NEW HAMPSHIRE Democratic and independent voters will have an embarrassment of riches in our 2020 first-in-the-nation presidential primary. The field has a number of interesting, exciting and smart declared or potential candidates.
As the state’s Democratic National Committeewoman, I have been lucky enough to talk to or meet with several candidates. They have records of accomplishments helping their communities and their country.
Among the earliest to visit the state was New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, whom I first met in 2012 when he spoke to the New Hampshire Democratic caucus at the nominating convention in Charlotte. A Rhodes scholar, he was the hands-on mayor of Newark, increasing affordable housing units, decreasing crime and reducing the city’s deficit by more than $100,000,000.
He really is quite the opposite of Donald Trump in person and in his message — he continually talks about hope, and the importance of working together. If you look up the word “optimist,” you will see a picture of this former Stanford football player.
A candidate who embodies the American dream is Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She is the product of a hard-working family in Oklahoma. A state champion high school debater, Warren attended public universities for college and law school. She is a warm, accessible person who retains the earnestness of heartland America — but who is a fighter for working people and the middle class.
She helped to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after the 2007/2008 financial crisis. When Republican senators blocked her appointment as director, Warren did not give up. She instead took on incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown to become the first female senator from Massachusetts. Or, to quote Ivana Trump from the First Wives Club, don’t get mad, get even.
Warren was gracious in victory. When Donald Trump nominated Brown to an ambassadorship, she supported him. After his confirmation, Brown credited Warren for taking a consistent personal interest in his approval, saying that without her assistance the nomination would have languished in committee.
The most recent potential candidate I met was Michael Bloomberg, the former three-term mayor of New York City. Unlike Donald Trump, Bloomberg actually is a self-made billionaire. And, unlike Trump, he actually has a history of generosity; he donates all the profits from his company into his foundation, and has given more than $6 billion dollars to various philanthropic endeavors.
One of the projects that Bloomberg has worked on (in addition to reforming gun laws and fighting climate change) is the establishment of a high-tech educational center on New York City’s Roosevelt Island. He had the vision to realize that in order to compete with Silicon Valley and other international technical centers, New York City needed its own innovative applied science campus. The Cornell/Tech campus is up and running, and plans to create 28,000 jobs.
Although each of these three Democrats has taken a different route in life, they share the commonality of public service. There also is another common experience: Booker, Warren and Bloomberg each went to public high school. Their successes and contributions to others are a testament to the importance of a strong public school system to our country and its children.
I have not decided which candidate I will support yet; there are other candidates whom I need to meet and research. I plan on writing about them as we proceed toward the primary.
But from what I have seen so far, Democrats and independents have the opportunity to choose an outstanding nominee who will win in 2020.
Manchester’s Kathy Sullivan is the former chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.