Vermont Senator and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination Bernie Sanders launched his campaign in Iowa at the Mid-America Center Thursday evening, and plenty of visitors from Iowa and Nebraska turned out to show their support.
Before Sanders took the stage, live music and speakers got the crowd charged up. Heather Pearson of Logan said Sanders is the candidate to bring Medicare for all, expand social safety nets and more.
“We are unstoppable. Another world is possible,” Pearson, echoed by the crowd, chanted.
Sanders took the stage at 7 p.m., sharing thanks before asking those present if they were ready for “a political revolution.”
“Not only are we going to win the Democratic nomination, not only defeat Donald Trump - the most dangerous president in modern American history - we will transform this country to work for all of us, not just the one percent,” Sanders began.
The underlying principles of the government will not be greed, hatred and lies but based on justice, he continued.
Sanders touched on numerous issues, including environmental protections, wealth disparity and lack of financial support for Americans living in poverty.
“We have 20 percent of children living in poverty, veterans living in the streets and seniors in Iowa and Vermont cannot afford prescription drugs,” he said.
Overturning Citizens United and creating public funding for elections was another objective for his campaign, which the crowd approved loudly.
“Iowa is where this political revolution began, and I thank you,” Sanders said about his time during the 2016 primaries.
At the start of that campaign, Sanders polled at 3 percent and said he was labeled as “radical” and “extreme” by political opponents and pundits.
“Raising the living wage and minimum wage? Too radical. Healthcare as a right? Too radical,” he recalled.
Council Bluffs resident Breanne Seidle was at the rally to show her support for Sanders in 2020 as she did during the 2016 presidential election.
“He is the best person for the country. We’re in need of radical change,” she said.
Sanders could be a modern Franklin Roosevelt, bringing New Deal-levels of reform to the country, which is needed, Seidle said.
“Healthcare, for example, should not be tied to employment. Losing your job and struggling to be treated if you’re sick is incredibly stressful, it should not be this way,” she added.
North Platte, Nebraska, native Bill Malone said a candidate like Sanders “comes once in a generation - an opportunity to turn the nation back from economic and social decline.”
“I help him because our country needs help. If it doesn’t happen soon, there will be even more people in the streets,” Maline said. “His message has always been spot on and has never changed.
Sanders said ambitions to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour have grown stronger today than in the 2016 election and cited several states have already passed legislation for it.
“I have to do my job, you have to do your job. Only the American people can do it,” he said.
Sanders asked the crowd to reach out to Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley to support raising the minimum wage here.
Lowering student debt and creating universal childcare were also campaign points Sanders spoke on before promising to expand Social Security benefits.
On the environment, Sanders turned to the Trump administration. He said everyone has a moral responsibility to leave the planet healthy and habitable for their children.
The struggles of rural America in regards to healthcare, education and job opportunities have only increased while the needs of working people and family farmers are not met, he said.
“I ask you join together, because together we will accomplish this,” Sanders said at the conclusion of the rally.