Bernie Sanders rallies at an Iowa City ice-cream social

Sen. Bernie Sanders rallied again around working-class families in an Iowa campaign stop. The Democratic presidential-nomination candidate said he was confident he will win the state of Iowa and secure the Democratic presidential nomination.


Roman Slabach

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, speaks to supporters during an ice cream social, Tuesday, July 2, 2019, at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center in Iowa City, Iowa.

Julia Shanahan, Politics Editor

New York City native Kamila Agi-Mejias said at a Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign event in Iowa City on July 2 that she will vote for the presidential-nomination candidate who she feels has the best chance to beat President Trump in 2020 — similar to many voters <i>The Daily Iowan</i> has spoken with heading toward the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

“He always speaks truth to power,” she said, noting that Sanders is her first choice among the other 23 Democratic candidates.

Agi-Mejias works as an art therapist at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. She said human-rights issues, pointing to family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border, is a priority for her this election season.

Sanders held an ice-cream social at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center on July 2. After missing a flight in Chicago, the Vermont senator drove to Iowa City “in true Bernie fashion,” said a campaign organizer.

“I have absolute confidence that we are going to win here in Iowa, that we are going to win the nomination and beat the most dangerous president in U.S. history,” Sanders said at the rally.

As in many other Iowa stops, Sanders rallied around the working class, saying he would raise taxes on wealthy corporations and implement a tax on Wall Street in order to pay for universal free college tuition and a Medicare-for-all health-care system.

The United Food & Commercial Workers Local of 230 of Ottumwa, Iowa, a meatpackers’ union, announced its endorsement of Sanders at the ice-cream social. Around 1,800 union members 1,800 union members — primarily in the pork processing industry — are represented by Local 230.

“I have been called radical and extreme,” Sanders said. “That’s OK. And since the last time I was in Iowa, a lot more people have become radical and extreme.”

Many other candidates campaigning in Iowa have campaigned on a transition to a Medicare-for-all health-care system. Such candidates as Sen. Elizabeth Warren have also introduced a plan for universal free college.

Sanders said there will soon be a vote in the U.S. House and Senate to make the federal minimum wage $15/hour. When he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, he pointed out, campaigning on $15/hour was also considered “radical.”

“I hope very much you tell [Iowa] Sens. Ernst and Grassley that workers in Iowa and in America cannot make it on 8, 9, or 10 bucks an hour,” Sanders said.

The campaign stop comes roughly a week after the first Democratic presidential-nomination debates. While she is committed to supporting Sanders, 23-year-old Katie O’Brien said she thought he could have performed better.

O’Brien spent a year working for FEMA CORE*, following the Camp Wildfire in California and doing work in Puerto Rico. She wants to see candidates talk more about foreign policy, she said, but she likes Sanders’ approach to cut military spending as a way to invest more money in health care and education.

“[Sanders wants to] cut military spending, which would then be able to help pay for things that would benefit the majority of Americans,” O’Brien said.

Sanders will be in Iowa City on July 3 for an office opening, and then will attend an Immigration Roundtable discussion and Fourth of July Parade in Des Moines in the late afternoon and evening.

*FEMA CORE is the agency’s Cadre of On-Call Response/Recovery Employees, who generally serve for two to four years.