Primary Source: Sanders brigade to include AOC

  • John P. Gregg. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/16/2019 10:15:15 PM
Modified: 10/17/2019 2:26:26 PM

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., sounded like his old self at Tuesday’s 12-person Democratic presidential debate, showing little sign that he had suffered a heart attack just two weeks earlier.

Sanders, 78, delivered a spirited defense of his Medicare for All proposal, and, unlike U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., acknowledged that the plan would come with higher taxes for some, even as it makes health care more accessible, and affordable, for the masses. If it works, that is.

“Well, as somebody who wrote the damn bill, as I said, let’s be clear. Under the Medicare for All bill that I wrote, premiums are gone. Co-payments are gone. Deductibles are gone. All out-of-pocket expenses are gone. We’re going to do better than the Canadians do, and that is what they have managed to do,” Sanders said early in the debate.

“At the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of people will save money on their health care bills. But I do think it is appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up. They’re going to go up significantly for the wealthy. And for virtually everybody, the tax increase they pay will be substantially less — substantially less — than what they were paying for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.”

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg also put in strong debate performances.

Sanders’ outspoken advocacy for a more equitable society is helping him win key backing among high-profile liberal lawmakers. Sanders is going to appear with U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Saturday in Queens, where the first-term lawmaker with broad appeal among young and progressive voters is slated to endorse him, campaign officials confirmed.

And another member of the so-called “Squad,” U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., formally endorsed Sanders on Wednesday.

“Senator Bernie Sanders is the only candidate that has built a movement and continues to build a movement that transcends gender, ethnicity, religion,” Omar said in a video released on social media.

Omar and Sanders on Tuesday also released a bill to make school lunch meals “universal,” or free to all, a concept that has been embraced recently in some Upper Valley communities.

In other endorsement news, Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced the endorsement of another lawmaker no longer in politics (his main backer in New Hampshire is former Gov. John Lynch, though current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also has endorsed Biden, who turns 77 next month).

“I trust Joe Biden. I’m certain that in Joe, America will get a president ready to hit the ground running,” former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., said in statement released by the Biden campaign.

Kerrey, who served as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam and received the Congressional Medal of Honor, was the governor of Nebraska and then served 12 years in the U.S. Senate.

Campaign stops ahead

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., will be campaigning in the Connecticut River Valley on Sunday and Monday, including a rally Sunday evening at the Top of the Hop at Dartmouth College at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.).

Booker, who previously won the endorsement of state Sen. Martha Hennessey, D-Hanover, will also be campaigning in Peterborough and Keene State on Monday.

Warren is also headed back to the Upper Valley next week.

The Massachusetts Democrat, who currently is on top of the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire with a three-percentage point lead over Biden, will be holding a town hall at Dartmouth’s BEMA space next Thursday, Oct. 24, at 1:45 p.m. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.

Later in the day she’ll be holding a town hall at the Newport Opera House at 6:45 p.m., with the doors opening an hour earlier. Warren also plans to campaign in Warner, N.H., the following day.

N.H. voter info

New Hampshire voters who want to switch parties have a big deadline coming up. The last day to change party affiliation with your city or town clerk is Oct. 25. That also pertains to independents (so called “undeclared” voters) who voted in a Democratic or Republican primary in 2018 and might want to switch back.

The candidate filing period for the presidential primary, which is likely to be held in February, will run from Oct. 30 until Nov. 15, and, as in recent years, independents rule the roost when it comes to registered voters.

As of Oct. 1, according to the Secretary of State’s Office, there were 410,314 undeclared voters in the New Hampshire, 291,991 Republicans, and 276,259 Democrats. Put another way, 42% are independents, almost 30% are Republicans, and 28% are Democrats.

Car facts

Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe tweeted out some pertinent rankings about registered cars and trucks in Vermont.

Ashe said he has been “poring over” registration data, and the top 10 models in the state were: Ford F Series, Chevy Silverado, Toyota Tacoma, GMC Sierra, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV-4, Honda CRV, Subaru Outback, Subaru Impreza and Toyota Corolla.

The top four are farm and construction workhorses, and almost all of the vehicles are four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Lots of snowy roads, dirt roads and steep driveways in Vermont.

John P. Gregg can be reached at

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