Presidential hopeful and California billionaire Tom Steyer made his way to Pahrump during a weekend of campaign stops in Southern Nevada. Steyer is the only presidential candidate to visit Pahrump on the campaign trail for the 2020 race.
Steyer made a roughly 90-minute stop at Johnny’s Mexican Restaurant for a meet and greet with local community leaders and caucus volunteers and voters on Sunday.
Steyer, who joined the field of Democrats vying for the party’s ticket this summer, spoke avidly against involvement of large corporations in the political landscape during the early portion of his speech to a room of more than four dozen supporters.
“I’m running for a really simple reason,” Steyer said. “I’m running because I believe the government has been purchased by corporations. It doesn’t work for the people of the United States. It doesn’t even try to work for the people of the United States.”
The upcoming 2020 election is an integral part of changing this, according to Steyer.
“If we’re going to get any of the things, the progressive ideas the Democrats all want, and I believe everybody wants, we’re going to have to take back our government,” Steyer said. “It’s going to be the government of, by and for the people, and that’s really the question in this election.”
Steyer has a history of working to bring more progressive candidates to the forefront.
Steyer is the founder of a nonprofit organization known as NextGen America, which works, at a national level, to bring younger voters to the polls and pushes for more progressive candidates. NextGen, initially known at NextGen Climate, launched in Virginia in 2013 and has been in Nevada since 2014, according to Steyer.
Steyer stepped down from the organization once he announced his candidacy.
Steyer has worked on other efforts in the past against President Donald Trump, including founding the Need to Impeach political group that has worked to remove Trump from office. The group launched in 2017.
Steyer is also a heavy proponent of taking on climate change.
Steyer also spoke about several issues during his speech, including affordable health care, education investment and other major topics.
Steyer said he is for structural change and term limits for congresspeople.
“I’m also for direct democracy, just so you guys know,” Steyer said.“If you ask me who I trust, the people of the United States or the politicians, I’m not thinking. I trust the people. That’s called democracy. I would trust the people.”
On this front, Steyer said he would push for a system where voters would be able to change laws through national referenda.
Essentially, this would work as it does in Nevada and other states that allow for ballot measures, where, for example, new legislation could be put to a vote of the electorate of a state a measure was put forth in. In Nevada, citizens have to meet a signature requirement before getting a referendum put on the ballot as part of the process.
Steyer’s platform also heavily involves fighting against climate change. During his introduction speech to his supporters, Steyer referred to himself as a “climate warrior.”
“I know that we have to do it,” Steyer said. “I would declare a state of emergency on day one (as president). I know that we have to do it. I know that we can do it.”
Taking on the climate crisis could end up being a prosperous endeavor under Steyer’s plan.
“We can be better paid, better employed, richer, grow faster and healthier for taking on our biggest challenge, which is climate,” he said.
In an offstage interview, Steyer explained that rural areas are a part of attacking climate change.
“I think we’re going to have to partner with rural communities, in terms of climate, and that’s going to bring in a bunch of money,” he said. “People are going to get paid for that.”
Steyer used Nevada as an example.
“Look at Nevada,” he said. “This is the state that is best suited for solar out of all the 50 states. Should that be a source of income and job creation for the state of Nevada? Yeah.”
But partnering with rural areas on climate impacts is just part of the plan, which would include subsidies, for rural areas if Steyer were to be elected in 2020.
“There’s no doubt that for us to make rural communities prosper, we’re going to have to do some things differently, we’re going to have to build broadband, we’re going to have to build better roads to make them connect,” he said.
Steyer would also invest federal dollars in rural hospitals and mental health as well, he said.
The presidential candidate made his way across Las Vegas at end of November and early December. The Nevada caucuses are ahead on Feb. 22.
Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @MeehanLv