DES MOINES, Iowa — Over two dozen people stormed into former Vice President Joe Biden’s Des Moines headquarters looking for answers on health care Monday night.
Their singing and demanding action led to the arrests of five people, including John Reardon and William Floyd.
“We have seen some of our members die because they didn’t have access to health care and so we wanted to bring that urgency that we face every day,” said Floyd.
Both 22-year-olds live in the metro and were among those arrested and charged with trespassing in their attempt to speak with Biden about his opposing views on health care for all.
The group of 30 were from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) Action Fund, which has already endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders.
“We work on issues like factory farm moratorium, free college for all and ‘Medicare for All,'” said Floyd. These are issues Biden and Sanders are divided on. “Every other major country on earth is guaranteeing health care for all. The time is long overdue,” Sanders said at the final debate in Des Moines this month. “The vast majority of Democrats do not support Medicare for All. We should build on Obamacare,” said Biden in November.
Iowa CCI says Biden continues to turn a blind eye to their attempts at a conversation on health care, and the three-hour-long visit on Monday was no exception. “It just feels wrong and hurtful that a candidate would come into the state of Iowa asking for our votes and not even engage with us,” said Reardon.
Not all Iowans share Iowa CCI’s feelings, and big names like Congresswomen Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer, along with former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, have given their endorsements siding with Biden’s views. In response, Floyd said, “Maybe they can get Biden to return our phone calls and emails.”
It’s a conversation Reardon says hits home because his mother worked three jobs and couldn’t afford access to health care. “Getting arrested to stop that is just like getting arrested to save her life and people I care about,” said Reardon.
It’s an issue Iowa CCI believes is putting people over politics, even though Biden is a Democrat. Reardon said, “This isn’t about any candidates. Ultimately, our movement is about building a movement because when millions stand up and demand change, that’s how change happens.”