Tim Kaine outlines plan to combat poverty in Detroit visit
Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine visited Detroit Tuesday to present Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s plan to eliminate poverty across the United States.
He spoke at Focus: Hope, a nonprofit focused on alleviating poverty and racial division through education and job training for underrepresented minorities.
In his remarks, Kaine highlighted revitalization efforts in Detroit, saying it emphasized the importance of investing in economic development.
“The auto industry has come strongly back to life,” he said. “This amazing city has shown an amazing comeback spirit, and you’re just getting started.”
Since filing for bankruptcy in 2013, Detroit has been the recipient of tens of millions of federal dollars aiming to decrease blight in the city. Recently, a $617 million bailout for Detroit Public Schools was approved by Governor Rick Snyder in June 2016.
The plan Kaine presented centered around three main features: creating jobs and raising wages, improving opportunities in low-income housing communities, and increasing access to and quality of education.
Kaine noted that all of the points he discussed work together and are essential to the campaign’s plan.
“We’ve got to do all these things at once,” he said. “We’ve got to invest in underserved communities to create jobs and get incomes rising; we’ve got to help lower income families, with dignified housing and safe communities; and we’ve got to give at-risk kids the skills they need and deserve to succeed.”
Expanding on each of these areas, he discussed a variety of policy proposals ranging from investments in infrastructure and small businesses to higher education reform and technical schools. Emphasizing the importance of infrastructure improvements, Kaine also discussed the Flint water crisis, saying it remains a priority for him and Clinton.
He said many other cities are at risk for disaster like the one that occurred in Flint if infrastructure issues are not addressed.
“A safe home means being able to drink the water,” he said. “And Flint is the tip of the iceberg on this because aging infrastructure, water infrastructure and other utility infrastructure around the country are exposing people to really serious environmental harm.”
Michigan and the city of Detroit have received a fair amount of attention in recent weeks, with visits from Clinton, Kaine, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D–Vt.) and other surrogates. Though the state is not as close as initially predicted by some, with Clinton now leading by 11.4 points in a head-to-head matchup with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the state, the Republican campaign has also visited Michigan.
Ahead of Kaine’s visit, Joseph Guzman, a Michigan campaign co-chair for Trump issued a statement criticizing Clinton following a new Wikileaks release of campaign emails featuring remarks about Catholic and Evangelical voters by chief staffers.
“After the new leaks show the Clinton-Kaine team selling out Michigan families to Wall Street donors behind closed doors, their ticket of ‘open trade and open borders’ has lost all credibility in the Great Lakes State,” he wrote. “Unlike Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump as President will unite our country, and support American families, workers, and communities of faith.”
The leaked emails also revealed that Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D–Mich.) was considered for the vice presidential candidate slot earlier in the campaign. Stabenow said she was grateful to be considered, but expressed concern over Russian hacking threats and cybersecurity issues.
“I think what we should all be concerned about in an age where we are all using cell phones and texting and emailing is that the Russians are hacking our systems,” she said at Tuesday's event. “Right now it may be Democrats but eventually it should be everyone.”