Guest post from State Representative Heather Matson of Ankeny.
As a state legislator, and as an Iowa caucus-goer, I have been privileged to meet and get to know several of our Democratic presidential candidates. I first met Cory Booker last fall while he campaigned for Democratic candidates here in Iowa.
During his events, as well as the multiple conversations we’ve had over the last several months, I have been struck by his thoughtfulness and attention to detail. I have noticed how often he asks Iowans for their opinions and how intently he listens to our ideas. I’ve realized that Cory lives the values he espouses – that if we truly want to heal the division in our country, we must be bold on policy but also speak with kindness and, as Cory says, radical love and courageous empathy, that seeks understanding.
Cory Booker leads with passion, honesty, and a commitment to civic grace at a time when we need to be reminded of who we can be as a country. I support Cory because he inspires me to rise to the challenges we face as a nation, and I think he is the candidate who will inspire Americans to believe in each other again.
We have many challenges and Cory has proposals that can make a real impact on the lives of all Americans. Given his executive experience as the mayor of Newark, Cory understands that we need to be committed to fighting for big ideas while also recognizing that we can’t allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good when it comes to solving urgent problems.
Name an issue and Cory has a plan (just to name a few).
Health care as a human right – Cory will fight to ensure a strong public option as we work toward the ultimate goal of universal health care.
Strong public education – a commitment to appointing someone who has been a public school teacher as Secretary of Education.
Solving climate change – ensuring all policies, from trade agreements to infrastructure projects, are considered through a “green lens”, which he started doing as mayor. Cory has been recognized by Greenpeace as one of the top 2 candidates on the environment.
There are two specific issues that have really resonated with me that I want to address in greater detail.
For too long, we have been reeling from an epidemic of gun violence in communities across our country. Enough. I am tired of inaction and false arguments about what we can or can’t do to solve a problem. As a mom, I am terrified of what may happen when my kids go to school, or quite frankly, what could happen when we go shopping or go to a movie or a concert.
Back in May, Cory offered the most sweeping gun violence prevention proposal of all the candidates that not only deals with common sense measures like background checks and closing loopholes, but also licensing, holding manufacturers accountable, reporting stolen firearms, and investing in community-based intervention programs to support those who have been devastated by gun violence and will also help local law enforcement adopt new technologies that will combat gun violence. We have to be in this together.
Fighting for economic security is also critical. About 40% of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency. And the truth is, for many Americans, it is exceptionally hard to save and often impossible to build wealth over generations. We need to talk about how there is a growing racial wealth gap in our country. The median white family holds nearly 10 times the wealth of the median black family.
Cory’s baby bonds proposal would help low income Americans build wealth by creating an account for each baby and depositing $1,000 at birth. Through the tax code, up to $2,000 would be deposited annually, depending on family income. Account holders couldn’t access the funds until age 18 and the money can only be used for wealth generating expenses like education and home ownership.
When we talk about ensuring that Americans have the tools they need to get ahead, this is a real, concrete action that will make a big difference in the lives of those who need help getting up the ladder.
I agree with Cory — that we don’t defeat Donald Trump by fighting on his turf. We don’t defeat hate with more hate.
Let’s be clear, this will be a difficult election.
But as I campaigned for the Legislature, and as I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many Iowans, it has always been clear to me that what Iowans want most is honesty and hope for a better life for themselves and their kids. We will defeat Trump when we stand strong on our issues and call upon each other to believe in what is possible when we believe in each other.
Finally, Cory knows that this election is about more than one office. He is committed to supporting Democrats up and down the ticket and investing in winning back state legislatures. In 2018, Cory went above and beyond in supporting our Iowa candidates down the ballot by showing up for events and directing financial resources to our candidates, so this is nothing new for him. We need a presidential candidate who empowers and supports great candidates at all levels of government because that is how we make real change in Iowa and across the country.
We have big challenges but we also have big opportunities. I want to believe in something more and that’s why I support Cory Booker.
I hope you will join me.
by State Representative Heather Matson