NATHAN STEPHANY, KV NEWS DIRECTOR
Sen. Kamala Harris held a town hall event in Waterloo on Friday, Sept. 20 for the second time since beginning the presidential campaign in January 2019.
“Iowa has a long tradition and history of expecting that candidates spend time here and that folks get to know you,” Harris said. “I am prepared to make that investment.”
Harris was introduced by Quentin Hart, mayor of Waterloo. Hart took the opportunity to list qualities he looked for when candidates visit Waterloo on the campaign trail.
“Number one, I’d like to ask and see this person or candidate willing to stand for our middle class workers and fight for better wages,” Hart said.
Hart next addressed the senator’s history of working as a prosecutor and fighting to improve conditions for residents of California, Harris’ homestate.
Fighting continued to be a theme throughout the speech. “There is nothing we have ever gained by way of progress as a country without a good fight,” Harris said. “We are up for a good fight. We were born for a good fight.”
Throughout, the senator addressed many of the election platform’s points, including climate change, healthcare reform and gun law reform. Harris finished with hopes that the people who attended the town hall would be standing in her corner on caucus night in Iowa on Feb. 3, 2020.
“I think we all know this is a moment in time when we are each being asked and are required to look into a mirror to ask the question, ‘Who are we?’” Harris said. “I think part of the answer is that we are better than this.”
Recent polls have shown Harris’s numbers are on a steady downturn since peaking after the June Democratic debates, according to CNN.
Yet the senator showed nothing but confidence in front of supporters and made the case for why she should be the Democratic nominee to face off with likely Republican nominee, President Trump.
“Remember what I said about registering to vote, I want to make sure that everyone is registered,” Vikki Brown, chair of the Black Hawk County Democrats, said to the crowd prior to Harris’ remarks. “Your vote is your voice.”
The afternoon event attracted people from surrounding communities, some of whom received the chance to ask the senator questions or voice
“I am both an ACE’s and a Me Too survivor so I fight like hell at the local level to get better healthcare for not only women and children but also boys and men,” Priscilla Nieman, a Waterloo resident, said. “And it is a rough, endless fight.”
Others have taken the chance to actively volunteer for the Harris campaign, such as Henry Hicks, who has spent the last several months working as a field organizer for the campaign’s Waterloo office. Hicks, the youngest of the event’s speakers, told the crowd that Harris reminded him of his mother who was a public school teacher.
“One time, she [his mother] found out one of her students was sleeping on the floor,” Hicks said. “Our mom woke us up this morning, told us to break apart our beds, got us in the car, drove across town and put the beds back
together so that her students could have a place to sleep at night. All this is to say that teachers are really a pillar in our community.”
Harris was not the only Democratic presidential candidate in the state that weekend. Nine other candidates joined Harris in Cedar Rapids the next day at a forum dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues, according to USA Today.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg also appeared in Waterloo over the weekend and spoke to a large crowd in the rain on the riverfront. Harris announced doubling her campaign’s presence in Iowa before the February caucuses.
For more information on the candidates or the upcoming election, go to ballotpedia.org.