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Gillibrand visit

Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand looks at and later signs a copy of the book "Bold and Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote" that she authored on Saturday at Cabin coffee in Mason City. The book belonged to Violet Poulter of Nora Springs, who was there with her family. Her father, Tyler, looks on.

Kirsten Gillibrand comes by her passion for politics naturally.

When she was a young girl growing up in New York, Gillibrand said her grandmother recognized that men held all of the power and decided to run for office because of it.

Gillibrand's course was set.

The Democratic presidential hopeful was in Mason City on Saturday talking about why she is the best candidate to knock Donald Trump out of office in 2020.

"I grew up with a lot of powerful women," Gillibrand said to a full house at Cabin Coffee. "I won races in a place that was predominantly red. The men never took me seriously. I can win in red places."

Gillibrand has been serving as the junior U.S. senator from New York since 2009. She was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2009.

The presidential hopeful said she can win the Democratic nomination and go on to defeat Trump because she talks to everyone, listens to everyone and serves everyone.

She said the current administration has done just the opposite.

"I can bring this country together," she said. "President Trump has pitted us against one another. He actually punches down. Our president is a coward. This country needs a president who is brave."

Gillibrand is running on a platform that would make universal health care a reality, take action on climate change and protect voting rights and the integrity of elections. 

When someone in the crowd of about 65 people asked about climate change and why it wasn't "the" priority of her campaign, she vowed to switch it up on her website and make it a key part of her campaign.

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"It is my number one priority," Gillibrand said. "If we don't take care of it immediately, a lot of bad things are going to happen."

Gillibrand said she is pushing "net-zero carbon" now so in the next decade, the message will resonate. 

She likened her platform on the climate to John F. Kennedy's push to put a man on the moon. She said it took a decade to happen back then, but it happened.

"He made that his goal and I want to do the same with net-zero carbon," she said. "It will take strong leadership to get that result."

When asked about her plan for rural communities in Iowa and across the nation, Gillibrand talked about her 12 years of service on the agriculture committee both in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

Gillibrand said she is committed to seeing rural communities in Iowa and the U.S. grow.

"I will push for fair pay for farmers and make sure they are represented," she said.  

Gillibrand is also campaigning to fix the broken criminal justice system in America and also to end institutional racism. She said despite the progress we've made on civil rights, institutional racism still persists in our economy.

Gillibrand ended her time at Cabin Coffee by saying she would be back to Iowa a lot this summer and throughout the campaign. She said her family is renting an RV and will travel all across Iowa spreading her message.

"I will return power to the people when I'm elected president," she said. "I will do the right thing, even if it is hard."

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Jerry Smith is the Special Projects Editor for the Globe Gazette. He can be reached at 641-421-0556.

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