By PAIGE GODDEN / email@example.com
California Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell hasn’t officially announced whether he intends to run to be the next President of the United States, but he told a group of Iowans Monday evening that he has eight people working for his campaign who are already on the ground in Iowa and “we’re going to put more folks here soon.”
Swalwell spoke Monday night at the Warren County Democrats annual soup supper in Indianola.
Throughout his remarks Swalwell dropped hints at a presidential run, telling the audience to "link arms" with him, to "follow him," and he kept repeating the line: "Let's go big, be bold, do good."
He also made some big promises to the Democrats gathered at Summerset Winery in Indianola, who were raising money for local races. He said he has plans to offer debt-free college, plans to make healthcare affordable and available to everyone and plans to create jobs while protecting the environment.
“Iowa, it’s time that the rest of the country follows your lead when it comes to renewable energy. It’s time we have 100-percent renewables in all of our lifetime,” Swalwell said. “And the way we do that is through infrastructure dollars. We invest in greening the grid.”
In order to pay for the massive overhaul, Swalwell suggested the $1.6 trillion that went to the wealthiest Americans in the last tax cut should go to infrastructure instead.
“Let’s see this as an opportunity to put wind and solar, fuel cells and fusion, in our communities and look that pipeline worker in the eye and make sure they sincerely believe they aren’t going to lose a day’s pay or a lifetime of benefits as we give them a bridge to this new economy,” Swalwell said. “They’ll have a wage and skill guarantee so they’re not pitted between their job and clean air and clean water.
“We’ll end that false choice.”
About 70 people showed up to the Summerset Winery in Indianola Feb. 18 to hear Rep. Eric Swalwell speak and to raise money for local Democrats.
Swalwell also said he wants to offer debt-free college because millennials are “starting families later” and are “not as entrepreneurial as our parents” and are “the least home-owning generation America has ever known.”
The only way to get out of the “quicksand” and get the next generation on their feet, Swalwell said, is to make sure the government doesn’t collect a single cent on student loan interest.
"$120 million a year is what the government brings in on the backs of these student loans,” Swalwell said. “Those dollars should be kept in every graduate’s pocket so they can put it back in the economy.”
He then proposed a college bargain, in which students who are involved in work study programs and pledge to serve a community in need through volunteer service hours will be given a debt-free education.
“You work through college, we’ll make college work for you,” Swalwell said.
Along with college, Swalwell said he’d make healthcare more attainable and affordable for everyone.
Swalwell said under his leadership “the country that has spent over the last 100 years 100 times more on missiles and bombs and nuclear weapons will catch up when it comes to investing in cures in our lifetime.
“I don’t think there’s anything that could unite a country that’s so deeply divided more than looking at Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, cancer, rare disease,” Swalwell said. “...We’re going to put a whole new generation of scientists to work. We’re going to invest in data sharing...so that we know what we’re predisposed to so we can have better targeted therapies.”
He said that will bring down the cost of healthcare, put more people to work and extend and improve quality of life for all Americans.
“Let’s go big. Let's be a country that cures things again,” Swalwell said. “But it means getting out of this incremental rut and giving certainty to the scientists and the National Institute of Health so we can work on this issue and not worry about politics and shutting them down.”
Swalwell said he agreed with Franklin Roosevelt when he told Congress in 1941 that every man, woman and child should have four freedoms.
“The freedom of speech, today the press is declared the enemy of the people. I’ve written legislation. The Journalist Protection Act. To make it a federal crime to threaten or commit violence against any journalist who is doing their job,” Swalwell said. “The freedom of worship in America. The country that wanted to give that freedom to anybody who wants to believe whatever they want, today in America we have a Muslim ban.
“Freedom from fear, or freedom from fear mongering,” Swalwell continued. “That’s what Roosevelt would probably say today. We have a President who invents these new scare-a-vans every single week on the southern border to turn us against ourselves.”
Finally, he said, Americans should be free from “want.”
“That idea that once you work hard, follow that American promise, live that American dream, that you won’t go poor in your retirement,” Swalwell said. “Let’s restore those four freedoms.”
Then, Swalwell said, American can be “bolder, and bigger and better, and add a fifth freedom.”
“A uniquely American freedom,” Swalwell said. “The freedom to dream.”