Dean Phillips brings presidential campaign to Franklin Pierce

Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips speaks at at Franklin Pierce University Monday. 

Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips speaks at at Franklin Pierce University Monday.  JESSECA TIMMONS / Ledger-Transcript staff

Dean Phillips speaks with Franklin Pierce students Spencer Murray, left, and Abigail Farley of PoliticsFitzU. 

Dean Phillips speaks with Franklin Pierce students Spencer Murray, left, and Abigail Farley of PoliticsFitzU.  STAFF PHOTO JESSECA TIMMONS

U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota was the second speaker in Franklin Pierce University’s “Pizza and Politics” series Monday.

U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota was the second speaker in Franklin Pierce University’s “Pizza and Politics” series Monday. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 12-06-2023 4:05 PM

Democratic U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who is challenging President Joe Biden for his party’s nomination, spoke Monday to a group of about 40 people at the second “Pizza and Politics” event hosted by PoliticsFitzU, a student media organization that covers political news and events throughout New Hampshire.

Phillips was the second of three scheduled candidates in the series, following Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burghum, who spoke Friday and announced he was leaving the race Monday. Republican former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled for Dec. 7 at 12:15 p.m.

Abigail Farley, a political science major at the college, welcomed Phillips on behalf of PoliticsFitzU, which was founded five years ago at the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication at Franklin Pierce University.

Phillips, who entered the race in late October, is focusing his campaign on the cost of health care, education and housing, and how these costs affect working Americans.

“We don’t even have a health care system in this country. We have a sick care system,” Phillips said. “Americans pay three or four times more for health care and prescription drugs than in Canada, Mexico, in Europe, in Australia.”

Phillips – who led his family’s business, Phillips Distilling, and helped build the Talenti Gelato ice cream brand and opened Penny’s Coffee in the Twin Cities – ran for Congress in 2018 after seeing his two college-age daughters disturbed by the outcome of the 2016 election.

Phillips said he is focusing on alleviating the growing divide in income distribution in the United States.

“The news is always saying the economy is wonderful and the numbers are strong, but if this is true, why am I hearing a totally different story from people I meet all over the country? Why am I seeing veterans, men who served our country, actually sleeping in Veteran’s Park in Manchester every day when I walk by there? It’s because the numbers on the economy, the ones that supposedly indicate the health of the economy, are completely disconnected from the lives of real people,” Phillips said. “What real people are telling me is they can’t afford their rent, they can’t find a home to buy, they can’t afford health care, and they have student debt that is crushing them. ”

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Phillips is focusing on New Hampshire’s Jan. 23 primary despite the fact that the national Democratic Party no longer sanctions the state’s primary as first in the nation. State law requires that New Hampshire hold the first primary in the nation, but the national Democratic Party has designated that South Carolina hold the first primary on Feb. 3.

Biden has not filed to appear on the ballot in New Hampshire, and Democrats supporting Biden in New Hampshire are organizing a write-in campaign for the primary.

“I never thought the Democratic Party would behave this way. They are punishing New Hampshire for following their own law, which requires the state to have the first primary. The national Democratic Party is refusing to host debates. They canceled the primary in Florida and just declared Biden the winner. That disenfranchises every voter in Florida,” Phillips said. “And we wonder why half the country has turned against the government.”