Windsor Democrats Hear from Four Presidential Campaigns

Four Democratic Party presidential candidate – Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, and Elizabeth Warren – were represented at the Windsor Democratic Club’s first meeting of 2020, on January 30th at the Windsor Round Table Pizza. Three campaigns – those of Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer – were contacted but unable to provide a representative. The representatives spoke briefly and answered questions.

Kevin Kraynak and Lisa Anderson, both veteran political activists from Sebastopol, spoke for Pete Buttigieg. Kraynak, a Pennsylvania native who first campaigned for Jimmy Carter, said he is impressed by Pete – he’s a veteran, intelligent and sane, and he brings people together.

Anderson likes Pete’s values. Pete “speaks multiple languages, including “progressive, in a way people understand.” He stands for “Medicare for all who want it” and “An end to endless wars.”

We need new blood, Anderson said. Pete is the perfect age to be President. He’s looking to the future.

Linda Carpenter and Windsor resident Maggie McNaughton spoke for Bernie Sanders. They’re not formally associated with the campaign, they said, just big fans.

Sanders’ immigration policy is “ground-breaking,” “sweeping,” “profound.” Under Sander’s Medicare For All program there would be no premiums, no co-pays, and a yearly $200 cap on prescription drugs. College, including trade schools, would be free to all. Sanders supports the Green New Deal, Workplace Democracy, and journalism free of corporate control. His criminal justice reforms are “sweeping,” “amazing.”

Sanders will get people who don’t usually get involved to show up, young people, Latinos, even Republican, McNaughton said, citing her staunch Republican relatives who say they would vote for Bernie.

His programs would be difficult to implement, McNaughton later acknowledged in response to a question, but “That’s not a reason to not to try.” Bernie is promising systemic change.

Michael Bloomberg’s representative was Cynthia Ayers. She’s a New York City native who worked for Clinton in Michigan in 2016, as well as helping with subsequent Democratic races in that state. She’s just now become a paid regional organizer/director for Bloomberg’s campaign, in Northern California, touring on her motorcycle.

“I was team Elizabeth for awhile,” Ayers said. But I’m from New York; I’ve seen how Mike gets things done. He knows that paying attention to climate change is good business. He took on the NRA. He spent $110M on gun reform in 2018. He knows the importance of data. He has plans”, she said, mentioning a wildfire resilience plan.

Bloomberg doesn’t take money from anyone because he wants to be beholden to no one, she pointed out. “I’m glad we’ve got a billionaire on the Democratic side,” Ayers said, “An antidote to the Trump machine.”

Chris Rogers spoke for Elizabeth Warren. Rogers, a Santa Rosa native, was elected to the Santa Rosa City Council in 2016. “I’m not a [campaign] official but I’m a big supporter,” he said.

Rogers has a close friend who is undocumented, and worries that his friend will be deported and not be around for his friend’s daughters. Rogers has a brother who is a school teacher; he wouldn’t want his brother to be shot at, or worse, have to shoot a gun to defend himself. “He’s a klutz!”

Rogers said that Warren’s policies always resonated with him: a humane immigration policy, restoring DACA, climate change. Medicare for All, free public higher education for everyone, forgiving student debt, and a 2% wealth tax on assets over $50M. “No one should be that rich,” Rogers said.

Still, he used to be on the fence. “Blue no matter who  … and then, the fires happened.” After the Tubbs fire Elizabeth Warren’s staff reached out to him and others in Sonoma County to ask what needed to be done to recover from the fires and to prevent future disasters and offered concrete legislative assistance. Her staff’s willingness to work and listen impressed him.

Asked what candidates had in common, what might pull Democrats together, a woman said she was worried that Warren calls herself a capitalist.

“Capitalism does not mean lack of regulation,” Rogers said. “Warren wants to rein capitalism in.” She’s not just a mother, he joked. “She’s the mother of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.”

We let the Republicans label us as socialist and communist, another listener commented. We need to take control of the narrative.


–Shirley Johnston

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