Presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard talks foreign policy, Medicare in Iowa City

Hawaii Democrat touts military experience in Iowa City campaign stop

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii running for president, campaigns Tuesday at Yotopia in Iowa City. The Na
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii running for president, campaigns Tuesday at Yotopia in Iowa City. The National Guard veteran said she wants to cut military spending and invest those dollars in improving health care, infrastructure and education. KC McGinnis/Freelance

IOWA CITY — U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii, touted her foreign policy ideas and military experience to a crowd at Iowa City’s Yotopia on Tuesday morning.

Gabbard, a Hawaii National Guard veteran who was twice deployed to the Middle East, called for an end to spending on “regime-change wars” and nuclear weapons.

“I know firsthand the cost of war,” said Gabbard, 38. “The most important responsibility that the president has is to serve as commander-in-chief. And the experience and the understanding that I bring to that forefront makes me uniquely qualified to fill that position to bring about an end to regime-change wars, to work to end this new Cold War and nuclear arms race.”

If military spending is cut, it means money can be redirected and invested in those living in the United States by improving health care, infrastructure and education.

“Why talk about the cost of war so much?” she asked. “It is because unless we address this cost of war, unless we shift the priorities in this country, we will not have what we need to meet those needs that we have. We will not have the resources to invest in the kind of future and today that we need to see.”

Gabbard’s stump speech stood out to Kelsey Bayliss, 29, of Wellman, who said she’s been attending as many presidential candidate visits as possible.

Though she hasn’t chosen a candidate to support, she thought Gabbard’s position on foreign affairs was strong.


“She has served herself,” she said. “You know, you can’t necessarily talk the talk unless you’ve walked it. So I really appreciate that in a candidate.”

One of Gabbard’s points receiving the most applause Tuesday was her call for Medicare for all.

In a Medicare-for-all bill, she said, a “baseline level of quality care” could be created, and people could choose to buy private insurance beyond that.

“Medicare for all brought me here,” said Darius Gordon, a 29-year-old visiting from New York. “Obviously, (it’s) one of the three biggest topics for this presidential debate along with climate change, and probably gun control would be the other.”

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