Sen. Bernie Sanders’ outreach to Nevada workers with concerns about what could happen to their union-negotiated health care benefits if he became president continued on Sunday.
Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar spoke at the headquarters of Service Employees International Union Local 1107 in Las Vegas, telling workers that a Sanders administration would be “about making sure that we are creating policies that are going to be beneficial for the people of this country.”
Last week, the powerhouse Culinary Union distributed brochures in employee dining rooms on the Strip pushing back against the Sanders' signature “Medicare For All” government-run insurance proposal. Unions in other states have also expressed concerns.
Omar said that a single-payer option would give workers the ability to focus more on pay and other benefits as opposed to health care.
“The rank-and-file of every single union would agree that there is more work to be done in unions and trying to advocate for better wages (rather) than constantly fighting for a right to their health care,” she said.
The visit, less than two weeks before the Nevada Democratic caucuses, is not the first to Nevada from a high-profile progressive politician in support of Sanders. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaigned for Sanders in late December.
Judith Whitmer, a local Sanders supporter at the event, said his progressive ideas on climate change and health care have begun to gain traction with the American public.
“It’s not radical anymore. All of those ideas are mainstream for the majority of the American people,” Whitmer said. “Might not be as far as our elitists or leadership goes, but the average American person feels strongly about policies like the (environmental reform bill) Green New Deal and ‘Medicare for All.’”
Nevada is widely considered the first true test in the nominating process for the candidates, following Iowa and New Hampshire — two states lacking voter diversity. Sanders picked up momentum in Iowa, where he grabbed 12 delegates, and should continue that trend in the New Hampshire primaries on Tuesday. He won the state in 2016 in the race against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The strong showing could continue in Nevada.
“I think he brought us together in a huge movement and you’ve seen that movement grow because of what he inspired us to do in 2016,” Whitmer said.
Early voting in Nevada runs from Feb. 15 to Feb. 18.