Booker highlights message of unity throughout Iowa tour

2020 Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Cory Booker traveled to four Iowa campaign stops Friday, where he spoke of American unity.


New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker speaks to his audience following a community forum at the Hawkeye Community College Van G. Miller Adult Learning Center in Waterloo, Iowa on Friday, February 8, {yr4.} Senator Booker announced his campaign for President of the United States on February 1, 2019.

Julia DiGiacomo, Politics Reporter

2020 Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Cory Booker spread a message of unity and hope throughout his tour of Iowa Friday. In his first visit to Iowa since the announcement of his presidential campaign, he outlined an urgency for action regarding a variety of issues, including prison and health care reform.

Booker commenced his “Iowa Rise Tour” Friday morning in Mason City, before progressing to Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City. On Saturday, he will finish up the tour with a meet-and-greet at noon in Marshalltown and a community forum at 3 p.m. in Des Moines.

Booker’s  history in Iowa goes back farther than his most recent tour. His grandmother was born and raised in Des Moines, he said to a crowd in Cedar Rapids. Booker also headlined the  2018 Iowa Democratic Party Fall Gala.

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At multiple events, Booker called for the U.S.’s return to “civic grace” and emphasized that Americans should not let politicians pit them against each other. He mentioned the futility of fighting fire with fire, instead preferring to solve hate with love.

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Presidential candidate Cory Booker listens to a member of the audience following a community forum at at the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids on Friday, February 8, 2019. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker announced his bid for President on February 1, 2019.

“We are a nation of love, not a nation of hate,” he said to a crowd at the African American Museum in Cedar Rapids. “We are a nation of decency and kindness and we are nation of civic grace.”

Booker urged for collective action among all Americans for change.

“We have common pain in this country but we’ve lost our sense of common purpose,” he said.

Marion resident and former Iowa House candidate Scott Foens said he thinks Booker’s unifying message will be critical for a presidential race. He said it could be the key toward engaging more moderate voters in valuable swing states like Florida.

“What Booker also brings to the table is a breadth of experience and in-depth understanding of some serious issues,” Foens said after Booker’s Cedar Rapids campaign rally.

Booker’s government experience includes serving as mayor of Newark, New Jersey from 2006 to 2013 and as U.S. senator since 2013.

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Presidential candidate Cory Booker receives a tour of the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids before a community forum on Friday, February 8, 2019. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker announced his bid for President on February 1, 2019.

RELATED: Cory Booker set to visit Iowa City Feb. 8 after announcing presidential bid

Judy Goldberg of Cedar Rapids said she enjoyed Booker’s versatile message on a plethora of topics.

“I liked that he was so personable with the audience. He seemed very sincere and passionate – it got me fired up,” she said.

In Iowa City, Booker spoke to a packed living room inside of a supporter’s home. He outlined his support of a universal health care system and said he hopes to provide a “baby bond” or savings account with about $1,000 to newborns in order to fight wealth inequality in the U.S.

Booker discussed a series of issues relevant to the Waterloo community with a panel of local  leaders Friday afternoon. Booker emphasized the immorality of rising prescription drug prices and said that if he becomes U.S. president, he will make sure that the bills he introduced on the issue become law.

He said this would include establishing a consequence for prescription drug companies, such as losing a patent, that raise their drug prices above a limit.

“We cannot live in a country where people are putting aside their health and ultimately getting sicker and sicker because of this crisis and our failure to act,” Booker said to the crowd of about 80 in Waterloo.

RELATED: Cory Booker calls on Iowa Democratic Party to keep the moral high ground ahead of midterms


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