Reached by phone following his stop Oct. 20 at Rio Blanco Mexican Restaurant in Manchester, Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer said that while American people are in a good position, their government isn’t working for them.
“We are in a better position than any people in the history of the world. We don’t have a broken society. We have a broken government and we have to put it back together.”
The billionaire philanthropist may be best known for his self-funded commercials calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. Oct. 20 marked the second anniversary of those commercials.
Steyer said he sees the anger in Iowans as he tours the state. “I think there is sincere anger at the Trump administration,” he acknowledged. “I know I’m seeing Democrats, but they are very upset at the tariffs, at the trade war and about the oil refinery waivers. They feel as if President Trump has been picking on farmers and agriculture and that he hasn’t lived up to his word.”
A committed environmentalist who believes climate change must be reversed, he said Iowa farmers can help with the environment. “We have to move to more regenerative agriculture. I think agriculture and farmers can be a big solution to our climate crisis. They won’t be the only solution but can be a big one. We will work with farmers to come up with solutions that are both effective and also pay them for those practices, just the way they get paid for renting their ground for wind turbines. A green economy can mean more prosperity as well as a safer future and I believe farmers will be right in the heart of that in a very good way.”
Steyer discussed health care, saying, “people talk about a health crisis. We have a health cost crisis. We pay twice as much for health care as anyone else in the world.”
Steyer said he believes a public option instead of Medicare for all will best serve Americans.
“Every American has a right to health care in the 21st century. I believe a public option for people who choose to use it can help drive down costs. But there are also 160 million people who have negotiated their health care from their employer. If that is their choice and they want to keep that, that is their right as far as I’m concerned.”
He believes that by offering both, many may eventually switch to the public option because of costs. “I want to use the public option so that people will go to their employer and ask for it because it is cheaper and better, which will give them a raise in their take-home pay as a result.”
He said his ideas are for everyone. “I think the question is to show, not tell. What I’m talking about is good for Republicans as well as Democrats.”
Steyer said as an outsider to Washington politics, he has an advantage. “I’ve worked on taking on corporations that have been running our society for years. Are you going to trust a Washington insider? Look at my record instead of taking on drug companies, tobacco companies and oil companies.”
Steyer said his campaign is one of honesty. “To me, it’s about who can tell the truth to the American people and who can talk about what’s going to change? How do we take back government to the people? It’s not working for people right now. Everybody in Iowa knows it and everybody is the U.S. knows it. I’m trying to tell the most basic truths in the world and have people respond to it. We have some challenges, but we can meet them. We should be proud of what we can accomplish.”