Kamala Harris, Iowa Democrats emphasize importance of 2020 election during Liberty and Justice Celebration

Democratic candidates in Iowa said this election was the most important of their lifetime at the 2020 Liberty and Justice Celebration, held virtually amid COVID-19.


Ryan Adams

Candidate for Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris (D) speaks during the 2020 IDP Liberty and Justice Celebration on Sunday, October 18, 2020. Harris has served as a United States Senator for California since 2017. The live-streamed video was produced by the Iowa democratic party. (Ryan Adams/The Daily Iowan)

Brian Grace, News Reporter

U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris and Iowa Democrats running for office spoke on the importance of flipping state and federal seats in what some of them called the most important election of their lifetime during the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Liberty and Justice Celebration Sunday night.

The event, held virtually via prerecorded videos this year, featured remarks from each of Iowa’s four congressional district candidates as well as U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield interspersed with community spotlights on a small business in each district.

The Liberty and Justice Celebration Fundraiser is well-known in the state to be one of the largest Democratic Party events of the year. Last year, the event showcased dozens of Democratic presidential hopefuls to 13,000 Iowans at the Wells Fargo Arena just months before the Iowa caucuses.

Harris focused primarily on what she said were missteps by President Trump in how he handled COVID-19, saying his mishandling of the pandemic resulted in economic instability and the deaths of several hundred thousand Americans.

“While this president of course didn’t bring the virus to our shores, his reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people has claimed more than 215,000 lives,” Harris said. “This is the greatest failure of any American presidency, and make no mistake, his failure to contain this virus is what has wreaked havoc on our economy.”

Harris said the results of the Nov. 3 election could affect Americans for years to come.

“This election, more than any other in our lifetime, will affect every part of our lives with consequences that may last generations,” Harris said. “And there’s so much at stake. All at the same time, we’re experiencing the worst public health crisis in a century, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, a reckoning on racial justice…and the future of healthcare hangs on top of it all because President Trump is in the Supreme Court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.”

Harris told voters they would see improvements in industry and the economy with her and presidential candidate Joe Biden in office.

“Joe and I will invest in American manufacturing and innovation, adding millions of good-paying jobs with good benefits and the choice to join the union,” Harris said. “We’ll empower small businesses and entrepreneurs. We’ll rebuild our infrastructure and tackle climate change and we’ll reverse the disastrous trade war that has hurt our farmers, and we’ll stand with our corn growers and bolster the ethanol industry.”

Iowa Democratic candidates further down the ballot also reinforced to voters during the event that it would be important to put as many Democrats into state and federal offices as possible.

Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District incumbent Cindy Axne, like Harris, referenced the current White House administration and its role in policymaking that she said hurt Iowa residents.

“This is the most important election of our lifetime,” Axne said. “We have seen too much damage done over the last several years because of the Trump administration and the unfortunate support of it by Republican colleagues of mine and those here at the state of Iowa who’ve done everything they possibly can to support his initiatives at the expense of hard-working Iowa families.”

Rita Hart, Democratic candidate in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, said she worked across party lines in her previous role as a state Senator, and she would bring that same approach to Congress.

“Washington needs to be listening to the people who need relief right now from this pandemic,” Hart said. “It needs to listen to workers, to farmers, to small businesses, to everyone who needs relief…Washington needs to hear from all of us who are tired of corruption and politicians who put their own personal profit above public interest.”

U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield didn’t directly reference Trump or the Republican Party during the event, but said there was a lot of work to be done in Washington.

“We’re going to win this U.S. Senate seat, we’re going to take back our congressional races, and of course, we’re going to flip our state House, too.”


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