On Sunday, September 1st, current Montana governor and democratic presidential candidate Steve Bullock visited Muscatine to hold a town hall meeting at the Muscatine Environmental Learning Center. He used the event to introduce himself to voters and to answer their questions.
After City Council Member Kelcey Brackett opened the meeting, Bullock gave a little background about himself. He shared that he had won reelection as governor of Montana three times, even though he ran as a Democrat in a largely Republican state.
Bullock then spoke about what he considers one of his larger campaign issues, making Washington more transparent to root out corruption. He stated, “ I think the real problem and the real dysfunction in D. C. isn’t term limits, but really is all the incentives have changed.” Bullock believes that when politicians have to please corporations in order to get funding that corruption occurs. If politicians had to disclose more information about who donates to their campaigns, they would behave more responsibly and with the best interest of citizens in mind.
Next, Bullock opened the floor to questions. He first fielded one about the future of social security in the face of a large budget deficit. Bullock pledged to maintain social security for all Americans, but that he and others in Washington will need to work to lower the national deficit. In his opinion, rolling back recent tax cuts, investing in long term projects such as infrastructure that create good jobs, and responsibly raising certain taxes could improve the country’s debt balance for future generations.
Bullock then responded to a question about foreign policy. Bullock said he considers, “[protecting] America’s interests and then building on those alliances,” his top priorities. Though Bullock would like to reduce the number of American troops serving abroad, he considered it unrealistic to protect interests at home without having any military presence in volatile areas. “In order to have local stability, we can’t completely pull out of everywhere and we can’t do it alone, “ he explained.
Bullock’s third question concerned gun violence and how it affects people of all races, but especially minorities. An important issue for Bullock, he thought that for politicians to make progress on this issue, they needed to view it as a matter of public health and safety. A gun owner from a state that values gun rights, Bullock considered universal background checks and other red flag laws as smart, doable moves to reduce gun violence. He elaborated, “as gun owners, we have to be calling on our members of congress and the state house and say,’let’s look at this as a public health issue, not a political issue.’”
Finally, Bullock took a question on illegal immigration. He considered ending family separation at the border a priority, and advocated for penalties for employers who hired illegal immigrants.