Cory Booker talks new rural revitalization plan

Sen. Cory Booker speaks to potential Iowa caucusgoers Nov. 10 at Torrent Brewing Company in Ames. The then-presidential candidate discussed his plan to empower small towns and rural communities.

Mallory Tope

Sen. Cory Booker spoke Sunday at Torrent Brewing Company in Ames to a crowd gathered to hear him speak about his newly released plan to empower small-town and rural Iowa.

“I think Booker has the qualification, he has everything thought out and planned out; I don’t get why his candidacy isn’t being taken more seriously,” said Arvid Osterberg, professor of architecture.

Amber Corrieri, at-large member of the Ames City Council, and Ted Rasmusson, Story County treasurer, asked Booker questions about his plan.

Booker’s new plan offers multiple solutions: investing federal resources in communities that need them, empowering local communities to shape their futures, reimagining rural transit, business growth and fixing local economies. 

Rasmusson brought up affordable homes and low income taxes especially for smaller communities.

“Renters should be able to afford to live in the communities they want to live in,” Booker said. “I propose a refundable tax credit to renters that [spend] more than one-third of their income in rent.”

Booker also discussed a policy proposal to help pay for education for young Americans. The policy would give every American child money in an interest-based savings account and each year more money would be placed into that account based on their parents’ income.

“When a child has an account like that their chances of going to college goes up 400 percent,” Booker said. 

Booker spoke on his ideas and policies of local leaders and smaller towns. 

“A lot of our plan is about shifting resources back to the local level,” Booker said. “If we can have flexible federal funds, local leaders can design strategies that actually make the biggest impact in their community.”

The floor was opened to questions for Booker from those attending the event. Topics of criminal justice, health care and how Booker plans to work with Congress were brought up by some of those present.

“I am the only person in this race that has been an executive of a big city and has been a […] senator that has gotten things done [by working] across the aisle,” Booker said.

Other candidates in the race have held executive positions in big cities, including Julián Castro, who was mayor of San Antonio.  

Booker urged those present to put the polls aside and to not make their decisions based upon the polls.

As of Sunday, Booker is polling at 1.3 percent among likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.

“Never before in the Democratic Party has someone who has been polling ahead at this point […] ever gone on to be the president of the United States,” Booker said.