On Tuesday night, Idaho received its first visit of the 2020 campaign for U.S. president.
In front of a boisterous crowd of college Democrats at Boise State University's student union, it was the first time Idaho audiences this year heard this line: "I’m running for president because I think it’s new time for new energy and new leadership."
Julián Castro, a Democrat, is the first of the declared candidates to include Idaho on his tour schedule. The former Texas mayor was eager to jump into local issues, such as Idaho's standing as one of four states that doesn't fund preschool.
"When I was mayor of San Antonio," said Castro, "and San Antonio has about 1.5 million people, I asked the voters to raise sales tax by an eighth of a cent so that we could provide high-quality, full-day pre-K to 22,000 four-years-olds. They voted Yes to do that. It’s very clear from the research that if you have one dollar to spend on the education of a young person, that dollar is best spent early on."
The former Obama cabinet member, who has recast himself as more of a Democratic progressive, has touted issues like universal healthcare. It's gaining traction, he says, pointing to Idaho's Proposition 2 last November.
"I bet people didn’t think," said Castro, "that in this reddest of red states that 61% of the voters would support expanding Medicaid. The polls show that universal healthcare, including Medicare for all, is very popular with Americans."
In his Boise speech, he also embraced raising the minimum wage, immigration reform and restructuring the tax system.
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