BY PAIGE GODDEN / Iowa Political Mercury
Responding to questions from Iowans about whether she'd take money from super PACs, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said the National Riffle Association has a “chokehold” on congress.
“The truth is Washington is corrupted,” Gillibrand said. “It is corrupted by the greed and money in politics.
“When you look at any issue you care about, the reason it's not getting done is because of corruption and greed,” Gillibrand continued. “We can't take on gun violence after every mass slaughter, after every mass shooting, after every tragedy in this country because the NRA has a chokehold on congress.”
The New York Senator said the NRA does not want “competent gun reform” because they “want to sell more weapons.”
“When you're against universal background checks, what you're saying is I want to sell a weapon to someone on a terror watch list,” Gillibrand said. “What you're saying is I want to sell a weapon to a teenager in Walmart. It says you want to sell a weapon to someone with great mental illness with a violent background...
“That is what you are saying and that is what the NRA is saying,” Gillibrand continued. “That, my friends, is not capitalism. That my friends is greed. That is the definition of greed. When we put profits over people it is the definition of greed. That is the NRA today.”
Gillibrand was speaking to a crowd of more than 200 gathered in downtown Des Moines Wednesday evening.
She spoke about a number of issues ranging from climate change to social security.
She also proposed an overhaul to the healthcare system, stating she's for universal healthcare because insurance companies are for-profit companies.
“Their job isn't to guarantee human health,” Gillibrand said about health insurance companies. “Their job is to make sure share holders get quality profits and returns. So it's not aligned. It can't be done.
“We can't get you universal healthcare that's affordable on a for-profit system,” Gillibrand said. “No matter how well-meaning any one part of that industry is. It's just the nature of it.”
She said she ran her New York congressional campaign in 2005 on the idea of “Medicare for all.”
“I said why shouldn't we be able to buy in at a price you can afford? Four or five percent of your income?” Gillibrand asked. “Why not create competition in the system. Let the insurers compete.”
Her stance on healthcare helped win the election in a district that has “more cows than Democrats,” Gillibrand said.
She also said climate change is her number one issue.
She pitched three ways to help combat climate change. The first is to update infrastructure and build high-speed rail and rural high-speed internet.
She also proposed creating more green jobs and to encourage more students to go to into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers to learn how to better combat climate change.