Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders spent his 78th birthday campaigning across Iowa, making his first stop at Iowa State University.
Sanders called for the mobilization of voters under 35, saying in order to enact change, they must become politically involved. In 2018’s midterm elections, after historically low voter turnouts, the United States saw an increase in voters ages 18 through 29. One of Sanders’ goals is to keep that momentum through the 2020 elections.
“In America we have one of the lowest voter turnouts in any major country on earth,” said Sanders. “One of the reasons for that is that young people don’t vote in any way in the numbers that they should be voting.”
During his speech, the senator emphasized his platforms on medicare for all, free college tuition, and fighting climate change amongst other topics. Sanders called out people for calling his policies “crazy” and unachievable, stating variations of his policies already existed in several states and countries abroad. One of those policies being raising the minimum raise to $15 an hour.
“Here is the reality. If you make $15 an hour, you won’t be rich, but at least you can have a minimum standard of living,” said Sanders. “Four years ago I said we are going to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and you know what has happened since? Seven states have raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour and so has the House of Representatives.”
Sanders said similar changes have happened involving free college tuition with states and major cities such as Oregon, California, New York, Chicago, and Detroit, which all have enacted some form of free tuition program.
“There is not a question in my mind about whether, in the near future, all public colleges and universities will be tuition free. That’s going to happen. The only question is if whether or not you are going to stand up and fight to make that happen sooner rather than later,” said Sanders.
Sanders will complete his “Tailgate Tour” of Iowa’s three state universities Monday at University of Northern Iowa.
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