Presidential candidate Julián Castro visits Nashua Community College; talks immigration

NASHUA — Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro visited Nashua Community College Thursday evening with promises that, if elected, he plans to make the U.S. the “smartest, healthiest, fairest and most prosperous nation on Earth.”

“I’m running for president because I think it’s time for new leadership with a new vision for our country,” Castro said.

“This election is all about whether we’re going to give in to the dark hearts of some, whose vision in this country is narrow and exclusive, or whether we’re going to move forward as a nation that is going to expand opportunity to everyone,” he added.

Castro’s plan includes addressing the costs of health care and education, what he believes is an unfair justice system, gun violence and immigration.

On education, he showed support for paying teachers higher salaries, and providing better professional development opportunities.

On health care, he said big companies should never dictate whether someone gets the health care or medication they need. He said Medicare should be available to all who want it.

“Why is it that something like insulin costs a fraction in Canada of what it costs here?” Castro asked.

“That’s not the type of health care system we want. We need to do a lot better than that,” Castro said.

To make the nation the most equal on Earth, Castro said it is crucial to reimagine the country’s justice system, invest in public defenders, and make sure everyone is truly considered innocent until proven guilty.

Castro claimed he is the only candidate to put forward a police reform plan. His plan includes increasing transparency and credibility, as well as setting a national use of force standard for police officers that states an officer should only use lethal force if they’ve exhausted other reasonable alternatives in the situation.

“Why should they have a different use of force standard in Nashua, New Hampshire, than if you live in Boston, or if you live in Chicago, or if you live in a small town?” Castro questioned.

He also believes that police need to be demilitarized.

“I don’t think that the federal government should go out of its way to give weapons of war to local police departments,” Castro said.

To be the most prosperous nation, Castro said the nation needs to invest in affordable housing. His housing plan includes investing in the National Housing Trust Fund and introducing a renter’s tax credit.

Castro also wants to fix the immigration system by taking steps such as bringing back deported veterans, providing a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants as long as they haven’t committed a serious crime, cutting down on wait times, and being stronger about family unification.

“If we’re going to prosper in the years to come, we’re going to have to tackle head-on the most existential threat to this country and this world,” Castro said, adding that his first executive order would be recommitting to the Paris Climate Agreement.

“I don’t want to take us backward. I want to make us better than we have ever been,” Castro said upon closing. “I would like to restore some integrity and decency to the Oval Office.”

Grace Pecci may be reached at 594-1243, or at gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.