Where the Democratic presidential candidates stand on Colorado issues

Ahead of the state’s presidential primary on Super Tuesday, the Democratic candidates talk health care, marijuana, education, public land and beer











How would your administration help struggling rural economies like those in Colorado, and what help would you provide to these communities?

Background: The struggles of rural America have been well documented. Nationally, small communities face shortages of critical professions like doctors, teachers and firefighters. They’re becoming older demographically, while shedding residents, businesses and jobs. Even in Colorado, which boasts one of the best state economies in the nation, a stunning 98% of new jobs in the last decade have been created along the urban Front Range, leaving wide swaths of the state behind. Recent federal assistance has come in the form of a farm bailout and tax incentives, but produced mixed results.


Help rural communities access federal money

A: He released a plan for rural America that includes more money for health care, agriculture research at colleges and broadband internet. He also wants to create a position to help rural communities access federal money through a strikeforce position.




Federal support needed to address globalization

A: Bloomberg acknowledges that globalization and automation in the economy hurt rural areas and he believes the federal government has ignored the issue. To boost local economies, he wants to extend high-speed internet -- either through wireless, broadband or satellite -- and support worker training and business development. Without offering specifics, he said the creation of innovation hubs and other programs would increase high-wage jobs. In addition, the campaign says its plan to spend more on infrastructure would promote growth and spread prosperity.




Rural American can help with climate change

A: His plan to improve the rural economy includes a focus on economic development, including better access to high-speed internet. He sees efforts to address climate change as a potential benefit to rural areas through carbon sequestration in soils and by paying farmers for conservation. He also set goals to increase college degrees and address teacher shortages in rural areas.




A heartland economics approach

A: The senator’s campaign didn’t respond to questions. In August, her campaign released a detailed “heartland economics” plan that addresses a host of agriculture and rural issues, promising more investment and support. For farmers, she supports more commodity support and crop insurance, as well as more loans for rural small business.




Reduce corporate influence in the agriculture sector

A: His plan to boost rural America is designed to help farmers address climate change and boost economic development. In addition, Sanders wants to use government regulation to reduce corporate influence in the agriculture industry. He supports a $15 minimum wage requirement and would invest in more small business loans.




Big money needed for broadband and mental health

A: Steyer blames unchecked corporate power for not addressing problems in rural America such as income inequality and climate change. He proposed a $247.5 billion investment in broadband technology and a $175 billion plan to address mental health services and opioid addiction. He supports a $15 per hour minimum wage to help farmworkers and would protect the rights of those workers to unionize. For areas below the federal poverty line, he would direct additional funding under a bill proposed by U.S. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina.




Health care and broadband are key investments

A: The key to boosting rural communities like those in Colorado, Warren says, is providing health care to every family, a public broadband network at an affordable price and a sustainable agriculture industry that raises farm incomes and protects the environment. In terms of agriculture, she wants to reverse mergers that hurt competition and break up large, vertically integrated agribusiness companies. Other tenets of her platform are aimed at rural areas, too. She says her plan to cancel student loan debt will allow people to move to rural areas, rather than force them to move to cities for jobs. Likewise, an investment in renewable energy can help lead to jobs in rural areas. And she wants to pump billions into creating affordable housing in these communities.





Do you support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and how would your administration address the issue of trade tariffs?

Background: President Donald Trump recently achieved a key campaign promise when he received bipartisan Congressional approval for a rework of NAFTA -- now known as the USMCA, or United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The deal includes new protections for auto manufacturing and labor and the environment, and it relaxes market restrictions on dairy products to encourage trade. It came as a welcome relief to many Colorado farmers and manufacturers. But the next president also inherits strained relations with China and other countries subjected to punitive Trump administration tariffs in recent years.


Supports the deal but not Trump tariffs

A: In December, he said he supported the deal because of the additional labor and environmental provisions added. He has also criticized the way Trump uses tariffs, particularly with regard to China.




Supports deal because of labor provisions

A: Bloomberg did not answer the question about the USMCA trade deal, but told others he supports it because of labor initiatives. But on a broader level, he said supports agreements that boost American exporters and raise living standards for consumers. He also pledged to do more to help workers threatened by global competition and economic disruption.




It’s not perfect but he supports it

A: In a debate, he expressed support for the new version of the North American trade deal, saying it was an improvement but “not perfect.” He has said the Chinese tariffs battle spurred by The Trump administration would hurt Americans’ pocketbooks.




Voted in favor of USMCA

A: She voted in favor of the new USMCA trade deal. In a recent debate, she said in future deals she would work to address climate change, but called the new deal a major improvement when it came to labor issues.




Opposes USMCA and wants to renegotiate

A: In January, Sanders issued a statement saying he opposed the deal, and if elected, would immediately renegotiate. He is concerned that it allows companies operating in the U.S. to move jobs to other countries and benefits oil and gas companies without addressing climate change. In terms of future trade deals, he would deem food supply a national security issue.




Opposes the deal because it ignored climate change

A: Steyer opposed the trade agreement because it failed to factor in climate change -- which he said should be “central to our diplomacy and trade policies.” If elected, he said his administration would negotiate a deal with Mexico and Canada with input from environmental groups, indigineous populations and labor unions. He said tariffs should not be “used as punishment tools,” but rather applied to further U.S. industries and national interests.




Supports the deal but wants climate change addressed

A: Warren expressed support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, saying it represents progress and a step away from the Trump administration's erratic approach to trade. If elected, Warren has pledged not to sign a deal that doesn’t prioritize action on climate change and encourage the global economy to move to renewable energy. She also said she would put the interests of American workers and businesses first -- rather than multinational corporations.



The Issues

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The Candidates

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Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Former Vice President and U.S. Senator   

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg

Former New York Mayor and businessman   

x Pete Buttigieg

x Pete Buttigieg

Former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana (Campaign suspended 3/1/20)   

x Amy Klobuchar

x Amy Klobuchar

U.S. Senator from Minnesota (Campaign suspended 3/2/20)   

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont   

x Tom Steyer

x Tom Steyer

Businessman and climate activist (Campaign suspended 2/29/20)   

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator from Massachusetts