BY COLIN MAGNESUN
Radio Keokuk News Director
KEOKUK – On first impression, one might wonder what kind of connection a United States Senator from New Jersey could possibly have to the State of Iowa.
The junior senator played college football at Stanford University and has spent the last six years serving in Washington D.C. So how did Cory Booker plan to connect with potential voters Saturday in Keokuk as he made his push to secure the 2020 Democratic nomination for president?
Well, Booker led off by explaining to the roughly 150 people in attendance at The Lost Canvas Coffee Shop that the story of his roots is tied to Iowa.
“When I first came to your state, as a little boy it was in an RV. My grand-mother was from Des Moines. She was born and raised here. I have a lot of family that emigrated here from Alabama in the late 1800’s to be coal miners in Buxton, Iowa.” Booker said.
After making his introductions explaining that he feels Iowa is a model state for showing how people can work together, Booker began to highlight what he feels is the correct course for the country.
A common theme for the senator Saturday called on his fellow Democrats to not only focus on defeating Donald Trump in 2020, but to aspire to higher dreams as a nation.
“We’ve got to think bigger than this just hey this election is just about beating Donald Trump, getting one guy out of office. No. This has got to be about something bigger because a lot of our problems have been going on since long before Donald Trump was elected. “
Booker did not, however, shy away from the fact that his baseline goal is to reclaim the White House.
“I agree that the fundamental floor has got to be, ‘Can you beat Donald Trump.’ But that can’t end our aspirations. We are bigger dreamers and bigger thinkers than that.”
The main policy points for Booker came in the form of healthcare for all, bringing forth an era of less gun violence, strengthened unions, and creating an educational environment that gives youth a better chance to learn.
After speaking for 20 minutes, Booker walked around and talked with several people and he was questioned on that final point of his speech by a young girl wanting to know about his future.
Vivian Rairden is a Kahoka, Missouri native who is about to finish 3rd grade and she brought up education as soon as Cory Booker was done speaking.
“I asked him, ‘What are your plans for education?’ He said his biggest priority is to make sure the teachers are taken care of so that they can help us succeed,” she said.
Joining Booker at The Lost Canvas Saturday was Iowa District 2 Congressman Dave Loebsack. The legislator, who is set to retire in 2020, said, while he had not worked with Cory Booker during their time in D.C., he felt the Senator was a strong candidate for the Democrats.
“I do think he has a great message, actually,” Loebsack said. “I think there are a lot of people here who have been struggling, as you know, for a long time. And they really need someone who is gonna be talking about hope and about getting us together and getting rid of these divisions that we have in this country. I have not endorsed but I think a lot of them are going to do a great job.”
Booker left after just more than an hour of conversation and dozens of selfies. He closed out his RV tour through Iowa Monday with a Memorial Day barbecue at his state campaign headquarters in Des Moines.