February 08, 2019 09:34 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- As the list of Democrats seeking the presidency in 2020 grows, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) Friday touted his record as Newark mayor and senator as proof that he can bring about change as he tours Iowa.
Booker, who officially announced his candidacy February 1, stopped in Mason City Friday morning before events in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids. During the stop, which drew about 100 people to the basement of First Congregational United Church of Christ, Booker laid out his vision for the country, calling for a $15 hourly minimum wage, healthcare for all Americans, action on climate change and more funding for education.
"We live in a nation where the only way to have a vibrant democracy is to have great public schools," Booker told the crowd, saying there would be "no fiercer champion" for public education than him.
The New Jersey senator also highlighted how issues like climate change, healthcare and education are connected, saying that addressing climate change will improve health outcomes especially in underprivileged communities and that healthy children will likely miss fewer days in the classroom. He also added that low wages can force parents to make difficult decisions that trickle down to their kids, including choosing between working a second job to pay the bills or helping kids with their homework.
Addressing agricultural issues, Booker pointed out that corporate consolidation and mental health concerns affecting farmers are representative of issues Americans in urban areas also face.
Mason City veteran and lifelong Democrat Steven Juhl asked Booker about his plans to address healthcare needs for veterans, to which Booker replied the country is under-investing in those who serve.
"If our country can come up with hundreds of billions of dollars -- excuse me -- with trillion of dollars to send people to war, our country should come up with the resources necessary to take care of those brave men and women when they come home. Full stop," he said.
After Booker's remarks, Juhl, who is unsure who he will support in the Democratic primary, appreciated the senator's positive message.
"He was able to connect with everybody that was in the room. He answered everybody's question with an honest, sincere answer," Juhl said.
The church where the event was held is no stranger to presidential hopefuls; then-candidate Barack Obama made a stop there two weeks before the Iowa caucuses in 2007. Prior to announcing his 2016 candidacy, President Donald Trump made a stop blocks away at the Music Man Square in 2015.
Booker will stop in Marshalltown and Des Moines on Saturday.
Updated: February 08, 2019 09:34 PM
Created: February 08, 2019 09:26 PM
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