Gloria La Riva, a socialist candidate for the U.S. presidency, emphasized reducing poverty and diverting spending from the military during a meeting Thursday with the Press-Citizen's editorial board.
La Riva, who visited Iowa City to campaign, said her highest priority is tackling poverty and financial hardships created by increasing living expenses. She said she promotes moving U.S. military funding toward the creation of jobs and envisions the military offering assistance to those in need across the globe, including people affected by flooding and other natural disasters.
“We say, you can’t have jobs at home and wars abroad at the same time," La Riva said.
She said she supports closing military bases and withdrawing all troops from abroad, later saying the changes she hopes to see would require “a mass movement in this country” similar to the recent Occupy Wall Street movement but with more momentum and participation.
A labor, community and anti-war activist based in San Francisco, La Riva also said she promotes an immediate $15 minimum wage, describing efforts to raise the wage in some Iowa counties as “a day late, a dollar short.” Free public university education and student debt cancellation also were among her proposals.
In partnership with two vice presidential candidates, Eugene Puryear and Dennis Banks, La Riva is a candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
She will appear on the presidential ballot in Iowa alongside nine other candidates.Early voting is underway in Johnson County until Nov. 7 at the auditor's office and multiple satellite sites.
The daughter of two Mexican parents, La Riva said she grew up in a low-income family. She said she believed in capitalism growing up, but her peers in college and stories about former students there organizing for financial aid and affirmative action exposed her to socialism.
Through her campaign, she said she has successfully connected with thousands of people to discuss ideas for change.
"We have been able to expand our presence ... and hope to grow as a party," she said.
La Riva said her work talking with voters is also helping to break down the notion that voters must choose between the Democratic and Republican parties.
She said her campaign will reach out to supporters of both major party candidates to discuss poverty and socialism, though she described Trump as a "disgusting misanthrope." She said she is disturbed by media coverage Trump has garnered but believes the "Trump phenomenon" will fade.
However, she also criticized several aspects of Clinton's campaign, ranging from Clinton's approach to conflicts in Syria to concerns about who she would select as staff if elected.
“He’s poison, but Clinton’s not the antidote," La Riva said.