In front of a small audience of potential voters at the Black Pearl Café on Monday, December 2nd, Democratic presidential candidate and Colorado senator Michael Bennet shared his goals if elected. Henry Marquard, Muscatine County Chair of Bennet for President, introduced him, reminding voters that as the caucuses draw nearer, they will need to choose who to support soon.
For much of his speech, Bennet addressed the reasons he decided to run, concerns with the tone of public discourse, current domestic and foreign policy choices, and allocation of tax dollars. However, he did offer some insight into how he would handle each area differently. Broadly, he stated, “what I think will work is saying to the American people, ‘we have the interests of your family at heart, and we’re going to do a few thing to make your lives a little easier and a little better.’”
Through an extended question and answer session, Bennet added some specifics to his policies. Regarding the growing national debt, Bennet asserted that he would, “stop spending the money the way we’ve been spending the money and invest in America again.” His proposals included reversing recent tax cuts, investing more money into infrastructure projects, and controlling the cost of healthcare.
In response to a statement from the audience, Bennet expounded on one key plank in his platform, addressing poverty by providing more affordable housing. As he explained it, “I believe we have the most comprehensive housing package, and the reason for that is I worked on these issues for a long time.” Specifically, Bennet identified several steps. First, Bennet would increase access to housing vouchers. Second, he would build seven million new units of affordable housing near workplaces or public transportation, half built by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Agency, and half through public-private partnerships. He would also raise the child tax credit, earned income credit and the minimum wage, as well as the amount of paid family leave available.
Through these efforts, Bennet believes he can make a significant dent in childhood poverty. He elaborated, “Columbia University looked at [my plan] and they said it would cut childhood poverty by forty percent . . . in a year, without hiring a single new bureaucrat, and it costs three percent of what Medicare for all costs.”
Bennet also briefly touched on environmental policy in response to a question about climate change. In general terms, he said, “we can make the transition we need to make on climate change and on the environment and drive economic growth for people throughout this country in both urban and rural areas. I’m more optimistic about that than I am about any other thing.”
Following his public question and answer session, Bennet met privately with the press. During this time, he distilled his reasons for visiting his Muscatine and the message he hoped they would take away from his visit. “ I think for us to win the presidency, the we have to win counties like Muscatine County again, and I have a set of proposals that will interest people here.”