weather icon Clear

Democrats address Latino group at North Las Vegas town hall

Updated February 13, 2020 - 8:24 pm

Half the remaining Democratic presidential candidates spoke Thursday at a town hall held by the League of United Latin American Citizens at the College of Southern Nevada campus in North Las Vegas.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, businessman Tom Steyer and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., discussed issues with reporters from Telemundo and took questions from the audience. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., took part via live video conference.

The discussions focused on issues affecting the Latin American community, which makes up nearly 30 percent of Nevada’s population. Nevada will be the first true barometer for candidates seeking the support of Latinos and other diverse communities.

The event started around 6 p.m. and concluded around 8:15 p.m.

Here’s what the candidates said:

Tom Steyer

■ Steyer emphasized his focus on diversity in his campaign. He said that his campaign is composed of 50 percent people of color, 50 percent women and 30 percent members of the LGBTQ community. That, too, is how he says he will structure his administration if elected.

— Economically, Steyer said he hopes to implement a tax plan that would include a 10 percent tax cut for all Americans who make less than $250,000.

■ He said his No. 1 focus is climate change, relying on leadership from “the black and brown communities where people can’t breathe without getting asthma or turn on the tap without getting sick.”

■ “I am somebody who would go in the first day and stop what I consider to be crimes against humanity on the border,” Steyer said. He said that if elected, he plans to decriminalize the border, get rid of the border wall, reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and restructure U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, calling President Donald Trump’s immigration policy “racism by another name.

Bernie Sanders

■ Sanders said health care is a human right, not a privilege, and vowed to implement “Medicare for All” as a single-payer system. Under Medicare for All, Sanders said, nobody would have to pay more than $200 a year for prescription drugs, and everyone would be guaranteed health care regardless of employment status.

— After one audience member accused Sanders of not doing enough to support minority-run businesses, Sanders said he goes out of his way to reach out to minority communities and work with minority-run businesses, while also hiring members of minority communities to work on his campaign.

■ Sanders said he introduced “the most comprehensive climate change proposal ever introduced by any federal candidate.” He said the plan is based on the principles of the Green New Deal and would work to move away from fossil fuels and toward wind, solar and geothermal energy sources. He said billions of dollars in the proposal are set aside to help communities of color because they are hit hardest by pollution and “diseases associated with environmental degradation.”

— Sanders said he would support a binding resolution to help the people of Puerto Rico pursue statehood if they want it. He also said he would “treat the people of Puerto Rico as they should be treated: as citizens of the United States of America.” He said he plans to implement a plan to help rebuild the island, creating new jobs and helping it to recover its economy.

■ Young people are the future, Sanders said, and he wants to listen to and implement the next generation’s ideas. “Your generation is the generation with the energy that we need to help us old people transform this country,” he concluded.

Pete Buttigieg

■ When asked about people’s opposition to him based on his sexual orientation, Buttigieg said he is proud of his marriage and is “running to be a president for everybody. I also believe that this country is at its best when we lift up everybody for who we are.”

■ Buttigieg said he trusts the American people to make the decisions that are best for them because the nation cannot be run on a one-size-fits-all basis. He said he hopes to support the people instead of the government, focusing on uniting Americans instead of dividing them.

— He said there are tremendous racial disparities in the war on drugs. He said that incarceration does more harm than the drug possession offenses it is meant to address. If elected, he plans to legalize marijuana, stop incarcerating those found in possession of illegal drugs and expunge the records of those arrested on marijuana-related charges.

■ If elected, Buttigieg vowed to immediately begin uniting families who have been separated at the border. “These family separations are indefensible,” he said.

Amy Klobuchar

■ Klobuchar said that she is invested in immigration issues because her family was built on the backs of Swiss immigrants. Her grandfather, she said, sneaked into the country and lived as an alien for years before he was finally granted citizenship. Klobuchar said she supports the DREAM Act and DACA but also pushes for bipartisan immigration reform. “I think a lot of the Republicans do not want to cross Donald Trump right now, but there are a lot of them that know we need to get it done” because “immigrants don’t diminish America; they are America.”

— Bipartisanship is big for Klobuchar. She said she believes that what unites us as a country is bigger than what divides us. She hopes to lead a coalition unifying Democrats, moderate Republicans and Independents to “bring some decency back to the White House.” She said she has a record of working well with Republicans and believes that will help her to unify the nation as president if elected.

■ Klobuchar said she wants to bring in less-expensive drugs from other countries to lower the cost of prescription drugs, especially insulin. She also hopes to have Medicare negotiate lower prices for drugs and cap prescription drug prices. “That would bring in $350 billion to taxpayers over 10 years,” Klobuchar said.

— When an audience member accused her of being hard on people of color and going easy on law enforcement’s use of deadly force in her time as a prosecutor, Klobuchar said she believes there is systematic in the justice system and regrets using grand juries to decide police shooting cases. But, she said, “the African American incarceration rate went down actually 12 percent” in her time as a county attorney in Minnesota.

■ “I believe that if you’re going to have a functioning economy, you have to have shared prosperity,” Klobuchar said. “People have to be a part of that economy.”


Contact Alexis Egeland at aegeland@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0335. Follow @alexis_egeland on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
The Nevada caucus in photos
Best shots from the Review-Journal photo staff's coverage of the Nevada Caucus, Saturday, February 22, 2020.
Bernie Sanders announces his Nevada caucus win to supporters in Texas
At a rally in San Antonio, Texas, Bernie Sanders announces winning the Nevada Democratic caucus.
Joe Biden addresses supporters in Las Vegas
Joe Biden energizes a crowd of supporters at the IBEW Hall in Las Vegas after the Nevada Democratic caucus.
Tweet highlights from the 2020 Nevada Democratic caucus
Confusion, flaring tempers and misinformed volunteers highlighted Review-Journal tweets during the Nevada Democratic caucus.
Voters comment on Nevada Democratic caucus - VIDEO
Nevada caucusgoers comment on the process from locations across the Las Vegas Valley, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Doolittle Community Center hosts caucuses - VIDEO
The Doolittle Community Center hosted six precincts in one room for the Nevada Democratic caucuses, and voters engaged in debate and discussion about who to lead each precinct, Feb. 22, 2020. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Desert Oasis High School has wait for caucus check-in - VIDEO
James Strange has been waiting in line to caucus for the first time for 45 minutes and some said they have been waiting for an hour at Desert Oasis High School for the Nevada Democratic caucuses. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Conservative guru encourages Republicans to vote in Democratic caucuses - VIDEO
Republican activist Chuck Muth encourages his fellow GOP members to change party affiliation for a day to elect Bernie Sanders. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada Congresswoman Susie Lee at Desert Oasis High School - VIDEO
Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., stopped by the Nevada Democratic caucus at Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caucus day in Summerlin - VIDEO
Out-of-state caucus observer Ken Valz speaks about the Nevada Democratic caucuses at Palo Verde High School, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Doors open for Nevada Democratic caucuses - VIDEO
Caucusgoers are lining up Saturday morning to take part in the Nevada Democratic caucuses across the state (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caucus day at East Last Vegas Community Center - VIDEO
Registration begins at the East Las Vegas Community Center for the Nevada Democratic caucuses, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It’s caucus day in Nevada - VIDEO
Democrats will gather at over 250 locations across the state to declare their presidential preferences in the Nevada caucuses, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Democratic caucus-goers lined up to register at Liberty High - VIDEO
Democratic caucus-goers lined up to register at Liberty High in Henderson, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Elizabeth Warren holds rally with Julian Castro
Elizabeth Warren held her Get Out the Caucus Block Party with Secretary Julián Castro at the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater.
Trump caps western swing with campaign rally in Las Vegas
President Trump speaks to an enthusiastic crowd of thousands gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center during a tour across the western United States.
Anti-Trump Protestors at LVCC Rally - Video
President Trump speaks at a Keep America Great rally as a small group of protesters gather outside the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Thousands gather for Trump rally
Thousands showed up for President Donald Trump’s rally Friday morning, forming a line that stretched nearly a quarter mile around the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Trump supporters camp outside the Las Vegas Convention Center
Trump supporters camp outside the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, where President Trump will held a rally on Friday in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
President Trump lands in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Donald Trump landed in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, as part of a four-day western state swing. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Long lines during early voting in Las Vegas - VIDEO
The final day of the Nevada Democratic Party’s early presidential caucuses wrapped up Tuesday, as thousands of Democrats lined up at 55 locations around the state for their last shot at filing an early preference card before the traditional caucuses on Saturday. Long lines were seen at CSN Charleston in Las Vegas. (Alexis Egeland/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Last day for early voting at Culinary Union - VIDEO
Voters were still in line just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, as early voting in the Nevada Democratic Party caucuses came to a close. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pigeons wearing MAGA hats in Las Vegas - VIDEO
A flock of pigeons wearing Make America Great Again hats and one sporting a Donald Trump hairdo invaded downtown Las Vegas late Tuesday, following their release by an anonymous group: P.U.T.I.N. (Pigeons, United to Interfere Now). (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tuesday is last day to early vote in Nevada Democratic caucuses - VIDEO
Early voting in the Nevada Democratic caucuses ends Tuesday, with sites open throughout Clark County. (Michael Quine and James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer talk pay for child care workers - Video
Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer talk to care in action about the importance of Medicare for All, paid leave and child care. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Elizabeth Warren barnstorms Nevada ahead of caucuses - VIDEO
Warren is trying to drum up enthusiasm about her campaign after finishing fourth in the New Hampshire primary. Her rally drew about 400 people to the student union of the College of Southern Nevada’s Henderson campus. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sen. Jacky Rosen encourages early voting at Culinary Workers 226 - VIDEO
Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., spoke to those casting early caucus votes at the Culinary Workers hall on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. Early voting in the Nevada Democratic caucuses continues Tuesday. The Nevada Caucuses are Saturday, Feb. 22. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2020 candidates rally in Southern Nevada ahead of caucus - VIDEO
2020 candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders held rallies all over Southern Nevada on Saturday ahead of the Democratic caucus. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
First day of early voting - VIDEO
Nevada Democrats turned out in force on Saturday for the first day of early voting in the Democratic presidential caucuses.
Biden and Sully Sullenberger speak in Henderson - VIDEO
Presidential candidate Joe Biden and famed pilot Sully Sullenberger spoke at Sun City MacDonald Ranch to get out the vote for early voting for the Nevada caucus. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Poll: Bernie Sanders leads Democratic presidential candidates - VIDEO
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leads the presidential field by a solid margin among likely Democratic caucus-goers heading into Nevada’s four-day early voting period, with with 25 percent of respondents expressing support. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Poll: caucus vs. primary - VIDEO
A new Nevada Poll finds two-thirds of likely Democratic caucus-goers surveyed in a Review-Journal poll say they’d like to see Nevada replace its caucuses with a secret-ballot primary election to determine support for a presidential nominee. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caucus events Leading up to Caucus Day 2020 - VIDEOl
As presidential candidates make their way to Las Vegas, here's a look at events, dates and times for the days leading up to Nevada's Caucus Day 2020 on Feb. 22. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Election 2020: Nevada Caucus and Early Voting - Video
AARP's Nevada Caucus discussion with Steve Sebelius about the Nevada Caucus and early voting.
Election 2020: Nevada Caucus - Video
AARP's Nevada Caucus Discussion with Steve Sebelius. Join us as we discuss the Nevada Caucus process.
Las Vegas ready to enforce homeless camping ban - VIDEO
Las Vegas police will begin enforcing a controversial camping ban on city streets on Saturday, but officials say they expect to impose the penalties available under the new ordinance only in rare instances. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yvanna Cancela Speaks on Supporting Biden - Video
The RJ Politics podcast crew sits down with Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela to discuss why she is supporting former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race.
Tom Steyer on Donald Trump and the economy - Video
Tom Steyer joins the RJ Politics podcast to talk about his campaign presence in Nevada and how he plans to take Trump on when talking about the economy. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas City Council Votes On Homeless Ordinance - Video
The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday will discuss expanding on a controversial camping and sleeping ban aimed at deterring the homeless from bivouacking on city streets to include hours when public sidewalks are being cleaned.
Pete Buttigieg Speaks At Black Empowerment Event - Video
Pete Buttigieg speaks at a black empowerment event to talk about his Douglass plan.
Nevada’s caucuses see big turnout

More than 105,000 people participated in the Nevada Democratic Party’s presidential caucuses, with most turning out during early voting. It was the second-highest turnout since the state moved to an early spot on the nominating calendar in 2008.

A look inside the Nevada caucuses — PHOTOS

Here are images from Review-Journal photographers and reporters from more than 20 voting sites across Nevada.