A full crowd turned out to see democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer at the Black Pearl Café in Muscatine, Iowa, on December 15th. Steyer spoke to attendees and held a lengthy question and answer session as he worked to win over area voters ahead of the February 3rd Iowa Caucuses.
As an overarching theme of his campaign, Steyer emphasized giving power to citizens rather than corporations. He applied this goal to several of his most important policy areas.
Steyer began by outlining how he would address climate change, what he considers the largest issue facing the country. Steyer approached climate change optimistically, stating, “We can do it. I’ve been working on it for ten years. I know that we have to do it, but I know that we have the technology and the money and the ability to do it.” Though Steyer never gave specifics for his climate plan, he did explain it would involve working with leaders from the most polluted communities to find viable solutions and implementing those solutions nationally.
Steyer then touched briefly on his economic goals. Though he did not give a detailed economic stimulus plan, Steyer adamantly said he would repeal existing tax cuts to businesses and the wealthy.
After his stump speech, Steyer opened the floor to questions. He entertained questions on expanding mental health care and concerns about agricultural pollution and gave some insight into how he would address both. Broadly, he pledged to create a four-part rural plan to expand all kinds of healthcare, provide better education, restore well paid jobs, and work with farmers to capture carbon dioxide and lessen climate change.
While discussing the final part of his rural plan, Steyer also elaborated on his environmental policy, saying he would favor, “putting in rules about pollution, putting in rules about building in efficiency, putting in rules about how you generate energy,” to give all businesses an incentive to reduce pollution.
In response to an inquiry about how Steyer would improve the United States reputation internationally, Steyer expressed a wish to strengthen ties to traditional allies in order to encourage global cooperation. “The way that we’ve succeeded internationally is in coalition with other freedom loving, democracy loving countries, spreading our ideals across the world, because we do better as a result and it’s better for everybody else too.”
When asked about gun control, Steyer provided several steps he would take. These included requiring background checks on all gun buyers, banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, licensing gun owners, registering existing assault weapons, offering voluntary gun buy backs, and creating red flag laws. Earlier, Steyer indicated he would pass these measures via a national referendum.
Following the event, Steyer offered an exclusive interview to Discover Muscatine. He shared that he thought his policies would appeal to people in Muscatine County because, “everybody in America knows that corporations have bought the government. I think Iowans are very responsive to that, and to the idea that an outsider dedicated to fighting those corporations can be trusted to do so.”
Steyer also added that he feels his economic record makes him competitive against other candidates and appeal to voters. “I started a business from scratch, built it up over thirty years. I spent thirty years figuring out what makes an economy prosperous, what makes it be a shared prosperity. . .. If I was wrong about what creates prosperity, my business would have withered.”