Bernie Sanders stopped in Winterset on Dec. 30 to speak with locals about what he plans to do if he is elected president.
Sanders began the evening by telling listeners that while it is important to defeat “the most dangerous president in the history of our country”, his campaign is about more than just defeating Donald Trump. He stated that because no president can do it alone, it will take millions of people standing together to create real change from the bottom up.
After speaking briefly, Sanders answered questions from audience members.
When asked about how he plans to deal with climate change, Sanders responded that climate change is “the greatest national security threat to America”. He went on to list the many effects climate change has, and is predicted to have, from its effect on farmers to the predicted millions of climate refugees that are expected to exist if climate change is not stopped.
With this in mind, Sanders answered that we have a responsibility to leave a country and planet to future generations that is healthy and habitable. For this to happen, “we need to focus on sustainable energy”; this focus will provide jobs for workers and cut down on fuel bills. Soberingly, if the US did everything right tomorrow, it still would not solve the problem. This is a global issue, and Sanders stated that he plans to lead the world in fighting climate change.
An audience member asked Sanders about his stance on healthcare. He responded that healthcare is a human right. Sanders added that, while his proposition is an expensive one, healthcare is already expensive on a personal level for most Americans when taking into account premiums and deductibles, not to mention for those without insurance.
Sanders plans to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing, and eye care. His plan also entails lowering the age at which people are eligible for Medicare over a four-year transition period. This would take the age from 65 to 55 in the first year, then down to 45 in the second year, 35 in the third, and finally allow everyone into the plan in the fourth year. This plan will raise income taxes by 4 percent, with a $29,000 tax exemption.
Another audience member asked Sanders how he plans to navigate the extremely partisan divide in Washington. Sanders said he plans to bring people together around issues that most people can agree on, regardless of political party. These issues include the need for a livable minimum wage, that women deserve the same pay as men, and that expanded universal background checks are needed for gun ownership.
When asked about his plans regarding education, Sanders responded that access to education needs to be expanded. Increasingly, to be in the middle class, people need access to higher education. Sanders plans to make public education free, including colleges and universities, as well as to cancel student debt.
For more information on Sanders’ platform, visit www.berniesanders.com.