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Presidential hopeful Cory Booker campaigns in Marshalltown

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ -Saturday afternoon, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker became the first 2020 presidential candidate to campaign in Marshalltown, when he spoke to a full house at the Iowa River Brewing Co. He focused on party unity, positive change for the country and improving the lives of everyday Americans.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker became the first 2020 presidential candidate to campaign in Marshalltown when he spoke to a full house at the Iowa River Brewing Co. Saturday afternoon. He focused on Democratic Party unity, positive change for the country and improving the lives of everyday Americans during his stop.

“People are starting to think the forces tearing us apart are stronger than the forces holding us together. I don’t believe that. I’m running for president because I want to challenge that notion,” Booker said. “I believe we are a great nation because of what we’ve done together.”

The senator has been an outspoken supporter of making improvements upon the Affordable Care Act, legalizing marijuana at the federal level and the Keep Families Together Act, which is intended to stop families from being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Booker shared stories of the first-hand racial discrimination his parents endured when going to buy their first home as an African American couple decades ago, connecting that to the progress that still needs to be made in fighting to support the rights of LGBTQ, equal pay for women and paid family leave, and an improved health care system for veterans.

“I want to talk about the issues, the ideas I have and put the best of my wit and experience before you. I want you to know my heart because my heart is hurting right now,” the senator said. “I see this common pain: opioid addiction, the price of an EpiPen going up 400 percent, working a full-time job and still not making ends meet — you’ve got more month at the end of your money than money at the end of your month.”

He told the audience assembled that no matter who wins the Democratic nomination for president, Democrats have to unite around that candidate to thwart a Republican victory.

“What are we going to do in the face of injustice? Will we yell at each other and divide or will we again but that indivisible back into this one nation under God?” Booker said.

Marshalltown was one of several stops made during Booker’s Iowa Rise Tour.

Booker has served as the junior senator from New Jersey since 2013, when he won a special election. Then on Nov. 4, 2014, he was re-elected to a full six-year term. Previously, he served as mayor of Newark for six years and once served on its city council. Booker received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University where he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and went on to study at the University of Oxford where he earned an honors degree in history. He then attended Yale Law School, receiving his J.D. in 1997.

The Iowa Caucuses are just under a year away. Booker is one of several Democratic presidential hopefuls including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former Rep. John Delaney, former West Virginia Sate Sen. Richard Ojeda and former tech executive Andrew Yang, plus many others who have formed exploratory committees or have not officially committed to running for president in 2020.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com