Feelin’ the Bern in Perry

Clint ColeEditor
Feelin’ the Bern in Perry

On Tuesday, Quinnipiac Unniversity released the results of a poll showing that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the democratic race for president in Iowa with support from 49 percent of likely caucus goers while Hillary Clinton has 44 percent and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has four percent.

One day earlier, on Monday, Sanders made a campaign stop in Perry where he held a town hall meeting and answered questions from some people in attendance, just like several candidates from both parties have already done.

As he commonly does, he preached about his campaign style and how he is doing it through a grass roots effort in his speech at the McCreary Community Building.

“At the end of the day, what I’ve always believed is most powerful is people talking to people just as we’re doing here right now,” said Sanders during his speech. “You ask me questions, if you end up liking what I say you’ll vote for me. If not, you won’t and that’s called American democracy and that’s pretty good.”

Sanders called his campaign style the “old-fashioned way.”

Sanders was introduced by Deb Marlin, a West Des Moines resident and former registered nurse who helped start a free clinic in Clarinda that is still there today. She talked about the importance of health care and that the Affordable Care Act needs to be built upon.

Just before taking questions from the public, Sanders talked about his ideas on health care, stating that the United States is the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right.

“Countries have different health care systems, but they are all together,” said Sanders. “They all have the common goal of guaranteeing health care to all of their people.”

He said that despite the ACA, the United States still has 29 million people without any health insurance and even more who are under insured.

“One of my very important goals as president is to have us join the rest of the industrialized world, guarantee health care for all people, control prescription drug costs,” said Sanders. “And the best way to do that is through a medicare-for-all, single-payer program.”

After speaking for about 45 minutes, Sanders opened the floor and took questions from five citizens at the meeting in Perry.

One of the questions he took was about the most recent War in Iraq.

“I think it is fair to say that the war in Iraq was the worst foreign policy disaster in the history of the United States,” said Sanders. “I listened very closely to what President (George W.) Bush and Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld and others were saying and… I voted against the war in Iraq.”

He mentioned that this is an area that he and Clinton differ on, saying that she voted for the war in Iraq.

He said that the United States can not and should not do military action alone.

“In terms of ISIS, it seems to me that our goal should be to crush and destroy this barbaric organization, but we have got to do it in coalition with countries all over the world. I will do my best to make sure that our young men and women in the military do not get involved in a never-ending, perpetual war in the quagmire of the middle east.”

One citizen, who said he is a member of the UAW asked what Sanders would do with the check if one of the unions wanted to donate $50,000 to his campaign.

Sanders talks strongly of reforming campaign financing and said he will not form a super PAC to take large donations from wealthy people.

“At this particular point, if unions and union members want to chip in a little bit to help out through their unions I’m not going to reject that,” said Sanders. “The nurses are already doing that.”

Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses are on Monday, Feb. 1.