux City Journal
Elizabeth Warren says she is ready for what might come her way in a potential 2020 general election fight with President Donald Trump.
She was given a hint of what that might look like when, after making her candidacy for president official this weekend, she was promptly greeted to the race by the Tweeter-in-Chief, who made a reference to Warren�s past claims of Native American ancestry.
Iowa Democrats have said one thing they�re looking for in the expansive field of 2020 candidates is someone who can defeat Trump in the general election campaign.
�I�m not afraid of anyone, and certainly not Donald Trump,� Warren said.
Warren discussed that, as well as health care, economic and agricultural issues in an interview with the Des Moines Bureau ahead of her campaign event in Davenport Sunday. She also held events Sunday in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
Warren said she is confident her populist economic message will be well-received in Iowa, which swung significantly from Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016.
A main theme of Warren�s campaign has been creating a federal government that works for all Americans, not just wealthy individuals and large businesses.
She said that fight is what will help define her in the ever-growing field of Democratic candidates -- 11 candidates are running or have formed an exploratory committee, and many more are considering.
�I don�t pick these issues because they poll-tested well. This has been the fight of my life,� Warren said.
Warren said she thinks her message translates well to rural Iowans. She said agri-business mergers and consolidation has put financial stress on family farms by shrinking markets.
�That�s what happens when the federal government doesn�t enforce antitrust laws, when it doesn�t break up monopolies and trusts, when it doesn�t push back against illegal business practices,� Warren said. �The people who get hurt are not the big guys. It�s the medium and small farms.
�Until someone in Washington is willing to put people in place in the justice department, in the Federal Trade Commission to enforce those laws, not just once or twice but every single day, small and medium farms across America are going to feel the squeeze even harder.�
On health care, Warren described a plan that included immediate steps like protecting the Obama-era federal health care law and addressing high prescription drug costs before getting to the ultimate goal of larger health care reform.
�How do we get ourselves to complete coverage at the lowest possible price? Medicare is our best way of doing that,� Warren said. �Our obligation is clear: health care coverage for everyone at the lowest possible cost to all of us. No one should go bankrupt because of a medical problem.�
She noted her legislation that aims to drive down prescription drug prices and said she supports capping the amount an individual pays in prescription drug costs at $250 per month -- after which a �national insurance pool� would cover the costs -- allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and lowering the Medicare enrollment age.
Gillibrand in Iowa: "I do what's right, even if it costs me everything"
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat and presidential hopeful, spoke to a packed house at the Airliner Monday night.
It was so packed Gillibrand answered the second round of questions to the overflow of folks by the cramped bar, where someone tried to sneak behind her.
"Sorry, I'm just trying to get some ranch dressing," they said before laughter erupted from the crowd.
READ: Women's March: Gillibrand condemns Trump's choice to 'divide' and urges gender equality
One of six women who've either filed to run for president or announced exploratory committees, Gillibrand continued to answer questions on issues ranging from climate change to workers' rights.
Before taking questions, the 52-year-old spoke for 15 minutes about her early interest in politics, the influence of her family, challenges to finding her way into politics and the issues she's running on.
"I said I wanted to be a senator," she recalled declaring when she was a 7-year-old. "I did not know what a senator was."
She said she had a love for public service early on because her grandma loved politics.
"She was a lady who was way ahead of her time," she said, adding her grandmother was a secretary in the state legislature.
Gillibrand said her grandmother organized women in her community to get people elected who fought for their interests. Similarly, she said, her mother was a trailblazer.
Her mother was a lawyer and was one of only three women in her law school class, she said. She also liked cooking and baking.
"She always cooked the Thanksgiving turkey," she said. "But she also shot the Thanksgiving turkey."
Gillibrand said the beginning of her political career wasn't easy. While researching her chances of winning a House seat prior to the 2006 elections, she was told she was running against the odds.
"No one thought I could win except my mother," she said. "And sure enough miracles do happen."
A person tweets about a person who was in search of a bottle of ranch while U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, spoke during a campaign event on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 at The Airliner in Iowa City, Iowa.Buy Photo
A person tweets about a person who was in search of a bottle of ranch while U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, spoke during a campaign event on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 at The Airliner in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo: Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen)
She said she's running on progressive issues and emphasized how important it is for her to stay true to her beliefs. At the same time, she said it's important to be united to work together.
"Iowa Democrats run on your values," she said. "You run on what you're for. You run in tough races over and over again and never give up. That's why I like to be in Iowa."
She said the 2020 presidential race is about values.
"President Trump has created so much hate, so much division," she said. "Demonizing immigrants, refugees, Muslims. Spewing hatred and racism and anti-semitism, any chance he gets."
After describing what she saw at a facility holding immigrants, she said conditions were inhumane. Teenage boys told her their favorite time of the day was getting to go outside for two hours.
"It's a prison," she said, adding that her two sons are the same ages as the kids she saw at the detention facility.
Gillibrand said it was difficult but important to speak out against fellow Senator Al Franken after allegations of sexual assault came to light. But she said she wouldn't back down on the fight to eliminate sexual assault she started since being elected to the Senate.
"I'm working on a bipartisan basis with Ted Cruz on ending sexual harassment in the House and the Senate," she said, to laughter and applause.
Gillibrand said what's needed from a president right now is someone willing to stand up for what's right.
"And I have the record to show I stand up for what's right. I do what's right even if it costs me everything," she said. "That's why I'm running for President of the United States."
As soon as she started taking questions, a first-year University of Iowa student jumped up and raised his hand. After she answered a few questions from others, Gehrig Urbano finally got his moment.
"What will you do to not only make sure unions stay around but also to expand unions," he asked. "And to protect workers and make sure they get the benefits and rights they deserve?"
Gillibrand said the union movement is one of the strongest forces for workers' rights in the country's history. Because of the union movement, she said, workers have weekends, fair wages and other benefits.
"Unfortunately, you have a governor who is trying to undermine the ability to unionize, the ability to organize," she said. "So we have to fight back."
Urbano, studying political science and international relations, said he thought Gillibrand did a good job answering questions. However, he wished she talked more about current legislation, such as a bill limiting stock buybacks and increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Retired Iowa City residents Laura Young and Bob Littlehale said they're excited so many women are running in the election. Young said women's rights was one of the issues she was excited to hear; Littlehale was interested in hearing about healthcare.
"I'd love to see a woman in the White House," Young said.
"It won't be long," Littlehale added.