ATKINSON — A former Maryland Congressman, John Delaney fostered laughter, deep questions and head nods in the Atkinson Community Center at an event hosted by the Atkinson Democrats Tuesday morning as residents enjoyed donuts, coffee, and political discussion.
Delaney said the American people do not need more gridlock or ideology, but instead need solutions that address their problems.
"They don't need impossible promises, they don't need pie in the sky ideas or slogans that sound good but are not real policy," Delaney said. "They need real solutions, and that's what my campaign is about."
He was the United States Representative for Maryland's 6th congressional district from 2013 to 2019. A moderate Democrat, he did not seek re-election to better focus on his campaign for the oval office in 2020.
Delaney said he came from a blue-collar household in New Jersey where his father's career as a union electrician fostered several opportunities for him, including an education from Columbia University and a law degree at Georgetown University. He met his wife April soon after and they have four daughters aged 26, 22, 19, and 12.
To a crowd of two dozen, Delaney addressed major issues he'd change if elected, and a few bipartisan ideas to get American moving in the right direction.
One of the first issues Delaney spoke of was the success rate of the current generation in relation to their parents. He noted it's harder for young people to be successful in today's age, due to fiscal factors and environmental debts.
"Young kids today, unless we change our cores, will be the first generation of Americans who will not do better than their parents," Delaney said, who mentioned people today are leaving the next generation with climate change issues.
Delaney said the fact that half of the country cannot afford an unanticipated $500 expense and 40% can't afford basic necessities has happened quickly due to technology and globalization.
"This change has not been positive for everyone," Delaney noted, mentioning that although billions have been lifted out of poverty over time, "huge parts of our country have been left behind."
In discussing education, Delaney lauded K-12 as a "remarkable system," adding that every child should be able to access Pre-K as a basic right. He proposed Pre-K through 14 as the new education model.
Regarding medical insurance, Delaney noted that he does not propose private insurance becoming illegal if insurance were to become available for all because half of the country has private insurance. Delaney said half of the country's seniors have Medicare Advantage, a private form of Medicare.
If elected Delaney said in his first 100 days he would "champion five or six big ideas" such as immigration, infrastructure, climate, technology policy, and national service, all based "word for word on an existing bipartisan bill of the congress of the United States."
Delaney said one issue he believes he would be able to accomplish his first year even if U. S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is the head of the U.S. Senate would involve climate change.
"I think climate is a big problem, I suspect a lot of people do too," Delaney said.
Delaney mentioned when he was in Congress he introduced the only bipartisan carbon tax bill — "the only bipartisan anything on climate change."
The proposal puts a price on carbon and is modeled to reduce green house gas emissions by 92 percent, raising the cost of fossil fuels earning three trillion dollars over 10 years. This money, which increases the price at the gas pump, will later benefit the American people in the form of a yearly dividend.
"You just need a strategy," Delaney said, "and you know, that's how it's always been."
Atkinson resident Karen Steele asked Delaney how he would deal with propaganda and the money in politics; noting 40% of the population has a set of conservative facts from Fox News and talk shows, and another 40% has a combination of other news sources.
Delaney responded that one of the problems in the country right now is that "the truth has become elusive." To combat this, Delaney proposed that the president should debate Congress every three months for three hours on national television.
"We need that kind of old fashioned town square type of public debate," Delaney said. "Right now we live in this world of alternative facts."
Answering a question about reducing prescription drug costs Delaney said he would let Medicare negotiate the prices of the drugs. He suggested universal background checks would combat the concerns over assault rifle availability.
On Tuesday, Delaney released a plan to address the country's opioid crisis, which includes the strengthening of prevention efforts, making sure there is access to substance use disorder treatment, investing in recovery, and funding for programs.