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Presidential candidate Cory Booker talks gun violence & eyeing to win competitive WI

MILWAUKEE (WKOW) — Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker held a roundtable discussion in Milwaukee listening to those affected by gun violence.

He hosted an event at “Coffee Makes You Black” taking turns listening to personal stories and taking questions from the crowd on his views to tackle a nationwide gun violence problem. The New Jersey Senator said his overall message on how to address the problem is to get involved.

“This problem cannot be solved unless we begin to listen to the many different voices,” said Booker. “From our veterans committing suicide at rates that are unacceptable that literally (our county) sings songs we are the home of the brave and then they come home — they don’t find one.”

The presidential hopeful also believes there’s too much focus on the NRA and their agenda but told the crowd to instead look for the root causes of gun violence.

“Curbing gun violence cannot just be solved in Congress,” he said.

Booker encouraged residents from all types of communicating to come together to start a movement, similar to Parkland Florida after a mass shooting killed 17 and wounded several others.

2020 impact in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin is being labeled ground zero for 2020 as many Democratic hopefuls continue to visit the dairy state to campaign. So far, four other Democratic contenders visited Wisconsin; Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and former congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro recently made trips.

Booker said it’s a state that he’ll be visiting “a lot” as we inch closer to 2020.

“I believe there’s no pathway to the nomination without coming through this state,” said Booker.

It’s a message strategists have said could have cost then-candidate Hillary Clinton to lose Wisconsin after she did not visit the state leading up to 2016 election. President Donald Trump won the state narrowly by nearly 23,000 votes.

The 49-year-old New Jersey Senator told people in Milwaukee Democrats are committed to winning this battleground state that had three tight presidential elections in 2000, 2004 and 2016, all election won by less than one percentage point.

“By prioritizing this state, talking to voters like farmers to people live in an inter-cities this is a state that’s going to be critical for winning the nomination and when I’m in the general I’m going to treat it like that,” said Booker.

Wisconsin Democrats are regrouping after conservative-backed candidate Brain Hagedorn narrowly won a statewide race for the state supreme court. It was the end of the party’s celebration after Democratic candidates won all races for state office in 2018 and beating incumbent Scott Walker.

“I believe I can be the candidate that can excite and energize Wisconsin voters,” said Booker. “These communities in Wisconsin are a home based to me (as) I’ve been serving and leading in communities like this.”

Booker said he plans to be back in the state leading up to 2020 elections. He also won’t be the only presidential candidate in town this weekend with President Trump scheduled to host a rally on Saturday in Green Bay.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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