Presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand kicked off her “Trump Broken Promises” bus tour in Pittsburgh on Thursday, meeting with health care workers at the Hilton Garden Inn in Oakland to present her policies against rising health care prices and to support union workers.
“I will make sure that workers’ rights are front and center, and that we reward work in this country and that we support an economy that is focused on the community,” said Gillibrand, a senator from New York who launched her campaign for the Democratic nomination in March.
Gillibrand said she would dedicate her presidency to working to ensure that everyone “has access to health care as a right, has access to housing as a right, has access to clean air and clean water as a right, and has access to the job training they need to get a higher paying job so that they can provide for their families.”
The meeting in Pittsburgh was the first in a two-day, three-state bus tour with stops in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan — all states that voted for President Barack Obama but flipped for President Donald Trump in 2016.
“[Trump] doesn’t actually have a thoughtful approach,” Gillibrand told reporters Thursday, criticizing the way the president has dealt with China on issues like currency manipulation, protecting intellectual property and steel markets. “He started a trade war with China, which has really harmed us. It’s evaporating markets that people need for dairy, for soybeans, for manufacturing — near Pennsylvania, you have a lot of manufacturing as well — and you have to be able to stand up to bad actors.”
Several polls show that Gillibrand, who has served in the Senate since 2009, is not making an impression with voters, polling below 1% on national surveys.
She pushed her support of Medicare for All — an issue that she has supported for over a decade — and called for affordable, universal health care. She spoke with three UPMC workers who said that they’re now in debt after receiving care at UPMC, which serves as their employer, insurer and health care provider. They also told her that they’re disappointed with roadblocks to unionization efforts.
Following the meeting in Pittsburgh, Gillibrand set off for Youngstown, Ohio, to discuss outsourcing and layoffs.
The Lordstown General Motors’ plant near Youngstown was idled in March after over 50 years of producing vehicles. About 1,700 jobs were eliminated.
She then planned to head to Cleveland to meet with retirees to discuss Social Security, followed by stops Friday in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, to discuss gun violence prevention and meetings in Flint. The three-state tour will close Friday evening with a meet-and-greet in Lansing.
Gillibrand is the third 2020 candidate to make a stop in Pittsburgh and one of several to visit Pennsylvania since presidential primary campaigns launched.
Beto O’Rourke held a rally at Penn State in March.
Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential primary will be held April 28.