Bullock brings campaign message to Marshalltown
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, one of more than 20 Democratic candidates for president, returned to Marshalltown Wednesday with a message centered on reaching rural voters.
Bullock was joined by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller at the Tremont on Main. The pair were in Marshalltown in April 2018 when Miller was on the midterm ballot.
“Democrats in rural areas, in rural areas of Iowa, if folks are voting their economic interests, their health care interests, their education interests, we’re the ones who fight for them,” Bullock said. “We’ve got to make that connection.”
He said Marshall County and about one-third of Iowa counties need a Democratic candidate who will reach rural voters.
“Here, we’re in a county that used to be Obama, Obama, then all the sudden came Trump,” Bullock said. “A third of your counties went Obama, Obama, Trump. If we can’t win back places that we lost, if we can’t give people a reason to vote not just against him, but actually for us, (President) Donald Trump will win.”
In 2016, Bullock managed to get re-elected to the Montana governorship by 4 percent while Trump carried the state by 20 percent. He was the only Democrat to win re-election in a statewide race in a state that Trump won.
“Part of the lesson is we can’t write off places just because we lost in the past, or because it’s hard to win,” Bullock said.
Another big part of Bullock’s message is getting “dark money” out of American politics. He said donor interests were a driving factor behind the 2017 Republican-led tax cuts at the federal level, as well as many state initiatives.
He also described his opposition to the United States Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, which defined political donations as a form of free speech.
“Before Citizen’s United, 2 percent of all outside spending was from groups that didn’t disclose their donors. This last election it was over half of (what was) spent,” Bullock said.
The Montana governor also described his views on health insurance, one of the hot-button policy items being discussed by the two dozen Democratic presidential candidates.
“I think you could have access and affordability – that’s affordability to the patient and affordability to the federal government – by doing a buy-in public option, by negotiating prescription drug prices, by getting rid of surprise medical bills and out-of-network billing. You could do all of that without displacing 165 million people that have employer-sponsored health insurance,” he said. “I would not be for Medicare for All, I would be for a public option.”
Miller said he has known Bullock since the governor’s days as Montana’s attorney general.
“I’ve known him for 12 years. I know him well, and I’m supporting him because of the package of qualities that he brings,” Miller said of Bullock. “He connects with people better than anybody I’ve seen in the Iowa Caucuses except for Barack Obama. That’s why he wins in Montana. That’s the kind of candidate we need and that’s the kind of president we need.”
Bullock’s visit to Marshalltown Wednesday makes him the ninth Democratic candidate to visit the city. The others include U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders, as well as former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. Rep. John Delaney and Beto O’Rourke, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
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