WATERLOO — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, won’t be making a decision on running for president until March, at least.
On Friday evening, he and his wife, Connie Schultz, stopped in Waterloo at the TechWorks Campus during his Dignity of Work tour through Iowa.
Brown, 66, was elected to the Senate in 2006, after serving in the U.S. House, as Ohio’s secretary of state and in the Ohio Legislature.
Six months ago, Brown said, he never thought he’d be a candidate for president.
But in the November 2018 election, Brown said he started to see how Democrats aren’t mentioning working families
“People just aren’t talking about workers,” he said. “Democrats have to talk to workers, all workers, whether you swipe a badge or whether you punch a clock or whether you’re working for tips or on salary.”
At a minimum, Brown said he hopes Democrats make the dignity of work — a trade and tax policy that creates jobs — part of the 2020 campaign, he said.
“President (Donald) Trump’s new tax law gives a 50-percent-off coupon if you shut down production in Waterloo, Cedar Falls or Dubuque,” Brown said. “That’s a betrayal of workers, that’s a betrayal of our communities.”
Brown started his tour in Eastern Iowa because he wanted to start in small towns, he said.
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“I’m not trying to speak to big rallies,” Brown said. “I wanted to see more small town, medium-sized cities in Iowa because those areas have too often been ignored by Wall Street when it makes investment decisions and (have) been ignored by the Legislature.”
Brown also reacted to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the decades-old Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia: “I don’t even pretend to understand the president’s relationship with (Russian President Valdimir) Putin.”
Brown met with local legislators, county supervisors, TechWorks Campus employees and University of Northern Iowa officials during his visit.
Republicans criticized Brown’s tour.
“By partaking in the Democrats’ turbocharged race to the left, Sherrod Brown is bound to alienate Iowans as much as every other Democrat who’s already made the trip to the Hawkeye state,” Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Joyce said. “Brown’s ‘Dignity of Work’ tour has nothing to do with fighting for hardworking Iowa families, and everything to do with Brown’s own political ambitions.”
On Thursday, Sherrod made his first stop in Cresco. He also visited Clear Lake on Friday and will be in Dubuque and Clinton on Saturday.