MASON CITY, Iowa - The field of democrats running for president in 2020 is getting crowded and each candidate wants to stand out. On Friday, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker was in Iowa hoping to do just that. Booker is kicking off his presidential campaign in Mason City in the basement of the First Congregational United Church of Christ. More than 100 people braved below zero wind chills to hear from the high profile candidate.
“I am going to go all over Iowa. That’s what's important to me is to make sure that I run a campaign that doesn't go to the larger cities alone. It's just an honor to start here,” says Booker.
The senator from New Jersey immediately pointed to his Iowa roots with his grandmother being from Des Moines, but it wasn't necessarily that fact that grabbed this audience's attention. Anna Jones says it's his willingness to listen and understand what small town Iowans are facing.
“He seems to be very supportive of ideas especially people from Iowa or the Midwest,” says Jones.
Specifically Jones is concerned about the student debt crisis.
“The housing market fell with overspending; the same thing is going to happen with our student debt. It's over lending at a price they can't pay back,” she says.
To that, Booker says there needs to be a stronger push for specialized training and remove the stigma associated with not going to a four year school.
“I am very familiar with Cory Booker so when I found out he was going to be here I thought we gotta go,” says Benjamin Dwyer of Mason City.
Dwyer is another voter, already weighing his options for the 2020 election.
“I look at each candidate based on how they feel about all the issues I care about,” says Dwyer.
When the tax system or health care comes up, he's all ears. During his talk, Booker called health care coverage a right and has voiced his support for a Medicare For All Act.
Other north Iowa voters asked Booker about saving family farms, air quality issues, and how to properly fund quality education. Through it all though, one message rang out loud and clear.
“That garment, that fabric has been ripped and torn and we must repair it. We must stitch it together each one of us, rejoining in common purpose and common cause,” Booker says.
And if you ask Anna Jones if it's too early to be out campaigning she'll tell you...
“Not at all because right now we have so many people running and more that are going to be running that they need to get out and be heard. Pretty soon it's going to be so spread that you'll pick and choose who you're going to. This is nice, he's got out he's got to hear people, he's got to listen to us,” she says.
- Sen. Cory Booker discusses important issues to voters in Mason City
- Eyeing White House, Cory Booker introduces himself to Iowa
- Cory Booker announces he is running for president
- Cory Booker proposes national license for all gun owners
- 2020 hopeful Cory Booker rolls out Iowa steering committee
- Mason City Council and employees discuss drainage issue
- Booker takes 2020 campaign, social-justice message to Mason City
- Mason City voters approve school levies
- Mason City voters decide two city council positions
- State Sen. Hart makes Mason City campaign stop