MANCHESTER, N.H. – “I will not be the president you turn the volume down on, I will be the president you are proud of.”
Those were final words from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar as she shared her thoughts on a variety of economic topics at Manchester Community College on Friday.
Hosted by Manchester Community College, the New Hampshire Union Leader and Goldman Sachs, the event was split between a question and answer session between Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and the New Hampshire Union Leader’s David Solomon as well as a series of questions from an assembled audience of students and local area residents.
Klobuchar spent portions of the event drawing contrasts between herself and President Trump, most notably in that final comment where she hearkened back to a time when a president’s statements were treated with reverence by all rather than trepidation by many.
She also criticized Trump’s gloating about the economy already in place when his term started, ignoring bipartisan immigration reform that could add billions of dollars into the national economy as well as Trump’s erratic negotiation policy in trade negotiations with China. There, she said Trump’s inability to keep his promises or threats harmed American credibility as well as farmers and manufacturing companies across the country.
While Klobuchar agreed that China has not been a good actor in several areas such as intellectual property theft and currency manipulation, she stressed the need to work with allies rather than a “tweet war.”
Outside of her barbs against Trump, the majority of her comments were geared toward reinvestment of some kind, ranging from infrastructure to student loan debt forgiveness.
Klobuchar said she does not believe in universal debt forgiveness, particularly regarding those not in need of financial assistance, but she stressed the importance of helping students through apprenticeship programs and full debt forgiveness for students who enroll in one or two-year programs for in-demand vocational trades, such as those being taught at the community college.
On that point, she also voiced support for doubling Pell Grant funding as well as greater economic education for younger students.
With greater independence from debt, she noted that millennials graduating from college would be far more likely to engage in the economy than they do today in areas like home ownership.
That general theme of greater access to prosperity to the disadvantaged was a general theme of Klobuchar’s answers, highlighting the state of labor unions in Wisconsin several years ago during the tenure of Governor Scott Walker and how economic growth was higher in her home state thanks to robust unions.
When asked about how she would win in red and purple states, she cited over 100 pieces of bipartisan legislation passed during her time in the Senate, as well as the fact that she has won every congressional district in Minnesota during her three senatorial elections through a mix of reaching out to independents and moderate Republicans as well as lessons learned during her 14 years in the private sector.