Guest Opinion: Bernie Sanders values working people

Iowa City Councilor Rockne Cole endorses the Vermont senator for the Democratic presidential nomination.


Katie Goodale

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, addresses supporters at his rally at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. Sen. Sanders and Rep. Osasio-Cortez spoke on climate change and women’s rights.

Work is a core value that Iowans share. We like people who get their boots dirty, bale hay from sun-up till sundown — work that last cornrow until every seed is planted. There is nothing more satisfying than a good night’s rest following a hard day’s work creating abundance from our rich Iowa soil.

We work hard to get things done and support our families. One of our earliest lessons is that if you work hard, follow the rules, you will get ahead, and the American Dream will be yours. But for the last 40 years, politicians and their elite influencers have elevated shortcuts and gambling as a way to get ahead, while devaluing the everyday heroes who work as cashiers, sweep the floors, work our fields, or clean our barns.

But not Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

Sanders values the everyday heroes that produce the wealth of this country. He believes that no one works a 40-hour job should ever be in poverty, struggling to put a roof over their head or feed their family. Yet, these heroes, in many cases working two and three jobs seven days a week, are insulted by politicians claiming that their poverty is their fault. They are to blame. They need to work even more. And they are. They in many cases are literally working themselves to death while barely making enough to meet their basic needs.

Sanders will help us return to the timeliness principles that made our country a beacon of hope and freedom.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s report on Iowa found the “housing wage” for a one-bedroom apartment to be affordable is $12.10. Yet, nearly half of retail workers, cooks, waitstaff, fast-food workers, and home-care aides make less than that and cannot afford a one apartment while working full-time. Their children are faced with crippling debt to finance their education or getting a job to support their loved ones. Aggravating this situation, the Trump administration further punishes working families trying to improve their standard of living by kicking them off of food stamps as their take home pay rises. 

No one should lower their standard of living after getting a job. That just isn’t right.

On day one of his administration, Sanders will help us return to the timeliness principles that made our country a beacon of hope and freedom. He will restore the dignity to all working people. They will begin to enjoy what President Franklin Roosevelt called “some measure of security.” They will rest easier knowing that they will not be bankrupted by one major health-care crisis. He will make it easier to join a union, allowing better pay and safer working conditions. For those outside of unions, he will demand that employers pay a living wage for a 40-hour job.

In short, he will return us to our roots that made our country truly great — where we the people that produce the actual wealth are honored rather than the idlers who live off of the labor of others. As President Lincoln once said, “Those that make the corn, should eat the corn.” Let’s return to that foundational American principle and elect Bernie Sanders president.

— Rockne Cole, Iowa City Councilor