Sunday evening, fifty people gathered at Kurt and Paula Meyer’s home north of Saint Ansgar to meet and hear from New Jersey Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Cory Booker. The Senator spoke about his vision for the country and the issues he would prioritize as President, and took questions from the audience.
Sen. Booker, who first rose to prominence as the young Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, from 2006 – 2013, has throughout his campaign touted his ability to bring Americans together around shared values at a divisive time in our history.
“I worry that we’re falling into a deeper tribalism in this country, where we hate each other just because we vote differently.” Booker said.
For much of the 2020 campaign cycle, Booker has tried to position himself as a unifier, placing as much emphasis on finding common values as he does on policy details.
The New Jersey Senator spoke about the need for a creative leader to unite the Democratic party as well as the nation, noting more than once how issues like climate change and health care won’t see much improvement until the country comes together to work towards solutions.
“This election isn’t a referendum on one guy in one office, it’s a referendum on who we are, and who we’re going to be to each other,” Booker said.
Sen. Booker has recently emphasized the need to help the nation’s children; prior to his four-day swing through Iowa, Booker released his plan to eliminate child poverty.
According to Booker, his plans would cut child poverty by two-thirds, with even greater results in rural America. The Booker plan says it will support working families through affordable childcare and raising wages for childcare providers. His plan also includes the largest expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, providing Americans who make less than $90,000 up to $4,000 per year.
Although multiple plans have been announced by Democratic candidates this cycle, Booker is the first candidate to outline specific steps to address child poverty.
Questions from the crowd ranged from Booker’s ideas about improving public education to restoring America’s reputation abroad.