(Atlantic) U.S. Congressman Bruce Braley met today for a spirited discussion with 31 citizens from different counties at the Atlantic Family Table.
Braley talked about his years growing up in Brooklyn, Iowa before moving to Waterloo where he and his wife raised their three children and where he practiced law for 23 years until he was elected to the US House of Representatives from Iowa’s First District.
Like others not born to privilege, he worked a variety of jobs to put himself through college, saying “work is not something that is foreign to me”. He called himself a “passionate spokesperson for the middle class, fighting for those people who have been marginalized and pushed out of the middle class”. He talked about the effects of Citizens United on his campaign, citing the monetary influence that unknown people are using to formulate negative ads against him.
Topics discussed during the 50 minute event included mandatory minimum sentencing for federal crimes, the Affordable Care Act, and getting the youth and minorities of the country involved in politics. He cited statistics that for the “first time since the 1950’s when Eisenhower was President, the average increase in health care costs is less than 3% over the past three years”. Some in the crowd cited issues with the ACA, saying that they could get insurance at a lower cost outside the exchange. Others cited family members benefiting from the ACA, receiving insurance for conditions that they could not previously have had covered. Braley said that the bottom line to the ACA is that “people have benefitted from the the ACA, giving people a new lease on life”, allowing people to change jobs without worry that they will lose their health care coverage and allowing people with pre-existing conditions to have health care coverage for the first time.
Braley is running for the US Senate seat that will be open due to Senator Tom Harkin’s planned retirement at the end of his current term.