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Cory Booker takes campaign tour to Las Vegas’ Historic Westside

Updated April 20, 2019 - 8:31 pm

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker’s commitment to his mother was enough to get 78-year-old Minnette Griffin’s vote on Saturday at the True Love Missionary Baptist Church in Las Vegas’ Historic Westside.

After hearing Booker’s remarks, Griffin said she felt better as a senior citizen.

“You’ve got a mother that you love, so the senior citizens — we’re OK today,” she said, laughing.

The Democratic presidential candidate’s visit to the church was the first stop of the final day of his “Justice for All” tour in Nevada. He also made stops at the Mirabelli Community Center and a local barbershop — talking about education, health care and love along the way.

At True Love, members of the congregation stressed concern over health care costs and improving the state of Nevada’s public education.

Booker supports lowering the age eligibility for Medicare to 55, an idea previously floated in Congress.

But he also calmed concern that Medicare for all may take away Social Security benefits — noting his commitment to his 79-year-old mother, who lives in Vegas.

“You will have the power of saying to people who give you mess like that, ‘Cory Booker’s going to be president of the United States, there’s no way he’s going to let his mama lose her Social Security,’” he said, drawing laughter from the congregation.

Supporting schools

He also stressed the need to boost money for education, noting Nevada’s poor ranking in education funding.

“Our schools need more resources,” he said. “I’m going to up the funding for our schools for special needs kids, which is going to give it more resources.”

His message of love and coming together as a nation contrasted starkly with threatening voicemails left for Booker and two other Democratic members of Congress, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.

A Florida man was arrested Friday in connection with the voicemails. John Kless, 49, is accused of hurling racial slurs and threats at Booker in a voicemail left on Tuesday, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in Florida.

A stop at the barber shop

At the Hair Unlimited barber shop, men getting their beards trimmed and hair cut before Easter Sunday listened to Booker’s ideas for criminal justice reform.

Throughout the day, Booker still did not commit to pushing for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, despite questions from frustrated voters.

“There are Democrats who are very weary about using the “I” word, much less moving in that direction,” Gloria Corder, a lifelong Democrat, told Booker at the community center. “My worry is that the Democrats are putting too much hope in winning an election.”

Booker stated again that he wants to see the unredacted report from special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation concluded that Trump did not collude with Russia over the 2016 election but still provided damaging insight into Trump’s presidency.

“I know a lot of people are ready to impeach, but I’m a guy that believes that this is not a partisan issue,” he said. “We need to follow a process to come to that conclusion.”

In a statement, the Republican National Committee criticized Booker’s campaign and said he is failing to accept the results of an investigation he supported.

“Cory ‘Spartacus’ Booker makes his way through Nevada in typical fringe Democrat fashion with nothing but pledges to cripple our nations economy with his agenda of government-run healthcare and skyrocketing taxes,” regional communications director Christiana Purves wrote in a statement.

Booker faces a crowded field of potential Democratic candidates, with a recent Emerson College poll showing potential candidate Vice President Joe Biden leading the field followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Still, Booker said he’s excited about having a vibrant debate over the coming year.

“We’re still a very long way from the first votes being cast, and I think it’s going to be a really wonderful debate and I’m looking forward to that,” he said.

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

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