SOLON — You could say it was serendipity that brought Silas Garcia and Kate Maas to a house party for U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Tuesday afternoon.
Garcia was mowing the lawn next door when he saw the Tulsi 2020 signs going up.
“So I guess I’m taking a late lunch,” Garcia said while waiting in Paul Julius’ Lake Macbride backyard.
He’s interested in the Hawaiian congresswoman because he sees her as “classically liberal ... more moderate and at least willing to listen to the other side, to engage other viewpoints.”
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Maas, who lives in Omaha, was visiting a friend in Iowa City when she saw the Gabbard event on social media and decided to run up to rural Solon, where she joined about 25 others who heard the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful.
“She really spoke to me” in the last debate, Maas said. Gabbard’s military service — she has been a member of the Hawaii National Guard for 16 years and deployed to the Mideast twice — impressed Maas. On a personal level, Maas appreciates Gabbard’s plans to lower the cost of prescription drugs, and as a health care worker, she sees the need to address opioid addiction.
Gabbard, 38, and now-Sen. Tammy Duckworth were the first female combat veterans elected to Congress, and Gabbard and is the first female combat veteran to run for president. She spent much of her time talking about the cost of war.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that motivated her to join the National Guard, Americans have spent more than $6 billion on “regime change wars” that Gabbard said have undermined United States’ national security interests by strengthening ISIS and al-Qaida.
Although foreign policy isn’t polling well, Gabbard said the cost of war and the cost of the Trump administration’s foreign policy “is directly connected to every top-of-mind issue — health care, education, the environment, infrastructure, and tax and trade” because they don’t leave enough funding to address those priorities.