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Democratic presidential candidate Castro visits Tri-States

KEOKUK (WGEM) — Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro was in Keokuk Monday for a meet and greet hosted by the Lee County Democrats.

Castro spoke just after 11 a.m. to a full house at the Keokuk Labor Temple.

Castro said communities like Keokuk often feel left behind by lawmakers in Washington.

He said he was grateful to join Keokuk residents Monday, “to talk about how we can improve education, extend access to quality health care, and seriously address climate change.”

Castro said his goal is to make the U.S. the, “smartest, fairest, healthiest nation on Earth.”

He says policies such as police reform, increased access to education, raising the minimum wage and addressing climate change are the best way to get there

“Gonna be the smartest nation on earth and we know that we need to be because jobs require more skill and knowledge than ever before. All types of jobs. It means we need to start early with universal Pre-k for 3 and 4 year-olds. It means that we need to invest in K-12 education by paying teachers what they deserve,” said Castro.

Castro said his experience as mayor of San Antonio and his time in the Obama White House makes him the best choice to unseat President Donald Trump.

With a focus on healthcare, Castro also said Medicare should be available for all who want it and that American’s should be able to keep their own doctor if they want.

Castro added that it’s important to distinguish between physical healthcare and mental healthcare and provide adequately for both.

Amy Johnson said she wanted to hear about Castro’s plans for making education more accessible.

Johnson is a teacher at Hawthorne Elementary, who wants to go back to school for her master’s degree.

“You can always improve your skill set. You can always learn more. So, you can give more and I think most teachers I know, every teacher I know, wants to do that,” Johnson said.

But, she says it’s a lofty goal for a single mother working three jobs.

“I can’t do that. I have to make a choice. Is it going to be my education or theirs? And right now it has to be theirs. It just has to be.”

It wasn’t just democrats that attended the event. Mark Connour said he identifies more as a Republican.

Connour says he’s tired of partisan politics keeping lawmakers from common sense solutions.

“You know now anymore, we just see our politicians not working, not crossing the aisle, not being bipartisan.”

Johnson says it gives her hope knowing people are still looking to work together.

“It made me feel good. It made me like we are as a nation, wanting to come together figure stuff out, because something has got to be done,” said Johnson.

Prior to announcing his presidential run in January, Castro served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President Barack Obama from 2014-2017.

Before serving in the Cabinet, Secretary Castro was the mayor of his native San Antonio, Texas. He was the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American city at the time.

In 2018, Castro founded Opportunity First, an organization created to invest in the next generation of progressive leaders across the country.

This marks the second time this year a democratic presidential candidate has made a stop in Keokuk. In March Beto O’Rourke addressed a crowd at the Lost Canvas coffee shop in Keokuk.

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Jim Roberts

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