Iowans have great ideas for a better future
When I came to Iowa, I wanted to do something a little different. No big speeches or rallies. Just talking directly with everyday Iowans. Because this campaign isn’t going to be about me, it’s going to be about Iowans and people across our country who are ready for a better future. It’s not enough to just get by, you deserve to get ahead and stay ahead. And everywhere I went, I met Iowans with great ideas for how we can get there.
Bryce Smith of Adel told me about how student debt made it harder for him to get the loans he needed to buy and grow his small business, the bowling alley where he had worked as a teenager. We talked about how to help more Iowans overcome these barriers, because if you have the passion and energy and know-how to start a business, student debt shouldn’t stand in your way.
Brendan Comito of Des Moines shared his struggles to find enough skilled workers to keep growing his family’s business. We discussed how to make sure more young people get the training they need to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.
I heard from young people like Ellen Schlarmann of Monticello, a high school student who’s been taking classes at the local community college so she can graduate with dozens of college credits already completed. I loved hearing about how hard she’s working to get ahead.
So is Bethany Moore, a single mom of three from Olin who’s juggling a job, school and raising her kids. She’s worried about piling up debt, but she hopes to continue her education and eventually earn a four-year degree. Like the other Iowans I met this month, Bethany doesn’t expect anything to come easy. But she did ask me: What more can we do so it isn’t quite so hard?
The answer is: We can do a lot — if we do it together. We can build an economy for tomorrow, not yesterday, where being middle class means something again.
We can strengthen families and communities, because when families get ahead, our country gets ahead, too.
We can fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment.
And we can protect our country from the threats that we see around the world and ones that are still over the horizon.
These are the four big fights I’m taking on for you, but I can’t do it alone. We’ve got to tackle this together. We need to build on the success, the hard work and the innovation I found in Iowa.
As school principal Jason McLaughlin put it, Iowans are “pragmatic, proud people.” That’s certainly what I saw firsthand this month. And it’s that spirit that’s going to help move our country forward.
Americans have come back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Something is wrong when CEOs earn 300 times more than a typical American worker and hedge fund managers pay a lower tax rate than a truck driver or a nurse.
Americans are working harder and getting more productive, but they aren’t seeing the reward in their paychecks. So it’s time to reshuffle the deck and deal a better hand to the middle class.
Every conversation I had in Iowa this month left me more convinced that this is what we have to do.
When I talk with fellow grandparents, I can see it in their eyes. We share the joy in seeing our little ones start to thrive — but also a sense of responsibility to do everything we can to leave them a world with more opportunity. I want all our kids to have the same chance at success as my own granddaughter. And that’s what I’m going to fight for as president, every single day.
I will carry the stories and wisdom of the Iowans I met with me throughout the campaign and hopefully onto the White House. You are the reason I got into this race and I will work my heart out to earn your votes.
I’ll be back soon. Thanks for having me, Iowa.
Hillary Clinton is a Democratic candidate for president and former secretary of state. This column first appeared in The Des Moines Register.