Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., kicked off his “Grassroots College Campus Tailgate Tour” Sunday at Iowa State with a call for action aimed at younger voters.
Sanders gave a speech to a few hundred gathered spectators on the dirt floor of the Hansen Agriculture Learning Center.
The Vermont senator was introduced by Nick Leidahl, junior in history. Leidahl said in his introduction it was “time to fight for a real democracy.”
Sanders then took the stage, addressing the student-heavy audience.
“Young people do not in any way vote in the numbers that they should be voting,” Sanders said “If your generation voted at the same percentage as people over 65, we could transform this country.”
Alex Beaver, senior in computer engineering, said the event was a “very Iowa thing.” The venue was an agriculture building with a dirt floor, boards for games of “bags”, and country music reverberating from wall to wall. Event-goers mingled amid the sounds of an acoustic guitar, while others played the available yardgames and some slid down an inflatable slide set up off to one side.
During his speech, Sanders highlighted the main plans he has should he be elected as president. Sanders spoke of his plans ranging from “Medicare-for-all,” to combating wealth inequality and bridging the gap between poor and rich.
“People all over America are sick and tired of the obscene level of income and wealth inequality which exists in this country,” Sanders said.
Sanders provided data to support his Medicare-for-all plan, which was met with applause from the crowd.
“We are spending twice as much on health care as do the people of any other country — and yet our health care outcomes in many cases are worse than other countries,” Sanders said. “The vast majority of people in this country will be paying less for health care than they are paying now, and they’re gonna have comprehensive health care”.
Sanders elaborated his stance on the pharmaceutical industry.
“We are gonna take on the pharmaceutical industry, we’re gonna lower prescription drug costs in this country,” Sanders said.
Regarding climate change, Sanders boasted about his plan. Sanders said his is “the most comprehensive climate change legislation ever introduced by any candidate.”
Sanders also mentioned the possible problems that could arise from climate change, such as flooding — which Iowa has seen much of in recent years — and the acidification of the Earth's oceans.
Mark Arganbright, junior in horticulture, said because of his major he recognizes the importance of “running a sustainable food system.” He added he approves of Sanders’ climate change policies.
Sanders concluded his speech by stressing the importance of coming together and getting involved in the political system, before leaving for his next event on his tour later Sunday at the University of Iowa.