Compare Candidates

The race to the White House is heating up! Here are some of the early candidates and how they stack up in terms of public education.

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Sen. Michael Bennett (D)
Joe Biden (D)
Sen. Cory Booker (D)
Gov. Steve Bullock (D)
Pete Buttigieg (D)
Julian Castro (D)
Bill de Blasio (D)
John Delaney (D)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
Sen. Kamala Harris (D)
John Hickenlooper (D)
Gov. Jay Inslee (D)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D)
Wayne Messam (D)
Rep. Seth Moulton (D)
Beto O’Rourke (D)
Rep. Tim Ryan (D)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I)
Pres. Donald Trump (R)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D)
Bill Weld (R)
Marianne Williamson (D)
Andrew Yang (D)
Sen. Michael Bennett (D)
U.S. Senate, Colorado

About Michael

  • Michael Bennet has represented Colorado in the U.S. Senate since 2009.
  • Prior to his initial appointment and then election as Senator, Bennet served as Superintendent of DC Public Schools from 2005 to 2009.

On the Issues

  • It’s time for an “education president.” As the only former public school superintendent running, he believes that “there’s no public good that’s more important than education.” Although his local record included school closures, merit pay, and approving space for charter schools in district buildings, the Senator supports the federal government as a “useful partner” in K-12, rejects private school vouchers, and has stated that public dollars should be reserved for pay[ing] teachers what they’re worth.”

    (Des Moines Register, 2/22/19; Chalkbeat, 5/2/19)

  • Concerned students will pay the price for today’s fiscal irresponsibility. Congress passed a $1 trillion permanent corporate tax cut that the Senator admits “doesn’t reflect a priority of the next generation.” Previously, he joined other Senators in creating a pilot program for districts to test a “weighted student funding formula.” An option he describes as promoting “funding systems that provide resources based on student need and…additional funding for students from low-income families and English learners.”

    (Vox, 5/29/19; Coloradoan, 5/2/18; Sen. Michael Bennet U.S. Senate Website, accessed 5/30/19)

  • Torn between theory and reality. Although he supports workers’ right to “collectively bargain and organize free from intimidation,” he ultimately refused to support the Employee Free Choice Act, which “protects worker’s right to join…unions…make it harder for management to threaten workers seeking to organize a union…and allows workers the choice to organize unions through a simple majority sign-up process.”

    (Denver Post, 1/8/09; Denver Post, 10/14/10; Center for American Progress, 3/11/09)

  • Vowed to reverse the transgender military ban. If elected, he pledges to roll back a policy that he believes is “cruel and discriminatory.” He adamantly opposed “forcing out these brave Americans…simply because of their identity.”

    (Washington Post, 7/28/17)

Joe Biden (D)

About Joe

  • Joe Biden served as Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017.
  • Prior to his election to the Vice Presidency, Biden served as Senator from Delaware from 1973 to 2009.

On the Issues

  • No Child Left Behind was a mistake. Regrets supporting this legislation and favored an alternative that supported his vision: “You need better teachers. You need smaller classrooms. You need to start kids earlier.”

    (CNN, 7/23/07)

  • Invest in free college for all. The former vice president believes in prioritizing tuition-free college and warns that “any country that out-educates us will out-compete us.” Concerning how to fund free college, he assures that “we can afford it.”

    (Brookings Now, 5/9/18)

  • He’s with workers. He supports “laws that allow labor unions to flourish and fight for basic worker protections.” The former vice president also believes in banning non-compete agreements and protecting workers in pay discussions.

    (Vox, 12/18/18)

  • Believes we have to speak out on racial injustice. Sharing that “there’s systemic racism that most of us whites don’t like to acknowledge,” he admits that “I’ve been in this fight for a long time…voting rights…criminal justice system [reform]…I haven’t always been right…But I’ve always tried.”

    (Biden School of Public Policy & Administration, 1/21/19)

Sen. Cory Booker (D)
U.S. Senate, New Jersey

About Cory

  • Cory Booker has represented New Jersey in the US Senate since 2013.
  • Prior to his election to the Senate, Booker served as the Mayor of Newark and on the Newark City Council.

On the Issues

  • Will not disassociate from private school vouchers. In expressing concern that poor children and children of color need an escape from struggling schools, the Senator stands by his support of vouchers. He declared that his views “haven’t changed one iota.”

    (Chalkbeat, 2/1/19)

  • Supports investing in high quality education. The Senator introduced the “Supporting the Teaching Profession through Revitalizing Investments in Valuable Educators (STRIVE) Act,” which boosts resources for teacher recruitment, preparation programs, and diversity initiatives. He also supports full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).

    (Sen. Cory Booker Press Release, 2/6/18; Sen. Cory Booker U.S. Senate Website, accessed 4/25/19)

  • Believes unions should be heard. The Senator is an original cosponsor of the 2018 Worker’s Freedom to Negotiate Act, facilitates first contracts between companies and newly certified unions by requiring mediation and arbitration to settle disputes.

    (AFL-CIO Legislative Alert, 6/11/18; Congress.Gov accessed 4/25/19)

  • Every child should have financial support. To address growing income inequality, the Senator introduced the American Opportunity Accounts Act, which establishes a savings account for every child in the country when they are born. Accounts could provide almost $50,000 for every child.

    (Vox, 10/22/18)

Gov. Steve Bullock (D)
Governor, Montana

About Steve

  • Steve Bullock has served as Governor of Montana since 2013.
  • Prior to his election as Governor, Bullock served as Attorney General of Montana from 2009 to 2013.

On the Issues

  • Access to preschool gives more students a good start. After securing a federal grant to expand preschool programs in the state, the governor believes “it’s time… [to give] every 4-year-old access to high-quality, early-childhood education.” Although state lawmakers do not support “publicly funded preschool programs,” he remains committed to public preschool in addition to updated school facilities and access to dual enrollment.

    (Ed Week, 5/12/19; Independent Record, 9/24/16)

  • Signed into law school funding increases. As governor, he approved legislation that “rewrites the state’s public school funding system…and increases state funding for schools by $75 million over the next two years.” In his presidential campaign announcement, he states that “every child… [should have] a fair shot to do better than their parents.”

    (Missoulian, 5/6/13; National Public Radio 5/14/19)

  • Stands by workers and their right to bargain collectively. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision, the governor described their action as “unbelievable…overturning 40 years of workers’ rights.” Prior to the court’s decision, his Janus amicus brief stated that “Montana’s collective bargaining system has resulted in numerous advantages for both the state and public employees.” While a gubernatorial candidate in 2012, he pledged “to veto any right-to-work bill if he is governor.”

    (Twitter, 6/27/18; Supreme Court Docket No.16-1466, 1/18/18; Billings Gazette, 9/23/12)

  • Led state efforts on equal pay. Since “launching the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force,” the gap in earnings between men and women “narrowed” from 66.7% in 2013 to the current 73%. The task force engaged business and provided wage negotiation technical assistance. According to the governor, these policies are personal, “I want both of my daughters to know that…ours is a state where they can prosper and be valued for their contribution.”

    (, 4/2/19)

Pete Buttigieg (D)

About Pete

  • Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, winning election in 2011 and 2015.
  • At the age of 29 he was the youngest mayor of a city with more than 100,000 residents in the nation.

On the Issues

  • Educators know what they’re doing. The mayor believes that educators need the freedom to do their jobs without the weight of standardized tests. He also values “strong working relationship[s] with teachers,” and compensating them well. The mayor suggests “respect them like soldiers…pay them like doctors.”

    (Notre Dame Magazine, 3/30/12; Breakfast Club Power 105.1, 3/26/19)

  • Not sold on taxpayers footing the bill for free college. While not unfamiliar with student loan debt and the rising costs of college, the mayor is concerned about public financing of college. He grapples with “a majority who earn less because they didn’t go to college subsidize a minority who earn more because they did.”

    (The Washington Post, 4/5/19)

  • Supports working more closely with labor. The mayor acknowledges the energy of the labor movement, and in meeting with them suggests that “Workers…are interested in the same things any American is interested in,” and that staying “in dialogue and working together” is important.

    (13WIBW, 3/3/18)

  • No more “all lives matter.” Admits to not appreciating the full context of this phrase, and has explained “That is the contribution of Black Lives Matter… since learning about how that phrase was being used to push back on…activism…I’ve stopped using it…”

    (The New York Times, 4/4/19)

Julian Castro (D)

About Julian

  • Julian Castro was the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President Barack Obama.
  • He has previously served as Mayor of San Antonio and a member of the San Antonio City Council.

On the Issues

  • Not having access to Pre-K is an unnecessary missed opportunity. American children are behind in attending preschool and some children “never catch up if they don’t get formal schooling until kindergarten.” The former HUD secretary and mayor believes that prekindergarten programs should be available for “every family in America,” and if he can expand access in San Antonio, he can expand access across the country.

    (The Washington Post, 1/13/19)

  • Time for rededication. Holds state legislatures responsible “for failing to support public education adequately,” and finds “we’ve lost our commitment to public education that made us so strong in the first place.”

    (National School Boards Association Newsroom, 4/9/18)

  • Puts the campaign where his policy is. As a supporter of collective bargaining and an increase in the minimum wage, all of his campaign staff earn at least $15 per hour (including interns) and are free to form a union.

    (San Antonio Current, 1/25/19)

  • It’s time to get serious about reparations. In addressing the issue of paying reparations to slave descendants, the former HUD secretary believes “if, under the Constitution, we compensate people because we take their property, why wouldn’t you compensate people who actually were property?”

    (Politico, 3/10/19)

Bill de Blasio (D)

About Bill

  • Bill de Blasio has served as Mayor of New York City since 2014.
  • Prior to his election as Mayor, de Blasio served as Public Advocate of New York City from 2010 to 2013.

On the Issues

  • Delivered on universal pre-K. According to the mayor, pre-K programs are “proven to have a huge impact on a child’s development…the fact it’s universal, I believe, lifts all boats.” As his new administration secured funding and space for programs, the mayor reiterated, “The people in the city have given me a mission.” For his 2019 State of the City, he reports “we’ve provided every four-year-old in this city with free full day pre-K.”

    (New York Times, 10/31/17; National Public Radio 9/8/15; City of New York Website, 1/10/19)

  • Equity costs. While participating in an educator roundtable, the mayor offered that “fair funding” was critical for education systems. After landing $125 million in additional funding for the city, schools were able to purchase educational supplies and hire more staff. His 2020 budget also proposes “hundreds of millions for broad education aid,” including expansion of early childhood education programs.

    (Live 5 News, 3/11/19; Gotham Gazette, 4/25/19)

  • Has put employers on notice: you will offer paid personal time. Half a million New York City employees have no paid personal leave, prompting new legislation from the mayor that would “require private employers with five or more employees to offer 10 annual days of Paid Personal Time.” The mayor believes that workers should not have to choose “between bringing home a paycheck and taking time off.”

    (City of New York Website, 1/9/19)

  • Redistributing wealth is fair. The mayor acknowledges that “structural racism and sexism have shut the doors of opportunity to people of color and women.” He believes that economic fairness, financed through “heavier taxes on the wealthy,” includes studying reparations and addressing income inequality and oppression.

    (Facebook, 3/22/19; NY Post, 4/7/19)

John Delaney (D)

About John

  • John Delaney formerly represented Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District in the US House of Representatives before announcing his bid for the presidency.
  • Prior to his election, he worked as a commercial banker.

On the Issues

  • There’s a new K-12. The former Rep. is pushing for Pre-K through 14 as the nation’s standard, with 14 referring to two years of community college or technical training. He has pledged to “reinvest in educational opportunities for all,” including making higher education more affordable.

    (Delaney for President 2020, accessed 4/25/19)

  • Money matters. Affirming that “education is the great equalizer,” he supports investments that close funding gaps exacerbated by property tax financing of schools. His plan for education calls for Title I increases and the expansion of grants for community-based organizations that help struggling students.

    (The Root, 4/4/19)

  • Respects labor but sides with management. Despite using a college scholarship from his father’s union, the former Rep. has introduced anti-worker legislation that allows management “greater power to reassign workers or rely on outside contractors.”

    (The Washington Post, 4/24/17)

  • Wants to address ‘soft racism.’ Shared in a town hall that he is engaging the Congressional Black Caucus to identify the “kind of…institutions in our society that are fundamentally racially unjust…”

    (CNN Transcripts, 3/10/19)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D)
U.S. House, Hawaii

About Tulsi

  • Tulsi Gabbard currently represents Hawaii’s Second Congressional District in the US House.
  • In 2013, she became the first Hindu elected to Congress.
  • Prior to her US House election, she served in the Hawaii House of Representative, the Honolulu City Council, and as a company commander in the National Guard.

On the Issues

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
U.S. Senate, New York

About Kirsten

  • Kirsten Gillibrand is a current US Senator from New York, a post she has held since 2009.
  • Prior to her election, Senator Gillibrand served as the US Representative from New York’s Twentieth Congressional District and as Special Counsel to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

On the Issues

  • Treat student loan borrowers fairly. Introduced the Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act that would allow student borrowers to refinance their student debt “at a lower interest rate, just as business-owners and homeowners are able to do.”

    (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand U.S. Senate Website, accessed 4/25/19)

  • Supporting education is priority #1. The Senator has voted to expand Head Start and supports efforts to help educators and urban and rural schools. She joined other Senators in 2010 to secure more than $600 million in education funding that saved and created more than 7,000 education jobs in New York.

    (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand U.S. Senate Website, accessed 4/25/19)

  • Stands with workers’ fight for pay and protections. Introduced the “Workplace Democracy Act,” which supports workers’ right to bargain for “better wages, benefits, and working conditions.” She described the bill as essential to preventing business from keeping wages low and its employees living in poverty.

    (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Press Release, 5/9/18)

  • Endorses specific policies to curb the racial wealth divide. Acknowledging that “institutional racism throughout our society has created a racial wealth gap that holds families back for generations,” the Senator supports a federal job guarantee, postal banking, and exploring reparations.

    (New York Magazine, 4/17/19)

Sen. Kamala Harris (D)
U.S. Senate, California

About Kamala

  • Kamala Harris has represented California in the US Senate since 2017.
  • She previously served as San Francisco’s District Attorney, and became California’s first female, first black, and first Asian American Attorney General when she was elected in 2011.

On the Issues

  • You get a raise and you get a raise! Introduced a proposal that would give every teacher a $13,500 raise. “We want the mathematicians to teach math instead of going to Wall Street because they got to pay off their bills.”

    (CBS News, 3/26/19)

  • Time to invest. Believes “we need to make smarter investments in our schools: from teachers and aides to infrastructure and technology.” The Senator presses that “one of the biggest indicators for success is how much money actually makes it into classrooms and touches students and addresses their needs.”

    (Vote Smart, 1/1/16)

  • Stands unapologetically with labor. In reference to Janus, wrote that “if a union is required to represent all employees in negotiating for a better workplace, every employee who stands to benefit from those negotiations should share the costs.” The Senator also canceled plans to deliver UC Berkeley’s commencement address in support of UC workers who were on strike over wages and health benefits.

    (The Mercury News, 3/7/18; Los Angeles Times, 5/7/18)

  • Ready to speak truth about racism. The Senator believes that leadership is required to facilitate the “uncomfortable” conversations needed about race To her credit, her career has included establishing the “nation’s first open data initiative to expose racial disparities in the criminal justice system” and passing legislation that make lynching a federal hate crime.

    (CNN, 3/9/19; Kamala Harris Campaign Website, accessed 4/25/19)

John Hickenlooper (D)

About John

  • John Hickenlooper served as the Governor of Colorado from 2011 to 2018, at which point he reached his term limit.
  • Prior to his election as Governor, he was Mayor of Denver from 2004 to 2010.

On the Issues

  • Don’t be a fool about compensating educators. Has said that voters need to agree to raise taxes to increase funding for education. “We’re fools or just blind if we don’t…begin finding ways we can increase…compensation.”

    (Colorado Public Radio News, 4/26/18)

  • Didn’t show the money though. Proposed and signed budgets that resulted in millions of dollars in spending reductions to K-12 public education and state supported higher education.

    (Colorado Politics, 3/5/19)

  • Does he or doesn’t he support workers? As governor, wrote that it was not in the state’s “interest to require mandatory bargaining.” As a presidential candidate, said “it’s time we had a president who was willing to stand up for collective bargaining.”

    (Twitter, 4/10/19)

  • Fast tracked in-state tuition. Signed a bill to give refugees and special visa immigrants access to in-state tuition without a waiting period. “Doesn’t solve all problems, but it’s going to make their lives a lot easier.”

    (Denver Post, 5/30/18)

Gov. Jay Inslee (D)
Governor, Washington

About Jay

  • Jay Inslee has served as Governor of Washington since 2013.
  • Prior to his election as Governor, Inslee represented Washington’s 1st District in Congress from 1999 to 2012.

On the Issues

  • Student loan borrowers have rights too. Signed the Washington Student Education Loan Bill Rights in 2018, which provides strong protections for more than 700,000 student borrowers; establishes a Student Loan Advocate to review complaints; and authorizes the state to license student loan servicers to ensure compliance with state and federal requirements and prevent borrower mistreatment.

    (Center for Responsible Lending, 3/16/18)

  • It takes a village and money. For the state’s 2017-2019 budget, signed legislation that provided pay increases for teachers and other schools staff. Signed a supplemental budget that added an extra $46 million for school construction. His 2017-2019 state budget also included funding changes for special education and learning assistance programs in high poverty schools.

    (The Spokesman-Review, 3/27/18)

  • Supports workers and fair share. In a Janus op-ed wrote that not providing for fair share “threatens the right of public employees to collectively bargain because it guts the financial mechanism to do so…strong unions…provide a strong benefit.”

    (The News Tribune, 3/3/18)

  • He has regrets. In 1994 he voted for a crime bill that in retrospect he now admits “has resulted in racial disparities in our system.” As governor he has tried to make amends, “we’ve changed our rules to try to get more diverse jury panels…And we are training people, police officers, in de-escalation tactics.”

    (CNN Transcripts, 4/10/19)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D)
U.S. Senate, Minnesota

About Amy

  • Amy Klobuchar has represented Minnesota in the US Senate since 2007.
  • Prior to her election, she served as county attorney for Hennepin County.

On the Issues

  • Supports making college more affordable. “Student loan debt has spun out of control, becoming a crippling financial burden to many young people and their families. It is time to provide real help…to make college more affordable.” The Senator also believes in investing in community and technical colleges, apprenticeships, and STEM programs.

    (Sen. Amy Klobuchar U.S. Senate Website, accessed 4/25/19)

  • Congress is hurting students by not investing in education. She is an original cosponsor of the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act. The bill prioritizes special education funding and access to quality public education. “Congress has an obligation…to fully fund Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Act—This bill will ensure that we don’t let our students down.”

    (Sen. Amy Klobuchar Press Release, 4/16/19)

  • Stands with unions and American workers. Criticized the Janus decision, vowing “we’ll stand with American workers and stand up against this attempt to weaken unions.” She is a cosponsor of the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, which ensure “public sector employees…have the legal right to form and join a union.”

    (Sen. Christopher Coons Press Release, 6/28/18)

  • Believes in a shared dream of opportunity. The Senator admits that the country needs to acknowledge the atrocities of slavery, and proposes investing in “those communities that have been so hurt by racism.” She does not believe reparations have to include “a direct pay for each person.”

    (The Hill, 3/17/19)

Wayne Messam (D)

About Wayne

  • Wayne Messam has served as Mayor of Miramar, Florida since 2015.
  • Prior to his election as Mayor, Messam served as a member of the Miramar City Commission from 2011 to 2015.

On the Issues

  • Student debt is destroying the American dream. Featured as the hallmark of his campaign, the mayor believes that prosperity “starts with higher education.” To address the more than $1 trillion of student debt burdening millions of Americans, he proposes a one-time cancellation of all federal and private loans. “Debt cancellation as a stimulus,” his plan states, would “boost real GDP [and] create 1.5 million jobs.”

    (Wayne for USA, accessed 5/31/19)

  • Rollback ill-conceived tax cuts to reinvest in education. According to the mayor, the “nearly $2 trillion worth of tax cuts…is a lot of corporate greed.” Eliminating these cuts would open renewed resources so that educators’ salaries would “align with the importance of their work.”

    (90.0 WBUR, 4/9/19; Wayne for USA, accessed 5/31/19)

  • Today’s economy is bad for workers. The mayor has not stated his support or opposition to unions or collective bargaining, but has promised to “bring uncertainty for American workers…to an end, by pushing to make it illegal to shut down the government to score political points.” If elected president, he also “will establish an economic plan to soften the blow of the coming tech advancements on working and middle class Americans.”

    (Wayne for USA, accessed 5/31/19)

  • Believes in triple threat reforms: democracy, voting, and criminal justice. To restore American democracy, the mayor has called for the elimination of the electoral college, “we shouldn’t have a system where a candidate can lose by three million votes and somehow be declared the winner.” In addition, he warns of efforts to reinstitute poll taxes and supports a criminal justice system that celebrates diversity and allows for second chances.

    (Wayne for USA, accessed 5/31/19)

Rep. Seth Moulton (D)
U.S. House, Massachusetts

About Seth

  • Seth Moulton has represented Massachusetts’ 6th District in Congress since 2015.
  • Prior to his election to Congress, Moulton served as a Marine from 2001 to 2008.

On the Issues

  • Supports treating public education holistically. In asserting that “zip codes or skin color should never limit children’s potential or determine the quality of their schools,” the Rep. has endorsed legislation that provides resources for school construction, trauma-informed schools, family violence prevention, child nutrition, and student loan forgiveness.

    (Seth Moulton 2020 Campaign Website, accessed 4/25/19)

  • The country needs to invest in schools. In supporting a resolution that found educators “chronically underpaid” and local funding in decline, the Rep. believes that creating “adequate and equitable access to education…is a fundamental right for all students.” In addition to increases for public education, the resolution also sought full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

    (Congress.Gov, H.Res. 876)

  • Concerned about workers’ rights post-Janus. In reflecting that what happens to unions affects every citizen, he reminded constituents that “unions have been on the front lines fighting for American workers for decades, securing overtime, health care, paid leave and more…These rights will now be under greater threat — for those in unions and the rest of us, as well.”

    (Mass Live, 6/27/18)

  • It’s time to get serious about voting rights. To ensure full participation in our democracy, the Rep. supports an overhaul of elections that would include “abolishing the Electoral College, automatically registering people to vote and making Election Day a national holiday.” He admits the “uncomfortable truth is, those [voting] rights have never truly been guaranteed here…it’s time to fix what’s broken.”

    (CNBC, 4/22/19)

Beto O’Rourke (D)

About Beto

  • Beto O’Rourke represented Texas’s 16th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives from 2013 to 2019.
  • Prior to his election to the House, O’Rourke served on the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2011.

On the Issues

  • Hates all of this testing. The former Rep. wants to support educators and “allow them to teach to the child and not to the test.” He says there is too much emphasis on “arbitrary, high-stakes” testing.

    (Education Week, 3/14/19)

  • Against efforts to cut public education. Voted no on legislation that called for drastic cuts to public education, including resources for professional development and class size reduction. He believes in investing “in a world-class Pre-k through 12 public education system and…paying our educators a living wage so that they don’t have to work a second or third job.”

    (Beto for America Campaign Website, accessed 4/25/19)

  • Believes that private- and public-sector collective bargaining are not the same. “I’m a big believer in labor’s right to collectively bargain in the private sector.” However, after serving as a city council member, he expressed “they [police and firefighters] are not so exceptional that they get to have these contracts and rights that no other city employee enjoy and which the taxpayer cannot continue to finance without the city going broke.”

    (The Intercept, 1/13/19)

  • Realizes it’s time for action. In committing to signing legislation that would study reparations for slave descendants, he admits that civil rights include an understanding of “the injustices that have been visited and continue to be visited on people.” He also has pledged to reverse Trump administration policies that look away from abusive local law enforcement agencies.

    (Bloomberg, 4/3/19)

Rep. Tim Ryan (D)
U.S. House, Ohio

About Tim

  • Tim Ryan has represented Ohioans in Congress since 2003.
  • Prior to his election to Congress, Ryan served in the Ohio State Senate from 2001 to 2002.

On the Issues

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I)
U.S. Senate, Vermont

About Bernie

  • Bernie Sanders has represented Vermont in the US Senate since 2007.
  • Prior to his election to the Senate, Sanders served in the US House of Representative and as Mayor of Burlington.

On the Issues

  • College should be free. The country can afford to make community college free and waive tuition at four-year institutions for families earning less than $125,000 annually. In also pushing more student loan forgiveness, the Senator believes “higher education is a right.”

    (CNBC, 2/29/19)

  • Wealth should not determine quality education. Public education investments should ensure that there is no difference in schools in wealthy or low-income communities, and he affirms that “I believe guaranteeing resource equity is a core tenet of the federal government’s role.”

    (, accessed 4/25/19)

  • Believes working families are under assault. After the Janus decision, the Senator stated that “we must redouble our efforts to make it easier, not harder, to join a union.” Throughout his career, he has supported raising the minimum wage, labor unions and worker co-ops, and policies that give “workers the time and resources to spend meaningful time with their loved ones.”

    (Sen. Bernie Sanders Press Release, 6/27/18;, accessed 4/25/19)

  • Racism fuels systemic violence. Believes physical, political, legal, economic and environmental injustices must be addressed to ensure equal justice for black, brown, and indigenous Americans. Concerning reparations, he supports investing in affected communities versus “just writing out a check.”

    (Sen. Bernie Sanders U.S. Senate Website, accessed 4/25/19; Vox, 3/1/19)

Pres. Donald Trump (R)
President, USA

About Donald

  • Donald Trump is the 45th and current president of the United States, his first political office.
  • He assumed office on January 20, 2017 and filed to run for re-election the same day.

On the Issues

  • Supports private school vouchers. His administration proposes $5 billion in tax credits “that would fund scholarships to private schools.” The president believes that “to help working parents, the time has come to pass school choice for America’s children.”

    (The Washington Post, 2/6/19; The New York Times, 2/28/19)

  • Let them eat cake. After passing a $1.5 trillion tax cut that benefited corporations and the ultra-wealthy, the president’s budget request for education includes more than $7 billion in cuts. Although Congress will not support these proposed cuts, the Trump administration does not believe the federal government should support teacher development, public service student loan forgiveness, and higher education research.

    (The Atlantic, 3/19; Newsweek, 2/15/19)

  • Opposes unions and the rights of workers. Publicly the president aligns himself with American workers, but supports “decreased labor protections, rolled back worker safety and weakened federal unions.” In celebrating the Janus decision, he tweeted “non-union workers are…able to support a candidate of his or her choice without having those who control the Union deciding for them.”

    (Newsweek, 9/2/18; On Labor, 6/27/18)

  • If you support me, I won’t disavow you. The president has an extensive and well-documented history of racial discrimination and racist comments. He has supported housing discrimination; called on the U.S. to ban Muslims; begrudgingly condemns white supremacists; routinely promotes racist stereotypes; and has quietly used his administration to roll back civil and human rights. In doubling down on multiple controversies, the president affirms “that he’s the least racist person.”

    (Vox, 7/25/16; The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, accessed 4/25/19)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D)
U.S. Senate, Massachusetts

About Elizabeth

  • Elizabeth Warren has represented Massachusetts in the US Senate since 2012.
  • Prior to her election, she served as Special assistant to President Barack Obama for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

On the Issues

  • Believes there’s a way to transform higher education once and for all. The Senator supports the immediate cancellation of student loan debt for more than 40 million Americans. Her plan, financed by an “Ultra-Millionaire Tax,” would also guarantee free college. She believes that “once we’ve cleared out the debt that’s holding down an entire generation of Americans, we must ensure that we never have another student debt crisis again.”

    (Medium, 4/22/19)

  • Supports investments in public education and universal pre-K. The Senator believes that “America’s middle class was built through investments in education.” Preserving it, she argues, also requires everyone has access to preschool and affordable child care.

    (Sen. Elizabeth Warren U.S. Senate Website, accessed 4/25/19; Sen. Elizabeth Warren Press Release, 2/18/19)

  • Upholds strong collective bargaining rights. As Los Angeles educators were on strike, the Senator tweeted “When we fail our public school teachers, we fail their students – and we fail our future. In the Senate, she has supported bills to repeal right-to-work laws and make workplace-organizing easier. She believes “if we want to protect workers…that means banning states from imposing restrictions that prevent workers from joining together to fight for their future.”

    (Twitter, 1/14/19; Washington Examiner, 1/18/19)

  • Structural racism matters. Acknowledging disparities in wealth and opportunity, the Senator has stated that the country cannot run from its “ugly history of racism.” She supports reparations for the descendants of American slaves and admits that “race matters and we need to say so.”

    (AP News, 2/22/19)

Bill Weld (R)

About Bill

  • Bill Weld served as Governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997 and ran as Vice President on the Libertarian ticket in 2016.
  • Prior to his election as Governor, Weld served as Assistant Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan.

On the Issues

Marianne Williamson (D)

About Marianne

  • Marianne Williamson is an author from Texas and founder of the nonprofit Project Angel Food.
  • Williamson has written thirteen books, including four New York Times bestsellers.

On the Issues

  • Supports a “whole person educational system.” The noted author and motivational speaker supports universal preschool and a vast “array of educational approaches, including social and emotional learning; the development of conflict resolution skills; restorative justice; meditation and mindfulness; anti-bullying programs; [and reducing] high stakes testing.” She believes that education can address “the heart and soul as well as the intellect.”

    (Marianne 2020, accessed 5/13/19)

  • Education investments should honor the “whole person.” As president, her plan would include “increased funding for free and reduced-price lunches,” and “federal compensation for state school funding.” She believes that these priorities address the disparities associated with childhood poverty and unequal access to quality education.

    (Marianne 2020, accessed 5/13/19)

  • Supports workers’ rights, protections, and more workplace benefits. To counteract policies that are only serving the top 1%, her plan for the economy includes increasing the minimum wage to reflect “a living wage;” protecting the rights of “working people to organize for better wages and working conditions;” and requiring employers to offer paid vacation,” even for part-time employees.

    (Marianne 2020, accessed 5/13/19)

  • “A debt unpaid is still a debt unpaid.” Her plan for racial reconciliation and healing identifies “America’s fundamental race problem is a moral issue.” To heal the legacy of injustice, she believes the United States “should pay reparations for slavery.” “Just as Germany has paid $89 billion in reparations… since WW2,” she supports “$200-$500 billion…to be disbursed over a period of twenty years.”

    (Marianne 2020, accessed 5/13/19)

Andrew Yang (D)

About Andrew

  • Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur from New York and founder of the nonprofit Venture for America.
  • Yang earned his Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School, a Bachelors in economics from Brown, and has written several books on entrepreneurship.

On the Issues

  • Wants every student to be supported and prepared for the future. As technology gives and takes, the former entrepreneur believes that universal preschool, career and technical education, and college affordability are essential. He shares that “I have many friends who work in technology and they know…what we did to the manufacturing jobs…retail jobs…call center jobs. So we need to think much bigger about how we’re going to help Americans transition through this time.”

    (Business Insider, 3/29/19; CNN Transcripts, 4/14/19)

  • Supports investing where it counts. Expressing concern that “emphasizing rote academic skills in the age of supercomputers is not preparing our people for what’s to come,” he calls for specific investments in early childhood education, technical training, arts education, and tuition-free community college.

    (Yang 2020 Campaign Website, accessed 4/25/19)

  • Labor needs a “game changer.” As unions adjust to turbulent times and new realities, he believes that access to Universal Basic Income would provide the financial reliability for workers to “increase worker bargaining power… and…push harder against exploitative labor conditions.”

    (Yang 2020 Campaign Website, 9/4/18)

  • Universal basic income brings economic justice. Economic insecurity wreaks havoc on society, and increases in automation will result in 1 out of 3 Americans losing their jobs. Providing every citizen a guaranteed $1,000 per month, would reduce “conditions of scarcity, poverty, and financial insecurity, major sources of stress for millions of people…and would create 4.6 million jobs.”

    (Yang 2020 Campaign Website, accessed 4/25/19)

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