Council Bluffs forum draws candidates chasing Democratic presidential nomination

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) -- The road to the Democratic presidential nomination wound through Council Bluffs Saturday with Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Steve Bullock all in attendance for an AARP presidential forum.

Sanders got the event rolling by renewing his call for Medicare for all and pressing for a more equitable distribution of wealth in America. He said he wants to create an economy, healthcare system, and government that doesn’t only work for the 1-percent.

He said that will require challenges to big pharma and the fossil fuel industry among others.

Steve Bullock opened by saying he wants to expand job opportunities for people with disabilities. On universal health care, Bullock said he can control cost and accessibility.

On immigration, he echoed concern over "a humanitarian crisis," at the border right now and said the biggest issue with our current policy is who is creating it.

On the hot button issue of marijuana, Bullock said legalization should be left up to the states for both medical and recreational use.

In closing, the Montana Governor said his perspective on issues and the state of the country is why voters should choose him.

Pete Buttigieg asked about protecting Social Security and Medicare, said If we make some common-sense decisions, such as elevating the cap on the level of income, it would go a long way toward sustainability.

He voiced support for a hike in the minimum wage.

And on tending to the health care needs of seniors he said the current system of forcing people to spend their life savings in order to qualify for Medicaid is no way to run the system - a comment that drew applause from the audience.

The South Bend mayor said he wants to build a service corp - a non military service people can participate in to earn health care.

He said the choices we make right now are going to define what the next 30, 40, 50 years look like.

In closing, Buttigieg said he is running because he thinks the country is running out of time on climate change, social issues, and the economy.

Click here to watch the full forum.