Reprinted from Reader Supported News
Likely presidential candidate Martin O'Malley listens to the concerns of Scott County Democrats in Davenport, Iowa.
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Martin O'Malley, the former governor of Maryland and a likely candidate for president in 2016, arrived in Iowa on Friday with both guns blazing. In an opinion piece he penned for the Des Moines Register, O'Malley wrote: "The largest banks should be broken up into more manageable institutions. Today, five banks control half of the financial industry's $15 trillion in assets. Even members of Congress, several Federal Reserve Board governors, and major players in the financial industry are recognizing that institutions that are too big to fail are too big to succeed."
The column took a shot at Democrats who want to water down Dodd/Frank, which he said didn't go far enough. "The most serious structural reform we can make is reinstating the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that kept commercial banks separate from investment banks."
"Structural reforms aren't enough," O'Malley went on to say. "We must bring fundamental change to the culture of Wall Street, beginning with real accountability. To this day, the Justice Department and financial regulators have done virtually nothing to bring criminal charges or hold leadership accountable. Legal deterrents are critical for improving the culture of Wall Street and showing that fraudulent behavior will be punished."
Later in the day, O'Malley delivered a rousing keynote address at the Scott County Democratic Party's annual Red, White & Blue dinner. He brought the crowd to its feet several times in a speech that many called inspirational. "The American Dream will never die on our watch, because we choose to fight, and we intend to win," said O'Malley. "That means raising the minimum wage, expanding eligibility for overtime pay and respecting the rights of all workers to organize. To make the dream true again, we must expand -- and not reduce -- Social Security benefits."
O'Malley talked about his past record as mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland, along with his vision for the future.
He reminded me a lot of old-school Democrats who represented workers, women, the poor, and people of color. He spoke of the Democratic Party being the party of compassion that has championed a path to the middle class. He spoke of providing opportunity for immigrants, saying "the symbol of America is not barbed wire, it's the Statue of Liberty." He stood up for equal pay for women, bringing the crowd to its feet as he shouted, "Sing it with me -- when women succeed, America succeeds!"
While mayor of Baltimore, O'Malley took on crime in the city. He used a modern computer system to track crime trends and develop a systematic response. He brought the system with him to the Governor's Mansion in Maryland. He claimed that crime in Baltimore had dropped by a higher rate than in any other city in America.
When O'Malley was governor of Maryland, he was always seen as effective, but he never stood out as a progressive. However, there were signs that he might be a very progressive candidate: Maryland was one of the first states to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay was a strong priority for O'Malley. He signed gay marriage into law, and allowed children of undocumented immigrants ("dreamers") to receive financial aid for college.
Martin O'Malley, who opposed the Iraq War, sent a letter to President Barack Obama thanking him for pulling troops out of Iraq. O'Malley wrote: "Thank you for doing what you said you would do in bringing our troops home from Iraq. Thank you for valuing the lives of our brave young men and women over the politically expedient course. Thank you for standing your ground against those who criticized and mocked you. Thank you for doing what only a few presidents have had the courage to do -- end war."
O'Malley opposes the Keystone XL pipeline. He posted the following comments on his Facebook page: "It's time to reject the either/or and small ball choices facing us on energy. I hope the Senate rejects #_KeystoneXL -- it's too much carbon dioxide, and not nearly enough jobs (only about 50 jobs permanent once construction is finished)."
O'Malley knows Iowa. He got his start in politics as a Gary Hart volunteer. He volunteered to come to Iowa, where he helped with the traditional campaign tasks while also performing with his guitar at pubs and campaign events. He still plays in an Irish rock band.
Last year he visited Iowa often, and his PAC sent $40,000 and 14 staffers to help with the 2014 elections.
As the attendees of the dinner enjoyed their meal, O'Malley visited every table and spoke with everyone in attendance. Following the event, the governor visited Kelley's Irish Pub, where he talked one-on-one with everyone who had followed him there.
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