Candidate John Delaney follows 15-minute stump speech with hour-long conversation

Congressman John Delaney showed himself to be a presidential candidate worth a second or third look when he spent the evening with Greene County Democrats March 15 in Churdan.

About 50 persons attended the Irish Soup Supper in the new Churdan Community Room. The St Patrick’s Day-themed event was coordinated with the Delaney campaign as a fundraiser for the local Democrats. As he did last summer, touring the state creating roundtables and events that also included Democrats in the mid-year elections, he graciously supported local efforts. His visit last week was his 254th visit in Iowa.

Delaney grew up in a blue collar town in “North Jersey,” he said. His father was a union electrician and earned a wage to give his family of four “a good life.” The union also paid for half his college tuition.

He met his wife while he was in law school. They have four daughters ranging in age from 26 to 11. He started two businesses lending capital to mid-size companies. “I was blessed with good success. I was good at it,” he said.

He served in Congress from 2013 through the end of 2018 serving Maryland’s sixth Congressional district.

“I’ve lived the American dream and I feel very blessed by the opportunities this country has given me, the opportunity to now live a meaningful life and be in service to other people. That’s the ultimate privilege anyone has in this country, and now I have the ability to do it,” Delaney said.

He said he wants young people to have the same opportunities. “You’ve got to work hard, You’ve got to live by the rules, but you should live in a world and in a society where there are institutions to support you. We haven’t done that,” he said.

He said economic opportunities won’t be the same for young people as they have been for older generations, and with fiscal and climate debts that are unpayable.

He said he’s worried about the division in the country. “I think part of the presidential oath of office should be, ‘I swear never to divide the American people. I swear to do everything in my power to bring people together.’ That at the end of the day is the beating heart of this great nation, the notion of common purpose, that we’re all in this together.”

According to Delaney, technology and globalization have been fundamentally positive, but they’ve caused people to be left behind. People have been left without the tools they need to succeed because of divisiveness and fighting, he said.

Candidates are invited to show their willing to serve the public by being part of the local Democrats’ Blue Apron Brigade. Delaney is pictured serving soup to David John.

“I want to be the president that unifies this country…. Starts solving problems, and starts rethinking what we’re going to do about our future. But we can’t do any of those things unless we restore the notion of a common purpose,” Delaney said.

He said that if he’s elected president, he’ll spend his first 100 days in office working on areas of agreement between Republicans and Democrats to restore muscle memory of working together. “We’re going to realize we can do great things again.”

Delaney did a 15-minute stump speech and then broke to serve soup as part of the Greene County Democrats’ Blue Apron Brigade.

After the supper Delaney spent another hour answering questions on a wide range of topics. In every case, his answers were informed and well thought out, and provided with a bit of humor and candor.

Delaney’s candidacy is seldom mentioned in the national press and he’s not followed by a throng of media. He said he’s running “on the notion of building a big tent Democratic party, being a candidate that can capture Progressive and Moderates and Independents and even disaffected Republicans who feel like that party doesn’t have a moral compass anymore. The candidate that can actually build that big tent is the person who can beat Donald Trump.”

He thinks the 2020 election will be an old-fashioned election of trying to persuade the middle. His strategy is to continue to campaign hard in Iowa, and when polls are done in Iowa in August and September “there are going to be some surprises, and I’m intending to be one of them. That’s the plan,” he said.

He answered a question about the growing military industrial complex by saying that in the 17 years since 9-11 there hasn’t been a debate with the American people on the mission of the military. The Authorization for Military Force after 9-11 was too broad and set no time or geographic limit. Since then, the U.S. military has fought in three continents and 14 countries. He thinks that authorization should be terminated and Congress should hold a new debate about the mission of the military, what we’re fighting and where we’re fighting. A new authorization should be valid for only five years.

Delaney said he’s a capitalist. “I’m not afraid to say it. I was pretty good at it. He said capitalism is “magical. It creates jobs like nothing else and it innovates like nothing else. But we moderated capitalism and we channeled it toward the common good by have regulations, appropriate tax policy, workers’ rights, and strong societal infrastructure like public schools. That to me is what we did right for so long, that we’ve now gotten wrong for a couple decades.”

He thinks the country should work toward making capitalism “more just, more inclusive, so more people benefit from it.”

To a question about how he’d deal with Russia and President Putin, he said it’s important to know that Russia isn’t an ally, but it also isn’t an enemy. He would push back against Russia when it behaves badly, as it did when taking over Ukraine and meddling in the American election with strong sanctions and by building alliances and nurturing allies that would also enforce sanctions.

He added, though, that it’s important to maintain a relationship with Russia so there will be dialog at the eventual time that Putin transitions out of power.
He said in dealing with North Korea, he wouldn’t offer taking the U.S. military presence out of the region in return for denuclearization, but would instead offer to bring North Korea into the world economic order if it voluntarily denuclearized.

About a trade war with China, Delaney said he agrees with President Trump that there’s a problem with China. He said the problem isn’t a trade deficit, but that China is a pirate that hasn’t played by the rules. The U.S. can’t allow China to continue stealing intellectual property. He said he would limit the joint ventures American companies enter into with Chinese companies, and that he would have aligned U.S. allies and U.S. businesses to stifle the Chinese economy.

On immigration, Delaney said the U.S. needs a secure border with Mexico, but he doesn’t suggest a wall. He would gather a group of experts to suggest how to improve border security, and he expects the answer would include technology (like drones) along much of the border and more staff at ports of entry. “We need an efficient, secure border that reflects who we are,” Delaney said.

The Senate immigration reform bill from 2013 should be enacted, providing a path to citizenship and updating the visa program.

He said he’d also address the reasons asylum seekers are coming from Central America by bringing all North American, Central American and South American countries together to help stabilize and restore the rule of law in the region from which asylum seekers are emigrating.

To a question about the Republicans’ tax plan, Delaney answered the corporate tax rate had been 35 percent since the Clinton administration. He agreed with President Obama’s plan to reduce the rate to 28 percent. In the most recent legislating, the business community was seeking a reduction to 25 percent and the Republicans went even lower, to 21 percent.

Delaney’s proposal would have been to set the corporate tax rate at 27 percent. He’d increase the minimum wage to $15 and double the earned income tax credit.

He advocates for universal healthcare, as a way to make capitalism more just, he said, but he wouldn’t have the government as the only payor. He would not change Medicare, but he’d create a new plan with Medicaid rolled in and a subsidy to purchase supplemental insurance on the market, just as Medicare recipients purchase supplemental insurance.

His energy policy would include more funding to the Department of Energy for research in renewable energy. He’d also promote developing a market for negative carbon emission technology that would reduce the cost, just as a market for wind and solar energy has decreased the cost of those sources.

He’d put a carbon tax in place with the money collected going back to American consumers as incentives for reducing emissions. Increased research and innovation would develop transmission and storage technology.

He said energy companies change out their equipment in a 30-year cycle. They’re now replacing existing infrastructure with solar and wind facilities. With innovation in the area of negative carbon emission technology, he thinks America could get to net zero in carbon emissions by 2050.

He demonstrated openness when he was asked about his views on abortion, given the fact that he’s Irish Catholic. Delaney said there’s room in his “big tent” Democratic party for pro life Democrats. “I’m pro choice because I believe in the separation of church and state,” Delaney said. “I don’t believe the policies of my church should dictate the public policy of the country…. What my wife and I do in private is irrelevant.”

The second part of the question about abortion was about the current state of the Catholic Church. Delaney said the Church has “massive, systemic issues,” that the only way to “fix” the church is to get lay people involved and he thinks the Catholic Church is worth fixing.

“My church in my opinion is worth saving. What I identify with most is the social justice mission. The finest side of the Catholic church is serving the poor. I think it does extraordinary work serving the poor around the world,” he said.

More about Delaney’s candidacy is at

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