Government

Bernie Sanders' campaign calls Stacey Walker's backing 'more than an endorsement'

Linn County supervisor cites Vermont senator as 'bold progressive'

CEDAR RAPIDS — Endorsing Bernie Sanders wasn’t necessarily easy for Stacey Walker.

Then again, Sanders was the obvious choice for the Linn County supervisor.

“We’re in a moment where we have a walking constitutional crisis of a president and we’re facing challenges unlike any we’ve ever seen,” Walker said Thursday. “Bernie Sanders is the most progressive candidate in the race, and we need a bold progressive.”

He considered other candidates, but found Sanders to be the “gold standard ... the standard-bearer” for the progressive movement.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m appreciative that we’ve got other candidates who, you know, are basically discussing the details, the variations of Sen. Sanders’ plans. That’s a good thing, right?” said Walker, who will be the Sanders’ campaign’s first Iowa co-chairman. “But he’s the real deal.”

He’s backing Sanders because the Vermont independent is doing more than running for president. Sanders is building a movement “that won’t end after he’s sworn in, Walker said.

“That’s inspiring to me because I know that a movement is going to be what it takes if we really want to usher in a new era of progress ... if we want Medicare-for-all, if we want to make colleges and universities tuition-free, and if you want to meaningfully address the climate chaos that confronts,” Walker said.

It was a tough decision for Walker, “but at the end of the day, Bernie is right on all the issues and he’s the boldest on all the issues and that was really what did it for me.”

Walker will talk more about his support for Sanders when he joins the senator Friday for a 6 p.m. “End Corporate Greed” rally on the Iowa City Ped Mall. People begin gathering at 4 p.m.

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Walker, who has emerged as a leader in the Iowa progressive community and is part of Political Party Live!, which has podcasts conversations with several candidates, including Sanders, believes his endorsement will have meaning among Iowa progressives, among people of color and working class Iowans.

For the Sanders’ campaign, Walker’s support is “more than just an endorsement.”

“Like AOC, he will be able to hit the trail for us and represent our multigenerational, multiracial working class movement,” Roger Ouellette, Iowa communications director, said, referring to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

As Sanders’ Iowa co-chairman, Walker plans to be active on the campaign trail. He was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, went to college in Iowa City and has political connections in Black Hawk County, “so I think I’ll be strongest in those counties, which are incredibly important.”

However, he’s visited nearly every county in the state, he said, “so I have political connections that I think will be useful for the campaign.”

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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