Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton focuses heavily on social justice issues during a speech in Carroll Sunday aftternoon.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton focuses heavily on social justice issues during a speech in Carroll Sunday aftternoon.
" “She promotes human rights and dignity whether it is a debt-strapped college student, parents of a child with disabilities or a good old-fashioned small-business person trying to make a living and be fair with their employees. Her message is universal, and sound bites don’t do her justice.” " Kathy Miller, chairwoman of Guthrie County Democratic Party

July 27, 2015

Carroll

Hillary Clinton says the next president of the United States must understand modern America, the changing nature of families, strong role of women, and use the Oval Office to bridge what she called an achievement gap so all young people toe the same starting line early in school.

“Our families are different today than they were 50 years ago,” Clinton said.

Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for the White House in Iowa and nationally, spoke to an invited crowd of more than 80 people Sunday afternoon south of Carroll at the home of Dr. Steven and Jill Kraus. Democrats from across western and central Iowa were at the event, with Guthrie, Greene, Polk and Adams counties among those represented. State Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, attended, and earned a shout-out from Clinton, who referenced Carroll County as something of an “ancestral home” for him with his connection to Carroll County State Bank and the local Gronstal family.

Clinton drilled into economics issues quickly in a speech calling for an increase to the minimum wage — with the door open to a geographically based scale with the wage floor being set higher in certain cities than rural areas. Clinton said her administration would incent profit-sharing by corporations for its employees, and aggressively support Main Street entrepreneurship, adding, “I want to be the small-business president.”

“No. 1, we’ve got to get the economy working for everybody,” Clinton said.

A new grandmother (to 10-month-old Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky), Clinton showed perhaps the most passion in her advocacy for an early-childhood program. She noted that 80 percent of a human brain is developed by age 3, and that kids who are read and sang to, exposed to culture and conversation, enter school with major advantages over peers lacking such a home life.

“If you came from a family like the Kraus family, that’s very good news,” she said, referencing her hosts. Steven Kraus is the chief strategy officer of Future Health, a medical software company.

Clinton said she’s concerned about the burden of student debt on young people — and heard directly about that matter in private conversations in Carroll.

“We’ve got to get this anchor off of people,” Clinton said. She backs student-loan-debt restructuring.

Clinton said she strongly supports the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” It’s future is in jeopardy if the GOP takes the White House, she said.

In campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton said she’s heard concerns about substance abuse and singled out addictions to over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, and what she called easily accessible “opiates.”

“They were passed out like they were Halloween candy,” she said.

Clinton added on drug abuse, “This is an epidemic, and it’s tearing families apart.”

In the speech Clinton supported gay marriage, abortion rights, comprehensive immigration reform and the public financing of elections.

Clinton said she’d be a strong voice for women in the workplace by, among other things, championing equal pay for equal work.

“I also will be talking a lot about women in the economy,” Clinton said.

A former secretary of State, Clinton is optimistic about the United States’ role in the world.

“I believe we have a lot more opportunities than threats or dangers,” Clinton said.

She had strong words for North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.

“He may be kind of a joke, but he’s a joke with nuclear bombs,” Clinton said.

She supports the recent Iranian nuclear deal with six nations led by the United States.

After her remarks, Clinton mingled with the crowd at the Kraus home for about an hour, chatting and taking photos.

“She took a photo with every person here,” Steven Kraus said.

Kraus, the co-chairman of the Carroll County Democratic Party, went into the afternoon undecided in the Democratic nominating process. He’s now supporting Clinton.

“After hearing that speech there was a lot of substance, a lot of sincerity,” said Kraus, 50, who has hosted campaign events at his home for U.S. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, as well as former Gov. Tom Vilsack and his wife, Christie Vilsack, who ran unsuccessfully against Republican Congressman Steve King in 2012.

Kathy Miller, chairwoman of the Guthrie County Democratic Party, said Clinton’s message will resonate in Iowa.

“She promotes human rights and dignity whether it is a debt-strapped college student, parents of a child with disabilities or a good old-fashioned small-business person trying to make a living and be fair with their employees,” Miller said.  “Her message is universal, and sound bites don’t do her justice.”