Guest Columnist

Harris is best choice for children and families

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks at Iowa Democratic Party's annual Hall of Fame celebration at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Sunday, June 9, 2019.  (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks at Iowa Democratic Party's annual Hall of Fame celebration at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Sunday, June 9, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

It might be because I’m a mom, but this upcoming presidential election feels so personal to me and my family. I was devastated after 2016, and I’ve been looking for someone to return respect and hard work back to the office.

And as a Coralville City Council member, I know it is really important for our community as well.

I decided earlier this year I was going to spend some serious time digging into candidates. Meeting them in person, studying their policies, and evaluating their character. Who will look out for my family? Who will finally help lift wages for working people? Who will support our schools? And who will be a real partner as we try to fix some of our communities biggest problems like crumbling infrastructure and the skyrocketing cost of housing?

There was one clear answer: Sen. Kamala Harris.

I’ve been excited about Kamala for a long time. She is a focused and fearless leader in the Senate, as she has been her whole career. Her ability to use her voice and intellect to get right down to the root of the problem with some of President Donald Trump’s worst nominees is impressive. It told me she was up for this fight. But her policies are really what won me over.

Kamala recently told the Des Moines Register that when she’s deciding about which policy to tackle, she thinks back to her own childhood. That often, her mom, a single mother and breast cancer researcher, would get home from work after her and her little sister had already returned from school. She’d then get dinner ready, get them into bed, and go back to the kitchen table to make the numbers work. Pay the bills, balance the checkbook, the things that keep us all up at night.

So today, when considering her next proposal, she always asks herself, “Is what we’re proposing relevant to the lives of real people?”

And that’s exactly what her policies are.

So far, Kamala has released plans to close the gender pay gap by ensuring corporations are held accountable by her practices. In Iowa, women are paid more than $11,000 less than men, making 79 cents for every dollar made by a man. She knows this is an economic and family issue.

In April, she released a policy to give Iowa teachers a $12,200 raise, paying them their value, improving classrooms for our children, and showing some respect to the men and women who are helping to raise our children.

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She wants to give Iowans a real middle class tax break that we’ve waited generations for. A $6,000 a year credit accessible to families in $500 a month increments since we all can’t wait until a tax refund to fix a broken washing machine or replace a blown tire.

And because I have spent my career fighting for affordable housing, and do so now as a member of the Coralville City Council, I appreciate her advocacy on behalf of Iowans who cannot afford the skyrocketing prices across the state.

All of these things are important to me as both a local leader and a mom.

As Democrats, we have to start winnowing the field early. So I encourage you to stay as engaged as you were in 2018. And I hope you’ll take a serious look at Sen. Harris. She was just in Cedar Rapids, but next time she’s back, I hope you’ll join us. If you text “IOWA” to 70785, the campaign will keep you updated when she’s in town. Hearing directly from her, you’ll understand why I believe she is our best chance of exciting Democrats across the country, defeating Trump, and creating a better future for all of us.

• Meghann Foster is a mother of five kids, a small-business owner, a University of Iowa educator and a Coralville City Council member.

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