CEDAR RAPIDS — John Delaney has been told it’s too early to be thinking about the 2020 presidential race.
The U.S. representative from Maryland, who has been to Iowa 15 times and visited all 99 counties, doesn’t think so. In fact, he thinks it’s time to be thinking about 2030.
Introducing Delaney, state Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, said Iowa Democrats are rightly focused on the 2018 campaign. However, they welcome the support of national candidates like Delaney and the ideas they bring to the discussion.
Delaney didn’t disappoint. His was not the typical stump speech.
For more than an hour in front of more than 75 people at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, he talked about technology, artificial intelligence, life sciences and medicine, modernizing education and making universal health care available “because it’s a right and it make good economic sense.”
“The world changes fast,” he said, and the job of government and elected officials is to update the institutions of society to be prepared for those changes.
Instead, Congress is in gridlock, which benefits the wealthy and special interests while working people pay the cost, Delaney said.
“The cost of doing nothing is not nothing,” he said.
Delaney, 55, campaigns as a centrist with a business background. He’s served in Congress since 2013. In 2004, he was an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He launched two companies that he later took public and was the youngest CEO in the history of the New York Stock Exchange.
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“I believe in capitalism. It’s an amazing invention machine,” Delaney said, calling for a more just and inclusive capitalism.
He’s the first Democrat since John Edwards in 2007 to make the “full Grassley” — a visit to all of Iowa’s counties — and Delaney has done it before the caucus campaign begins in earnest. He made his first campaign visit to Iowa more than a year ago, and his campaign said Delaney has hosted or attended more than 170 events.
The biggest event likely was in front of about 1,000 people at the North Iowa Wing Ding. He’ll be back to speak to the Polk County Democrats’ Steak Fry on Sept. 29.
Delaney called for a “big tent” approach to Democratic politics. He said progressives and centrist Democrats, independent voters and Republicans disillusioned by Trump already agree on immigration reform, early-childhood education and infrastructure investment.
If Democrats can bring them together, he said, they will have a winning combination.
“This is the opportunity to be the party that actually gets real things done,” Delaney said about Democratic prospects in 2020 — and beyond.
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