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Elizabeth Warren addresses girl's concerns about school shootings at Iowa City stop

Crowd estimated at 2,000 hears senator in Iowa City

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic candidate for president, speaks Thursday evening at an Iowa City town hall at the University of Iowa Memorial Union River Amphitheater. The crowd the saw her was estimated at 2,000, her largest in the state to date. This is the Massachusetts senator’s 12th trip to Iowa since January. (B.A. Morelli/The Gazette)
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic candidate for president, speaks Thursday evening at an Iowa City town hall at the University of Iowa Memorial Union River Amphitheater. The crowd the saw her was estimated at 2,000, her largest in the state to date. This is the Massachusetts senator’s 12th trip to Iowa since January. (B.A. Morelli/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Six-year-old Avery Brower had practiced a question all day in case she met 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren at her rally on the University of Iowa campus Thursday evening.

It is a question on the minds of many voters: What will candidates do to keep people safe from mass shootings and gun violence?

Avery, with mom Mary Eakins of Iowa City by her side, got her moment as one of the first on the line to take selfies with the Massachusetts senator.

“The election of Donald Trump shows we clearly have a problem with education,” Avery had rehearsed. “What will you do to improve education, and how will you keep me safe at school?”

Warren gave the Cliffs Notes’ version of her plan to invest in education and reduce gun deaths by 80 percent through executive action and education.

During her hourlong rally outside the Iowa Memorial Union, Warren also faced a question about her plan to protect communities and diverse populations from violence at the hands of white nationalists.

“White nationalism is a domestic terrorist threat, and we need a justice department that investigates and that prosecutes,” Warren said. “It is critical to our survival going forward. That is where we start.”

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She said “there is a race problem” rooted in an economic problem, social problem, environmental justice problem, criminal justice problem and health care problem.

“It is not enough to pretend that as long as we write neutral law that somehow racial injustices and inequities and bigotry will disappear,” she said.

This was Warren’s 12th trip to Iowa since January and, according to her campaign, she took her 60,000th selfie during the stop.

Organizers estimated a crowd of 2,000 people Thursday, saying it was her largest yet in Iowa.

Warren on Friday is expected to tour Golfview Mobile Home Park, where she attempted to intervene earlier this year on soaring rents; a house party in Mount Vernon; and then the LGBTQ Presidential Candidate Forum at 7 p.m. at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

Wendy Labinger and Chris Carman, 66, both of Iowa City, said they came to the event undecided — interested in Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, among others, but left firmly in Warren’s corner.

“She makes her ideas, her plans, very clear,” Labinger said. “I love her energy, and I feel I can trust her.”

They also said they believe she offers “hope” and could take on Trump in a debate

Barbara Hughes, a self-described baby boomer who recently relocated from Colorado to Iowa City, said at this point Warren is her top candidate. She brings a new energy and vibrancy, which she likes, but she still wants more details, particularly on climate change.

“Nothing else matters beyond climate change,” Hughes said. “I think she needs to answer what she will do and when, and how fast she’ll do it. The clock is ticking.”

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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