Democratic presidential candidate and current U.S. senator from New York Kirsten Gillibrand entered a lively Barley’s on Thursday just after 7 p.m.
Posters for the senator were hung around the room to prepare for her arrival. The room was full of food, drinks and political chatter when an eruption of people stood and cheered as Gillibrand entered the room.
Scott Punteney, chairman of Pottawatomie County Democrats, introduced the presidential candidate on the landing of the staircase. He spoke of her degree from Dartmouth College, and her law degree from UCLA as well as her campaign views.
“The key to her campaign is she’s combating money in politics. She is rejecting corporate lobbyist money,” Punteney said.
While he spoke, Gillibrand made her way through the crowd, shaking hands and speaking to the attendees.
“I love being in Iowa because you take your responsibility really seriously,” Gillibrand said. “As the first in the nation caucus, people want to show up, know what you believe in, what you’re providing and what you’re going to do.”
She spoke of past legislation that she helped push through such as the rejection of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and her efforts to end sexual violence in the military. She said candidates need to do the right thing, whether it be civil rights or fighting to get money out of politics.
Gillibrand said her platform grew out of getting money out of politics, combating global warming and fixing the workforce, education and equality.
“The corruption and greed that defines everything in Washington is real. That’s why we don’t have affordable drug prices,” she said. “When we wrote Medicare Part D in the dead of night, lobbyists came in and wrote the law to say ‘Medicare can’t buy in bulk for the cheapest prices.’ That wasn’t a surprise and that wasn’t an accident. It’s how it works.”
Another instance of money in politics Gillibrand mentioned was when the banks were bailed out. She said senators on both sides of the aisle were bailing out banks, but she stood against it.
Gillibrand said special education needed to be funded by the federal government so the schools would have more money for teachers.
“We need to have equal pay for equal work in this country,” she said.
Sticking to a workforce theme, Gillibrand said it is important that young individuals are trained for a workforce that is progressive and changing toward “greener jobs.”
She called global warming the most “significant threat facing us now.”
“If you have an issue as significant as that, then we need a solution that is as bold,” she said. “The only new thing about the green new deal is the goal.”