Cory Booker vows to meet every Iowan he can in presidential bid

    Sen. Cory Booker speaks to Iowans at the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids on Friday, February 8, 2019.

    It might not sit well with his staff trying to keep a schedule, but they do the best they can. Some even call it "selfie time," the period after an event where Senator Cory Booker, now a candidate for president, meets just about everyone he can to take a picture.

    Sen. Booker, the Democrat from New Jersey, is also a former Mayor of Newark. Long believed to be a candidate for President in 2020, Booker made it official in recent days and wasted little time getting to Iowa, with stops in Mason City, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City on Friday. Booker is no stranger to Iowa. He has a lot of family members in the Hawkeye State. He often speaks of his grandmother, who was among the family members who came to Iowa from segregated Alabama generations ago.

    Speaking before a packed ground of at least 150 in Cedar Rapids, Sen. Booker shared his personal story, about the people who helped his family escape the scourge of discrimination. He also took questions from local leaders and from the audience. Booker is widely considered among the better known candidates and in the already crowded Democratic field for 2020, but says his mission goes far beyond that. Booker told reporters after the event he's here to win a race and defeat the eventual Republican nominee, but he must also reach across the aisle now and after the election in order to prove that common ground can be found. Booker pointed out to the crowd his work to pass bipartisan legislation on criminal justice reform with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.

    Now, he's taking his message to the towns and coffee shops of Iowa. And despite the national stature he's already earned, he vows to make everyone who wants to talk to him feel that personal connection.

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