New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democratic Party candidate for President, spoke to a crowd of around 75 people in Phelps Park in Decorah Friday. The stop was part of a four-day visit to Iowa which also included stops in Storm Lake, Waterloo, Clear Lake and Des Moines.
Gillibrand told the crowd she first ran for Congress in 2006, when she was elected to the House in a district where Republican voters outnumbered Democratic voters 2-to-1. She was re-elected two years later despite being far outspent by an opponent running negative ads. In 2010, 2012 and 2018, she won elections for the US Senate.
She points to her experience in passing 18 bills through Congress by assembling a bipartisan coalition. She says the 2020 election is about finding the right person to lead the country in the right direction.
Those attending the event asked questions about numerous topics. Gillibrand says she favors "common sense" gun reform which includes requiring background checks and having uniform gun laws in all states. She would also ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines as "weapons of war."
Gillibrand says health care is a right, not a privilege. She would allow people to buy into Medicare coverage at a fixed percent of their annual income.
She says the 10 to 12 million immigrants already living in the United States need a pathway to citizenship and says foreign aid should be restored to countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, to give stability and reduce the number of asylum seekers heading to the United States.
Decorah resident Gerald Frank, who attended the speech, said, "I was impressed," and mentioned Gillbrand's comments about health care. Waukon resident Ann Hart, who said, "I'm looking (at candidates)," said she liked Gillibrand's speech.Clermont resident Carol Price, who worked for Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2008, said she was "inquisitive" about Gillibrand, which is why she came to the event.