Sixteen presidential candidates, 12,000 tickets sold, one event—the Polk County Steak Fry. The Polk County Steak fry is an annual event hosted by the Polk County Democrats to highlight candidates from top of their ticket to the bottom. This year was the largest Steak Fry ever, and our advocates Jill Applegate and Emilee Harris were there to cover it all.
When they weren’t managing the Caucus for Kids booth, signing up new members, and talking with voters, they listened in on all 16 presidential candidates, hoping to hear them highlight their policy plans for kids—and many of them did:
- Colorado Senator Michael Bennet stated that he would provide universal pre-k for three and four year olds, and focus on reducing childhood poverty.
- Former Vice President Joe Biden talked about his plans to provide pre-K to every three to five year old.
- Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro said that he plans on making universal child care a priority while improving K-12 education. He also stated the importance of passing the Equality Act and providing equal opportunity for all children. He noted two topics he would address to improve family economic security—equal pay and raising the minimum wage. He stressed the importance of increasing the safety of our children by intervening with those in custody at the border.
- Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said that a priority of his would be providing universal pre-K and affordable child care.
- Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said that her proposed two cent wealth tax would bring in enough money to provide universal child care for kids age zero to five, universal pre-K for every three and four year old and would raise the pay for every child care worker and preschool educator.
- Marianne Williamson talked about creating the Department of Children and Youth and focused on addressing childhood trauma.
- Andrew Yang stated that his proposed $1,000 a month Universal Basic Income would pay for things that are important to families, including child care.
The Polk County Steak Fry highlighted the presidential candidates’ willingness to talk about kids issues and suggested they are listening when we say kid’s issues are important to Iowa voters. However, we are not taking our foot off the gas—our mission is to make children an integral part of every candidate’s platform.