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Home » Clarion » 2015 » October 2015 » Where Democratic Candidates Stand on Education, Labor and More

Where Democratic Candidates Stand on Education, Labor and More

Find out where top contenders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination stand on important issues, like education, labor and healthcare.

With the first debate taking place this month, the primary race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee is now underway. But the field may not yet have filled out; Vice President Joe Biden is still mulling a run, according to news reports. Here, in a chart compiled by the American Federation of Teachers (a version of which was first published in the federation’s HealthWire magazine), the vice president’s positions on issues important to PSC members are included, along with those of the other leading Democratic candidates. Former US Senators Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee (who also served as governor of Rhode Island) are also running for the nomination, but are registering barely above zero in the polls, and are not included here.

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Joe Biden

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K-12 Education
Longtime supporter of increased federal funding for critical pre-K-12 education programs.

A firm opponent of private school vouchers.

Higher Education
Led the Obama administration’s $500 million initiative to create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train workers with the skills employers need.

Affordable Care Act
Strongly supported and advocated for the ACA: The ACA gives “the American people more freedom and control over their health care choices, improving the quality of the care that they receive and reducing cost, all by building on the best of our private insurance system.”

Labor/Jobs/Economy
Supports raising the minimum wage and is sharply critical of rising income inequality.

Retirement Security
Opposes privatizing Social Security, cutting benefits and raising the retirement age.

Immigration
Supports comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.

Supports the DREAM Act.

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Hillary Clinton

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K-12 Education
Leader of “Too Small to Fail,” an effort to improve the health and well-being of children from birth to age 5. Supports increased Title I funding for schools in need. Opposes private school vouchers.

Higher Education
Has fought to expand financial aid for low-income college students.

Affordable Care Act
Is committed to preserving and improving the ACA.

Labor/Jobs/Economy
Favors raising the minimum wage and is an avowed union supporter. “When I’m president, we’re going to stand up for unions. We’re going to make sure they can organize for fair wages and good working conditions.”

Retirement Security
Opposes cutting Social Security benefits, privatizing the program and raising the retirement age.

Immigration
Supports comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.

Supports the DREAM Act.

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Martin O’Malley

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K-12 Education
As governor, invested record amounts in Maryland’s public schools. Under O’Malley, funding increased by 37 percent.

Opposes private school vouchers.

Higher Education
Increased state funding to allow Maryland colleges and universities to freeze tuition from 2007-11.

Affordable Care Act
Supports the ACA. Maryland was one of the first states to set up a health insurance exchange.

Labor/Jobs/Economy
Supports increasing the minimum wage.

Supports strengthening collective bargaining rights. In 2007, signed an executive order to grant collective bargaining rights to health care aides and child care workers.

Retirement Security
Opposes privatizing Social Security and instead supports expanding the benefit.

Immigration
Supports comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.

Championed a version of the DREAM Act for Maryland’s public colleges and universities.

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Bernie Sanders

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K-12 Education
Signed the Fix America’s Schools Today (FAST) Act of 2011.

Cosponsored an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for increased funding.

Higher Education
Proposes making all public colleges tuition-free, to be funded through a “Robin Hood tax” on speculative Wall Street investments.

Cosponsored the Student Loan Affordability Act, which extended the reduced interest rate for Stafford student loans.

Affordable Care Act
Introduced the American Health Security Act, which would guarantee health care as a human right and provide every US citizen and permanent resident with health care coverage and services through a state-administered, single-payer program.

Labor/Jobs/Economy
Supports raising the minimum wage. Is also a strong supporter of expanded collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Retirement Security
Promotes strengthening the social safety net by expanding Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and nutrition programs.

Immigration
Supports comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.

Supports the DREAM Act.


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