This article is produced by Elon University students traveling throughout Iowa to cover the 2020 caucuses.
OTTUMWA, Iowa - While the rain poured down on Bridgeview Center, 44 people gathered at a town hall for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) three weeks before the Iowa caucuses.
While the event was aimed toward the older men and women in the audience, several college-aged students were also in attendance.
When asked, Klobuchar told Elon News Network there were three issues she believed were particularly important to young voters.
“One is climate change because you guys are going to have to inherit the world,” Klobuchar said.
In an effort to address climate change, Klobuchar said she would reduce greenhouse gases, get the U.S. back into the Paris Climate Agreement, strengthen clean power rules and reinstate the gas mileage standards. Klobuchar explained all of these policies without disregarding those who would lose their jobs as a result.
“But other people are going to lose their jobs. And we've got to make sure that the money goes to create new jobs for the people that are in some of those industries,” Klobuchar said. “This is a policy for me that comes from the heart, not just the head.”
According to Klobuchar, gun control is another issue of particular interest to young voters.
“It’s been young people, especially since Parkland, have been leading that fight,” Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar did not discuss her policy surrounding the topic during the town hall. However, according to her campaign website, she is in support of instituting universal background checks.
“I see the most diverse generation that our country has ever seen. I see the most popular one, the one that looks out for each other and the one that works really, really hard,” Klobuchar said.
To address college debt, Klobuchar said she plans to double the Federal Pell Grant and increase the limit on the income level from $50 to $100,000.
In addition, Klobuchar said, as president, she would make it easier for students to repay their student loans. Klobuchar focused her discussion of college affordability on community college programs with one or two-year-degree-programs.
“I have a daughter who’s 24. So I get what’s been going on. And this generation, I want to say, is an incredible generation,” Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar discussed a variety of policies throughout the town hall. She spoke of her, “optimistic economic agenda” for the country and her plan during her first 100 days in office. She said she would work on bringing down the cost of healthcare while building on the Affordable Care Act.
The senator emphasized mental health care and substance-abuse support. This issue hits close to home for Klobuchar as she said she watched her own father struggle with alcoholism and often had to take the keys away from him while she was in high school.
In a poll released on Jan. 10 by the Des Moines Register, Klobuchar fell at 6%. This puts her right below Joe Biden who placed at 15%.
Regardless, Klobuchar’s fight in the race continues.
“Or you think about Bill Clinton or you think about Barack Obama. Okay, they were not in the lead. When you look through the year at what was happening, they surged at the end,” Klobuchar said. “So I'm asking you to give me that surge, to join up with us to sign one of those commit to caucus cards to go forward to make our volunteers happy. Thank you so much for being here. And I'd love to have your support and thank you for turning out on this day.”
Due to the support she has received for her campaign thus far, it was announced at today’s event, that Sen. Klobuchar has doubled her field offices in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Despite, not always winning the debates or currently being in the lead, Klobuchar closes the event asking her supporters for hope.
Maria Ramirez Uribe and Jack Norcross contributed to this report.