Sen. Sanders Checks Political Current in Iowa


As a subscriber to TPP since its first issue, I’m always on the lookout for politicians who carry progressive populist credentials coming to northeast Iowa.

So I was delighted to hear that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), would be coming to speak in Dubuque, “free and open to the public.”

Sen. Sanders kicked off a presidential exploratory trip to Wisconsin and Iowa, in visiting and addressing the Fighting Bob Fest at Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo, Wis., on Friday, Sept. 12, and then traveling on to Dubuque to speak at Clarke University on Saturday.

The Fighting Bob Fest, named after Wisconsin’s progressive champion in the US Senate, Robert La Folette, provides an annual major forum for progressive ideas on issues and draws over 10,000 participants. Sen. Sanders’ Dubuque appearance drew 200 area residents to this “Town Hall Meeting with US Sen. Bernie Sanders.” Although he didn’t specifically refer to a presidential campaign in his remarks, he also visited Waterloo and Des Moines on Sunday, Sept. 14.

For those who’ve wondered whatever happened to the Democratic and Republican corporate-owned parties, Bernie came to share his political wisdom.

Bernie addressed a legion of major domestic problems, and he proposed his Agenda for America. His first proposal is “to restore democracy to the United States by overturning this disastrous Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court, which allows billionaires to buy elections, and to move to public funding of elections.”

Sanders cited high numbers of Americans in poverty, particularly children living in poverty, high numbers of imprisoned, unaffordable higher education, and “crumbling infrastructure,” and his proposals include a litany to restore the disappearing middle class: rebuild our infrastructure, “One billion invested in infrastructure creates 400,000 jobs;” “Raise the minimum wage to a living wage;” “The US needs to have Medicare for all single-payer health-care system;” “Defend Social Security.”

On the environment and global warming, Bernie stated that he sits on both the Senate Environment Committee and the Senate Energy Committee, and he declared, “We have a moral responsibility to our kids and grandkids to leave our planet more habitable than when we found it. We need sustainable energy development. That’s good for the environment and that also creates jobs.”

The evening’s town hall format lent itself to expressions of views of six others who provided three-minute presentations from the left on making sure corporations and the super wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, stopping the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), expanding Social Security, promoting immigration reform and worker justice, making higher education affordable and pursuing clean water over factory farms.

Four of the presenters are friends of mine, and I was pleased to witness their thoughtful addresses on these political issues.

Pat Murphy, a visionary politician who is the Democratic Party candidate for Congress from Iowa’s First District, was in attendance, and his presence was observed and applauded.

Bernie said that his Vermont town hall meetings are just like this one. He complimented organizers of this event, primarily the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) and its director, Hugh Espey.

Bernie entertained questions from audience members after his address, and he also referred audience members to his Senate website,

Bill Cullen is a special correspondent for The Progressive Populist in Dubuque, Iowa.

From The Progressive Populist, October 15, 2014

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