Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris speaks to constituents at a house party in Knoxville on Dec. 1.

KNOXVILLE — Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris proclaimed there would be justice on the ballot for working families, teachers, school children and mental healthcare during a house party in Knoxville on Dec. 1.

Harris says her goal has always been to be a voice for the voiceless and a representative of the people.

“There is a dad tonight that will be sitting at his kitchen table trying to figure out how he’s going to get through the end of the month, because even though he’s working two jobs, he’s paying more taxes than the 400 richest families in America,” says Harris. “Economic justice is on the ballot. I’m running for president to say that for too long, the rules have been written in a way that have not supported working families in America.”

Harris plans to change the tax code so that families who make under $100,000 a year will receive a tax credit of up to $6,000 a year, taking home up to $500 a month. She says she plans to repeal the tax bill that benefits the top 1 percent in the nation to pay for the tax credit.

Harris went on to explain her Medicare for All plan, which is slightly different from other candidates. Harris’ plan would cover everyone, including those with pre-existing conditions. It would also include vision, dental and hearing aid coverage. She says she does not plan on getting rid of private insurance, but will have both a public and private option. However, she plans to hold private insurance companies responsible, saying they will not be allowed to charge copays or deductibles.

“It should be, especially in this year of our lord 2019, a no brainer, that everyone in our nation should have access to healthcare, and it should not be a function of how much money they’ve got in their back pocket,” says Harris.

According to Harris, 94 percent of public school teachers pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, and they are making 11 percent less than similarly educated professionals.

“I’m running for president to say that we’re going to put in place, the first in our nation’s history, a federal investment in closing the teacher pay gap, which here in Iowa is $12,200 a year,” says Harris. “$12,200 a year is a year worth of mortgage payments, or a year’s worth of grocery bills, or putting a significant dent in student loan debt, which is one of the biggest reasons our students don’t come out and join a profession for which they have a passion.”

Harris went on to say she would implement more gun safety laws, including universal background checks and a renewal of the assault weapon’s ban.

“Leaders have to have the courage to lead on this, and it’s a false choice to say you’re either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away,” says Harris. “I’m in favor of the Second Amendment, but I also know, having looked at more autopsy photographs than I care to tell you … that we need reasonable gun safety laws in our country.”

Harris says she plans to bring the issue of mental health out of the shadows to give people the resources they need and deserve to live healthier lives.

“We have to treat what is paining and is causing people in our country to silently suffer needlessly,” says Harris.

Harris also took questions from constituents, including her stance on immigration and the crisis at the border, reforming the current justice system, President Trump’s border wall and conservation incentives for Iowa farmers.

Chair of the Marion County Democrats Ann Fields hosted the house party packed with 50-plus constituents.

Emily Hawk can be reached at ehawk@pellachronicle.com or by calling the Pella newsroom at 641-628-3882.

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