HAMPTON — Former 17th District Congressman Phil Hare has endorsed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying the Vermont independent reminds him of the late Lane Evans.
Mr. Hare, who served two terms in Congress, worked 24 years as an aide to former U.S. Rep. Evans who died last year and was a Democratic congressman for the 17th District for 12 terms.
The 17th District seat is now held by Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, who has yet to formally endorse a Democratic presidential candidate. However, she told those attending Monday’s Salute to Labor picnic in Hampton that “we need to stand with Hillary Clinton.”
Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa City, the only Democrat left in the Iowa congressional delegation, formally endorsed Ms. Clinton at Monday’s event.
Mr. Hare, who was defeated in 2010 by former Rep. Bobby Schilling, a Republican, said he’s not “anti-Hillary” and will back her if she wins the party’s nomination. For the primary, however, Mr. Hare said he is backing Sen. Sanders “1,000 percent.”
“I like the fact that he’s not taking Super PAC money,” Mr. Hare said of Sen. Sanders. “I like the fact that, when he gives a speech, he never downgrades a single person on either side. I think that’s refreshing.”
Mr. Hare also said Sen. Sanders supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, while Ms. Clinton has not said how high the wage should be raised. He also praised Sen. Sanders for joining a picket line outside the Penford Products corn processing plant in Cedar Rapids on Friday.
“Here’s a guy that walked the picket line the other day,” Mr. Hare said. “I would suggest to more of our Democrats, if you really want to show that you care about labor, go walk the picket line.”
Mr. Hare brushed aside the notion that Sen. Sanders was too far to the left to win a general election for president.
“Some people say he can’t win,” Mr. Hare said. “Well, they said that about Lane Evans, and he was in for 12 terms.”
Photo by Gary Krambeck courtesy of The Dispatch