Full Service Westside

On Saturday, April 6th, Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate seeking the nomination for the 2020 presidential election, hosted a town meeting at West Middle School. At this event, Sanders shared some of his key platform goals, introduced a panel of Muscatine residents who shared why they support him, and held a question and answer session.
Nina Turner, a former Ohio senator and current co-chair of Sanders’ campaign opened the town meeting by giving a brief biography of Sanders, focusing on his Polish immigrant father, his difficult childhood in Brooklyn, New York, and his long history of political advocacy. She then shared that she supported Sanders because she believes he has the ability to bring people together for positive change. Turner ended her remarks by observing that Muscatine provides an excellent environment for candidates to share their views and interact with voters. “What is beautiful about being in Muscatine is that this is a town hall to go deeper than we usually get to, and you all are setting the pace for that.”
Sanders himself picked up where Turner left off. He opened his remarks by saying, “What I love about having small meetings like this and great panelists is they’re going to talk about what goes on right here in Muscatine and you’ll have the opportunity to add your own two cents.” Sanders then discussed his core platform goals, which includes increasing funding for pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade education, increasing the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, reducing the cost of college to decrease student loan debt, creating universal healthcare, improving infrastructure, addressing climate change on a large scale in the next twelve years, reforming the criminal justice system, and working to address the issue of illegal immigration.
After Sanders finished his speech, he introduced each of his four panelists from Muscatine, Nicholas Salazar, Alexis Huscko, Jessica Brackett, and Alyson Glynn. Each panelist then talked for a short time about why they supported Sanders and encouraged others to do so too.
Salazar, an activist and organizer for immigrant rights and co-chair of the Muscatine Democratic Socialists, discussed his work to successfully reform labor laws in Iowa and how he felt Sanders could help further reform them at a national level.
Next, Huscko talked about her lifelong struggle with mental health issues stemming from abuse as a child, and how frequent changes to privatized Medicaid providers have made it difficult for her to find and maintain consistent mental health care. She expressed a belief that a universal Medicare system like the one Sanders envisions could help more people in need access quality mental health care.
Brackett spoke next. Through her long history of working for non-profit organizations, Brackett played a role in bringing marriage equality and equal rights for people of all sexual orientations to Iowa, as well as pushing for stronger environmental regulation in Muscatine County. As an activist for better air quality, Brackett feels Sanders can help enact more stringent environmental regulations nationwide to protect and extend the work of activists like herself.
Finally, Glynn backed up the perspectives of several of the other candidates. As the mother of a son with severe breathing difficulties, she would like to see serious improvements in air quality as well as lower healthcare costs. Seconding Huscko and Brackett, Glynn thought Sanders’ stances on environmental regulation and healthcare could provide the kinds of programs she would like to see.
To close the town meeting, Sanders allowed several of the 260 audience members to ask him questions. Sanders responded to the questions by tying them into the larger policy goals he introduced in his earlier speech.

Full Service Westside