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Scott Howell: Biden is the right person at the right time

(Andrew Harnik | AP photo) Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Biden is holding rallies today in Des Moines, Iowa, Saint Paul, Minn., and Milwaukee, Wis.

Joe Biden is exactly the right person at the right time to be a candidate for president of the United States. He is the one who can best lead this incredible nation forward along the path set by remarkable leaders of the past, such as Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and others.

First, Biden can and will unite and heal the country. He will be a president for all Americans and work as hard on behalf of those who don’t vote for him as those who do.

Second, Biden will choose a different way of getting COVID-19 under control. His administration will lead a decisive public health response that ramps up free testing so we can trace this virus and curb its spread; eliminate all cost barriers to treatment for the virus; increase the manufacturing and distribution of the personal protective equipment that our front line workers need to keep themselves safe so our health care workers no longer have to ration masks; and ensure the rapid and equitable distribution of a safe and effective vaccine when one is ready.

Third, Biden will move the nation toward a practical, meaningful and widespread health care system by building on the successes we have already put in place, not by throwing out what we have and hoping a badly divided Congress will somehow come together to pass an untested, economically questionable replacement. The idea of starting over on health care is sheer fantasy. Biden helped develop the Affordable Care Act and helped get it through Congress. He knows its legislative strengths and its legislative weaknesses. He knows how to build on it and how to get desirable adjustments through Congress. We cannot resolve health care issues without the cooperation of Congress.

Fourth, Biden understands the dire threat global climate change poses for our world. He will eliminate the Trump regulatory rollbacks on carbon emission controls, institute additional controls where possible, and work with Congress to finally impose rational carbon taxes. But climate change cannot be solved by the United States alone. Biden will return America to the top leadership position in worldwide efforts to stop, then reduce global warming, global ice melt, catastrophic weather events, species elimination, and other tragedies connected to overproduction of atmospheric carbon.

Fifth, Biden knows the nation cannot survive, let alone thrive, without a strong middle class — strong economically, strong politically, strong educationally, strong morally and strong emotionally. He has not forgotten his own middle-class upbringing. And, like many Americans, Biden has experienced the tragedy of accident, the loss of loved ones and the stress of family member addiction. He will not rest until the middle class is once again the strong and successful backbone of America.

Sixth, Biden will not simply talk about the nation’s crumbling infrastructure; he will do something about it. He knows that as president he will have access to certain discretionary funds. He will use them to improve highways, waterways and communication networks, not to build useless border walls. He will work with governors and mayors to make certain rural areas enjoy all the advantages of modern technology. And he will present to Congress actual plans not mere words to move the nation toward safe roads, stronger communication networks and cleaner energy.

Seventh, Biden will send to Congress a compassionate, workable and sensible immigration reform bill. If Congress does not accept his proposal, he will work with members until the nation has the first immigration reform law in many decades. Biden knows we cannot continue with the broken system currently in force.

Are these the only problems we face? Of course not. But it’s time for a president who recognizes the problems, who understands the problems, knows how to work with Congress to solve those problems, and who believes in action, not simple words and empty promises. It’s time for Joe Biden.

Scott Howell

Scott N. Howell, Salt Lake City, is a former Utah Senate minority leader.

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