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Gabbard touts climate change, gun control in Haverhill visit

  • Gary Hutchins, of Enfield N.H ask Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard a question in Haverhill, N.H., on Friday, July 5, 2019 during a campaign stop. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • After a campaign stop in Haverhill, N.H. Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard visits Kim Gray of 4 Corners Farm in Newbury, Vt., on Friday, July 5, 2019. Gray and her husband Bob are Gabbard supporters. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard speaks to a small audience in Haverhill, N.H., on Friday, July 5, 2019. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, July 05, 2019

HAVERHILL — Americans are living with a system “of, by and for the rich and powerful,” Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said Friday.

Gabbard, a three-term congresswoman from Hawaii, said that a selfishness often trickles down to foreign policy, military spending and health care, where officials too often are looking out only for themselves.

“As we see different policies being written, different laws being proposed, really we have the highest paid lobbyists who have a seat at the table and (are) impacting (policy),” Gabbard told an audience of about 25 people gathered in Haverhill at the First Congregational Church’s parish hall.

A major in the Hawaii National Guard who was twice deployed to the Middle East, Gabbard framed herself as a public servant who could break that mold and bring a “soldier’s heart to the White House.”

She said experience overseas also would help guide a less interventionist foreign policy and help cut waste at the Pentagon.

Gabbard pointed out that tensions with Iran, China and other nations continues to build, even as the country has spent more than $6 trillion on what she called “regime change wars” since the Sept. 11 attacks.

“This is why I talk about a foreign policy based on cooperation rather than conflict,” she said. “This is central to our being able to deescalate these tensions.”

Gabbard also touted on Friday a commitment to solving climate change, citing her 2017 Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act.

The legislation, which never made it out of committee in the then-Republican-controlled House, would have mandated 80% of energy used for electricity, vehicles and trains come from renewable sources by 2027. That number would then increase to 100% by 2035.

“Climate change is an existential threat,” Gabbard told the audience.

But it was the congresswoman’s stance on gun control that drew the most conversation on Friday. Gabbard has called for mandating comprehensive background checks to purchase firearms and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Enfield resident Gary Hutchins worried Gabbard’s stance would scare off moderates considering voting for her.

“Don’t make that an issue where you’re going to lose 35 million voters,” said Hutchins, a Vietnam War veteran and former school teacher. “The kids know the gun is not the issue; it’s us.”

Gabbard replied that gun control is used by conservatives and liberals to “drum up votes or to drum up donations.”

The issue is “one where we’ve got to look for common sense solutions,” she said, adding the military requires extensive firearms training before allowing its personnel to carry a weapon. “It’s a serious thing, because in the wrong hands, it can do a lot of harm.”

Gabbard was accompanied on Friday by immediate family members, who worked cameras and helped to coordinate interviews. The campaign also made several appeals for donations, which it will need to qualify for important debates in the fall.

The Democratic National Committee requires participants reach 2% in multiple national polls and receive 130,000 individual donations to make the September and October debates.

Real Clear Politics’ national polling average puts Gabbard’s support at 1%, nearly the middle of the Democratic field. And the campaign said on Wednesday it has received donations from 93,207 individuals. It picked up a few more in Haverhill as people slipped dollar bills into campaign envelopes.

Vershire residents Mike and Tonya Gunn said they intend to support Gabbard in the primary, partially because of her reputation for bucking partisan politics.

“There’s nobody that speaks any more truth and honesty and integrity,” Mike Dunn said after Friday’s event. “That’s all we want, someone who’s honest with integrity.”

Tonya Gunn said she was first introduced to Gabbard in 2016, when the congresswoman campaigned for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. She’s followed Gabbard with interest ever since.

“She’s willing to speak out,” Tonya Gunn said. “She’s authentic, real. She truly wants to put people first.”

Lyme resident Lynore Bolton is still undecided. Bolton, who attends almost every campaign event within an hour drive from home, is seeking someone capable of taking on Trump.

“I love what (Gabbard) said about service to others first,” Bolton said, adding the congresswoman also showed a deep understanding of foreign policy. “We have to rebuild out alliances and connections (abroad).”

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.