MUSCATINE, Iowa—With about three weeks to the Iowa Caucuses, Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney worked to make a big impression on area voters. Delaney hosted a dinner at the Muscatine Family Restaurant Sunday, Jan. 12, where he answered questions at length, attempting to give his campaign a more personal touch.
In his short opening speech, Delaney focused on the need to promote economic growth in small towns and rural areas. “Small towns, particularly in rural America, but everywhere, are being totally left behind,” he stated. Delaney considered the rise of national corporations and the growth of cities as the source of the problem, pointing to a statistic that 80% of the money spent on creating new businesses went to only 50 counties nationwide.
To reverse this trend and help smaller communities, Delaney outlined several steps he would take as president. First, Delaney would work to require all government contractors to give a certain percentage of their contracts to businesses in what he called, “distressed areas.” This new requirement would spread well paid government contracts across the country, leading to reinvestment in local businesses.
Delaney also advocated for allotting more federal infrastructure dollars to rural and underserved communities and to raising the earned income tax credit, at least in struggling areas. By making these changes, Delaney feels smaller towns would have a more equal share of the country’s prosperity and enjoy a resurgence in investment.
After sharing his views on the economy, Delaney opened the floor to questions. During this time, Delaney expanded on several of his other policy areas, especially health care. Delaney explained that if elected president, he would work to put a health care for all program in place that utilizes a mixture of both governmental and private insurance. Calling the program BetterCare, Delaney said all people would automatically receive coverage from the government but could opt out if they purchased a private plan or got insurance from their employer. To make sure people on all plans get equal care, Delaney would raise the reimbursement rate doctors get from government sponsored plans.
To encourage doctors to work in under-served and rural areas, Delaney would push for more community health centers, which would promise doctors a generous annual salary and student loan forgiveness if they continued to serve in a high needs area for at least ten years. In an exclusive interview with “Discover Muscatine” Newspaper, Delaney stated that he would, “accurately capture money from emergency room visits,” which cost more than a typical doctor visit, to help fund these centers.
Through his question and answer time, Delaney also gave information on his plans to build more affordable housing, decriminalize marijuana, simplify the tax code, and reform immigration through reinstating Obama era policies and expanding diplomacy in Central and South American countries in need.
By taking the time to speak to Muscatine voters, Delaney hoped to earn their support in what may prove a challenging caucus for him. “I want these last several weeks to be focused on the places where I’ll get real support because I’m fighting for them,” he asserted. “The one thing that I will do better than anyone running for president is ensure communities like Muscatine get private and public capital invested in them to create jobs,” he added to clarify his stance.