My Introduction of Sen. Klobuchar in Rural Iowa
Tanner Halleran is the chair of Keokuk County Democrats and an Iowa Caucus Project staffer. He has not endorsed a candidate in the 2020 Democratic race for president and does not intend to. He was asked to introduce Sen. Klobuchar as the chair of Keokuk County Democrats.
SIGOURNEY, Iowa — On Friday, October 18th, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar visited my hometown of Sigourney on her bus tour of Iowa. She was only the third of nineteen Democratic candidates to visit my hometown. Before Senator Klobuchar, only John Delaney and John Hickenlooper, both bottom tier candidates, had stopped. This event drew a large crowd from Keokuk County, my home county, and Jefferson, a neighboring county to the southeast.
At the event, I had the privilege of introducing Senator Klobuchar. This wasn’t my first introduction of a candidate but it was a different, unique event. Oftentimes in rural Iowa, we don’t have the luxury of large venues that candidates can host events at so we have to make do with what we have—homes, cafes, and coffee shops among other things. This event took place in the latter and made for an interesting engagement with those who attended. Every seat in the place was taken and many attendees were left standing, which truly is a bonus for publicity. In typical candidate fashion, the Senator showed up late, but I suppose it’s hard to speed and not draw attention when the large bus has your name on the side.
Before the introduction, I got to meet her briefly. Now, my introduction, in all of its glory, lasted about 45 seconds and then she took the only space that wasn’t filled with people. As a candidate, you get thrown a lot of random information and one piece that she mentioned before talking was recognizing me as the youngest county chair in the state of Iowa. Following that, she gave us her background and talked about running for office and being frugal with the little money she often had. After mentioning this, she spoke about her setting the record in the US Senate for raising the most money from ex-boyfriends; if I remember correctly, she said $17,000. Her husband remarked that they aren’t expanding the base, either.
The duration of her speaking, which went beyond a stump-speech, was about 30 minutes followed by questions from those in the crowd. The questions were unique and luckily for us, Sen. Klobuchar provided in-depth answers compared to often standard short answers. Because of this, she only got to answer three or four questions and then it was time for pictures. Naturally, I had to get my picture and so, after waiting, I finally got a few shots — including the very candid one shown.
Overall, the event was about 75 minutes and from it, she proved her commitment to rural Iowans who oftentimes feel as though they are being left behind. Too often, presidential candidates talk big and inclusive but fail to have their actions align with their words. By stopping in rural Iowa, especially in my county of approximately 10,000 people, she is doing far more than other top or middle-tier candidates. This is something that many Iowans should be grateful for no matter if they support her or not.