DES MOINES, Iowa -- About 500 Democrats filled the Des Moines Social Club Saturday afternoon to hear Sen. Cory Booker speak, a 2020 presidential candidate who has family from this very state.
"As much as my story is all about New Jersey, the reality is my roots are right here in Des Moines," Booker said.
The senator spoke on housing inequality and health care for all, but his main point of focus in Des Moines was about coming together over common ground.
"The larger call is not just how we beat Republicans, but how you unite all Americans in the cause of our country,” Booker said.
Booker made sure to keep things upbeat.
"Oh gosh, more candidates talking about love and hope. How are you going to beat Donald Trump with that,” Booker said. “Let me tell you, I may have been known to hug some folk. I may be a little bit of a hugger."
Local political leaders had a chance to ask Booker a few questions as well.
"How do you set yourself apart when it's such a crowded field?” said Kristin Sunde, State Representative for House District 42.
“Hair cut, I think might be one of them,” Booker responded. But all jokes aside, he says it's his experience in running something, as a past mayor in New Jersey.
"I was a mayor during a very difficult time in America,” Booker said. “I was running a city during a recession, and when a country has a recession, inner cities have depression-like circumstances. I had to turn that city around at a time when people were giving up on Newark."
Sen. Booker strayed away from conversations about the Green New Deal, though he did speak about it in earlier stops in Iowa. He finished his Des Moines trip like all the rest, with selfie, after selfie.