DAVENPORT -- Democratic Sen. Cory Booker said he can bring the change America needs.
Appearing before a crowd of nearly 400 people at the River Center Sunday night, Booker entered to a raucous standing ovation.
After an introduction by Iowa State Rep. Phyllis Thede, D-Davenport, who briefly stumbled on the stage, Booker joked it was about time a politician fell for him.
With a giant Iowa state flag hanging behind him, and people in the crowd holding "Iowa for Cory Booker" signs, Booker took aim at President Trump.
"We can't allow this election to be about one person and one office," Booker said. "It's not about what we are against; it has to be about what we are for. This election is about uniting Americans.
"The power of the people is always more powerful than the people in power," Booker said.
Booker was elected as the first African-American from New Jersey to the U.S. Senate in 2013. He was mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013.
Booker chose Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month, to announce his bid for the presidency.
"I'm here because of America. We drink deeply from wells that we did not dig," Booker said. "American history is a testimony to the achievement of the impossible.
Following stops in Ames and Waterloo, Booker told supporters in Davenport he has roots in Iowa. His maternal grandmother grew up in Buxton, Iowa, and Booker is very familiar with the state.
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"There is a history in this state showing that when good people come together across racial lines, across religious lines, dedicating themselves to the prospect that all men and women are created equal; that's what makes change happen," Booker said.
"Here I am, a descendant from a mining town in Iowa. When we come together in common cause, there isn't anything we can't do."
Booker, 49, graduated from Stanford University and Yale Law School. After years of helping tenants fight slumlords through his law practice, Booker went on to become the first African-American mayor of Newark.
Booker spoke with the effortless and soaring rhetoric of a preacher, giving a 30-minute pitch to voters on the principles that will make him the best Democratic nominee. He spent another half-hour plus taking questions from people in the room.
Kari Dugan, parent of a special education student in the Davenport School District, noted the district was under sanction because of its treatment of special education and minority students and asked what Booker will do to help special ed funding if he is elected president.
Booker said if he is elected president, he will increase funding for special education.
"Right now funding for special ed is about 18 percent. I've read a lot about the Davenport public education system. The funding formula is really hurting Davenport schools. In my presidency - and I'm going to fight for this through Congress - is fully fund special education," he said.
"Beautiful children with limitless potential who have special needs are suffering because schools are struggling to find resources for them. The Department of Education was formed for the purpose of equity."
Booker said he is proud to reject donations from corporations and federal lobbyists.
Appealing to the tech generation, he is encouraging supporters to follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information, visit corybooker.com.