Speaking uncomfortable truths was the theme of Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ hourlong town hall at a North Las Vegas high school on Friday.
“We must restore the importance of truth and justice in America,” the freshman U.S. senator said. “This is a time to restore essential values, not only about who we are, but who we can be.”
Harris, D-Calif., took the stage at Canyon Springs High School gymnasium just before 4:30 p.m. Flanked by Democratic state Sen. Pat Spearman and speaking to an energetic audience of hundreds, the 54-year-old African-American touted her campaign policies while throwing jabs at President Donald Trump.
Front and center was Harris’ proposed legislation to provide a tax credit worth up to $500 a month to families making less than $100,000 a year. If elected president, Harris said, passing the LIFT the Middle Class Act would be her “first priority bar none” to bolster financial security for the country’s middle class. Funding for the measure would come from eliminating corporate tax cuts, she said.
Harris also touted her proposed Rent Relief Act, which would provide another tax credit to people who pay more than 30 percent of their gross income on rent and utilities.
“Let’s make America work for working families,” she said.
Harris cited the Route 91 Harvest festival mass shooting as she called for a ban on “assault weapons” and for universal background checks for gun purchases.
“One October just most recently taught this community something that no community should have to learn,” she said, “which is the toll that this violence takes on an entire community, in addition to those who have lost their lives and the families that loved them.”
Harris touched on some cornerstone positions of the left: providing Medicare to all Americans, defending women’s reproductive rights and refinancing student loan debt.
She said democratic elections must be protected at all costs, supporting same-day voter registration and making Election Day a holiday. And she cautioned about the spread of misinformation through social media.
“Russia interfered in the (2016) election of the president of the United States,” Harris said. “They tested out the things that would get us to go at it, what could create dissension among Americans.”
Harris did not shy away from taking aim at Trump, whom she said should face impeachment.
She said as president she would not conduct foreign policy through Twitter, and that her policies would be guided by advice from foreign policy experts, generals and the State Department.
“Foreign policy should be conducted in a way that reflects the values that we hold dear,” she said. “We are not going to embrace dictators.”
Harris said it was time for the U.S. military to withdraw from Afghanistan.
On the topic of immigration, Harris said she supported protecting DACA recipients. She called Trump’s policy of separating families at the Mexican border an “unconscionable trauma” and “a human rights abuse committed by the United States government.”
Despite her attacks on the Trump administration, Harris said Americans needed to focus on realizing their common ground and coming together.
“The vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us.”
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