Presidential candidate Tom Steyer spoke at a town hall meeting on Nov. 16, at Fullerton College, rallying support behind his vision of tackling climate change and taking on corporate corruption.
Steyer, a billionaire and former hedge fund manager, turned to activism by starting various non-profits and becoming a large donor to Democratic candidates and causes.
Now, Steyer has made the decision to put money into his own policies and address the fundamental source of government inefficiency: the corporate buyout of Washington.
In a packed room of supporters and Fullerton alumni, Steyer painted himself as a smiling, down to earth and honest guy, throwing jokes to the laughing crowd. Despite any stigmas of his vast wealth, he emphasized his commitment to the everyday American.
“We have a broken government in Washington D.C.,” Steyer said, “Its been purchased by corporations. I listened to the debates having conversations about which healthcare plan, which Green New Deal, which education plan and until we break this corporate stranglehold on our democracy, we’re not getting any of those things.”
Beyond the politics of Capitol Hill, Steyer stressed the necessity to build a strong international coalition of allies to tackle issues, like climate change.
“There’s only one country in the world that can lead morally, financially, technologically. There is no second choice after the United States. I would make this the number one issue of foreign policy,” Steyer expressed.
A strong critic of President Donald Trump, Steyer has invested millions of his own money towards “The Need to Impeach” movement. He spoke about his father’s experiences, a lawyer who prosecuted the Nazis in Nuremberg, and how it drove him to expose the alleged corruption of the current President.
“There is a direct line between his experience there and me starting The Need to Impeach,” Steyer said of his father.
“When you see something that’s really wrong at the heart of your society,” Steyer quoted. “You should fight it really early and you’ve got to fight it all the time because otherwise it will take root in a way that you would never understand.”
Despite the grim picture that some may paint of current American politics, Steyer remained optimistic. He has a long history of support from young voters, investing directly through his non-profit, NextGen America.
“Invest in you guys,” Steyer said to the cheering crowd, “I love the community college system in California. It is a chance for kids in California, it’s a chance to really move ahead for 46 bucks a unit. That’s my idea of investing in kids. That’s the long run future for this country.”
Steyer opened up the floor to questions from attendees, discussing topics of climate change, the tensions of the Kurdish allies and revamping public education.
Sandi Bartlett, a Fullerton resident, came to the event to learn more about Steyer’s policies.
“Tom’s new to me,” Bartlett said, “I do support him but I also want to learn more about his platform and what he has to offer.”
Barlett’s son, Steven Sherry, a former Fullerton College graduate who now works for Steyer’s campaign, was instrumental in bringing Steyer to the campus.
“He thought it would be a great idea to have the campaign here at Fullerton College,” Bartlett continued, “He went to school here and though it was a great venue for a town hall.”
Though Steyer has the passion to take him to the White House, he is still battling obscurity between heavyweight candidates like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Steyer’s campaign trail continues as he appears on the Atlanta debate stage for the fourth round of Democratic Presidential debates. The debates will be broadcasted Wednesday, Nov. 20, on MSNBC.