As candidates continue to compete for their party’s nomination, they continue to pay visits to Muscatine County looking for support at the Iowa Caucuses. On Wednesday, October 23rd, Democratic hopeful Joe Biden made a campaign stop at Pearl City Station (the Red Brick Building) in Muscatine to speak about his plans if he becomes president.
Biden began his half hour speech by sharing a little about his childhood. He focused on how his parents worked hard to raise him, and how his father persevered through unemployment to make sure he and his two brothers had a better future. Biden tied these stories to his greater message of wanting to expand and support the middle class if he becomes president. “I’m running to rebuild the backbone of this country, the middle class, and this time bring everybody along, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, or disability,” he stated.
To achieve this overall goal, Biden outlined several policy areas he would focus on. First, he addressed healthcare. Biden proposed providing government funded healthcare to those who wanted it while still allowing people to get insurance from their employer if they preferred, allowing everyone to choose the healthcare option they consider best.
Next, Biden discussed his goals for improving education. To that end, he laid out a plan for tripling Title I funding to low income schools, requiring all districts to provide three and four year old preschool, and kindergarten, increasing teacher pay, providing free community college both to high school graduates and those who lost their jobs, and restructuring student loan repayment plans to make them less burdensome. Biden acknowledged all these programs would cost a significant amount of money. To cover these costs, Biden proposed rolling back recent corporate tax cuts and using that money to fund policies. As a corollary to improving education, Biden also spoke about reducing gun violence and reducing fears about violence at schools by passing gun reform laws despite objections from National Rifle Association lobbyists.
As his final point, Biden shared his ideas for how to take on climate change. Biden believes that as a nation, America has a responsibility to achieve net zero emissions and to develop clean energy technologies to use here and to sell abroad. Additionally, Biden feels international cooperation plays a huge role in stopping climate change and would rejoin the Paris Climate Accords shortly after taking office.
Once Biden finished his speech, he took some time to meet with members of the general public. During this time, he took questions from community attendees. When asked why he chose to visit Muscatine, he shared “because I’m going to medium sized towns all over Iowa because you’re who’s going to decide the Caucuses, for real. I have the same values as you, and I want to restore the soul of this country.” With these words, Biden wrapped up his stop in Muscatine before continuing to campaign across Iowa.