SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich recently conversed with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I – Vt.) about Sanders’ democratic candidacy for President of the United States and the positive impact that the voice of unionized labor can have on the outcome of the race. Sanders is well known for his record of voting for policies that help working families and against those policies that hurt the poor. On the issues such as wealth inequality, Sanders is outspoken about evening out the gap between the middle class and the wealthy.

If elected, Sanders has promised: Previsich and Sanders

  • To rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
  • To reverse climate changes.
  • To create worker co-ops.
  • To grow the trade union movement.
  • To raise the minimum wage.
  • Pay equity for women workers.
  • To establish trade policies that benefit American workers.
  • To make college affordable for all.
  • To take on Wall Street and break up the big banks.
  • To make Health care a right for all.
  • To protect the most vulnerable Americans.
  • To reform the tax structure.

Senator Sanders is the longest-serving Independent in U.S. congressional history, having served 16 years in the House of Representatives before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. He is currently serving his second term as a senator.

Senator Bernie Sanders (D – Vt.) was invited to speak at the SMART Business Agents’ conference, Tuesday, July 28 held at the Washington Hilton, Washington D.C. Watch the video below to hear Sen. Sanders’ speech about the shrinking middle class, the need for improvements in our nation’s infrastructure, the need for trade unions in the United States and much more.

Sanders is a Democratic candidate for President of the United States. In 2006, he was elected to the U.S. Senate after 16 years as Vermont’s sole congressman in the House of Representatives. Sanders is now serving his second term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2012 with 71 percent of the vote. His previous 16 years in the House of Representatives make him the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history.

Throughout his career he has focused on the shrinking American middle class and the growing income and wealth gaps in the United States. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Sanders in 2014 passed legislation reforming the VA health care system. Today, Sanders remains on the veterans committee and was tapped by Senate leadership to be the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. He also serves on the Environment and Public Works Committee, where he has focused on global warming and rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. He is a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where he has championed efforts to transform our energy system from fossil fuels to renewable power sources like solar and wind. He also sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where he has fought for greater access to affordable health care and improved education programs from pre-K to college. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Jan. 27 introduced legislation to rebuild America’s crumbling network of roads, bridges, transit systems and other infrastructure projects. The five-year plan would invest $1 trillion in the effort and create or maintain at least 13 million decent-paying jobs, according to Sanders, the Senate Budget Committee ranking member.

The legislation is cosponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the appropriations committee ranking member, and is supported by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the AFL-CIO and many others.

“For too many years, we’ve underfunded our nation’s physical infrastructure. We have to change that and that’s what the Rebuild America Act is all about. We must modernize our infrastructure and create millions of new jobs that will put people back to work and help the economy,” Sanders said.

“My legislation puts 13 million people to work repairing the backlog of infrastructure projects all across this country. These projects require equipment, supplies and services, and the hard-earned salaries from these jobs will be spent in countless restaurants, shops and other local businesses. It’s no surprise that groups across the political spectrum – from organized labor to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – agree that investing in infrastructure will pay dividends for future generations.”

Sanders’ bill makes targeted investments in roads, bridges, transit, passenger and freight rail, water infrastructure, marine ports and inland waterways, national parks, municipal broadband and the electric grid. A short summary of the bill can be found here and the text of the bill itself is here.

“By making smart federal investments in our nation’s infrastructure, we can create jobs and opportunities today, while strengthening our economy for tomorrow. I’m proud to cosponsor the Rebuild America Act,” Mikulski said.

Tom Trotter, legislative representative for the AFL-CIO, said Sanders proposal will “raise the profile about the serious needs of our nation’s infrastructure. This proposal provides a stark blueprint of what needs to be accomplished and provides an opportunity to create millions of new jobs.”

Casey Dinges, senior managing director at the society of engineers, said: “Senator Sanders’ initiative to invest $1 trillion over five years through his Rebuild America Act will have a far-reaching impact on restoring and modernizing our nation’s aging infrastructure.”

And former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a leader of the Building America’s Future initiative, said: “America’s infrastructure is falling apart. It is time to get serious about modernizing our infrastructure as the consequences of further inaction are unconscionable.”