MUSCATINE, Iowa – Amidst music and warm welcomes from Bernie for Iowa Co-Chair and Muscatine resident Nick Salazar and former West Liberty City Council Member José Zacarias, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders returned to Muscatine on Jan. 2, the first candidate to visit in the new year. At his Unidos Con Bernie Reunión Política en Muscatine event, Sanders went into more details on his policies and urged Muscatine residents, particularly members of the Latino community, to caucus on Feb. 3.
To rally potential voters, Sanders emphasized his record of appealing to regular working people. “I am extraordinarily proud that what we have done this last year has never been done in the history of American politics. What we have done is received campaign contributions not from the wealthy and the powerful, but we have received 5 million separate contributions from 1.3 million people from one end of this country to the other.”
Sanders then briefly addressed his educational policy. Sanders supported childcare for all families and tripling Title I funding to low-income schools. Sanders did not outline how he would pay for these changes.
Sanders then spoke on one of his signature issues, healthcare. If elected president, Sanders stated he intended to phase in Medicare for all over a four-year period. He would also broaden Medicare to include dental, vision, hearing, and home healthcare benefits. By moving to a Medicare for all model, Sanders stressed that consumers and employers would not pay premiums, copays, or deductibles. Sanders would also work to regulate prescription drug companies, ensuring that no one paid more than $200 a year for prescriptions.
Unlike with education, Sanders detailed how he would fund his healthcare program. Sanders acknowledged healthcare costs a lot but maintained that paying for his model would prove more equitable than the current model. To raise the necessary funds, Sanders would implement higher taxes on the wealthy and implement a universal 4% income tax on all earnings over $29 thousand.
Following his thoughts on healthcare, Sanders discussed climate change. Sanders stated that since he first ran for president in 2016, he has seen more people across the country take interest in climate change. To prevent harm to future generations, Sanders supported implementing higher energy efficiency standards in existing buildings and transitioning to renewable energy as quickly as possible. Rather than incurring large costs, Sanders believed that these steps would create many well-paid jobs.
To wrap up his talk, Sanders shared his positions on immigration reform. Sanders supported repealing the current administration’s executive orders and reviving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for undocumented immigrant children and their families. Sanders said he would also push to close private detention centers for those who crossed borders illegally and that he would not allow immigrant children to get separated from their families.
In passing, Sanders also discussed plans to end the war on drugs, implement stronger gun control policies, and support women’s rights. He also took several questions from the audience regarding healthcare and his stance on unions.