SIOUX CITY -- Citing her past experience as a prosecutor, Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris laid out a "rap sheet" of evidence the Trump administration is working against the needs of working class Americans during her first campaign stop in Sioux City.
"The task before us is to prosecute the case against four more years of Donald Trump, and I'm prepared to do that," Harris told a standing-room audience at a predominantly African-American church Friday.
Before winning her first term as U.S. senator in 2016, Harris served as California's attorney general. In that role, she led the second largest team of attorneys in the nation, behind only the U.S. Attorney General's office.
As a prosecutor, Harris said she took on predators, including pharmaceutical companies "who preyed on seniors."
"I know predators, and we have a predator in the White House," Harris said. "Predators, by their nature, identify and prey on those who are vulnerable...on those who need help. Predators are cowards."
Harris said "the evidence" Trump is preying on vulnerable people includes that he campaigned on the theme of Make America Great Again, but then signed into law a tax cut bill that overwhelmingly aided large corporations.
Harris said her priorities lie in setting a more favorable tax code for working people, boosting pay for teachers, including by $12,200 in Iowa, and passing gun control measures to forestall "the worst human tragedies." She said as president she would give federal lawmakers 100 days to put forth a gun control bill, and if that didn't happen Harris plans to use executive powers for such steps as banning importation of assault weapons from foreign countries.
Harris, the child of an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father, spoke to 150 people at New Life in Christ Church of God in Christ, 2929 W. Fourth St.
“I was raised in the church, to know that faith is a verb," she said.
Harris appeared with her husband, Doug Emhoff, and sister Maya Harris, and her husband, Tony West. For the last portion of her 50-minute event, Harris took four questions from the crowd.
Harris also addressed the tariffs Trump has put in place on China, impacting Iowa farmers. She said soybeans have rotted while waiting in Iowa storage bins as producers wait for better markets, and "now China is going to Brazil to buy their soybeans."
She slammed Trump for engaging "in trade policy by tweet, informed by ego."
Wrapping up her remarks, she said, "We are gonna win this, guys. We are gonna win. It will not be easy. This is 2020, not 2016, and people are woke.”
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Harris is one of the top polling candidates in a field of more than 20 Democrats. Other campaign news was made as Harris was holding her city event, when her team announced bringing in $12 million in fundraising over the three-month quarter through June, with that total coming from about 279,000 people.
Carol Jensen, of Sioux City, is avidly watching the presidential field, and previously saw Elizabeth Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts who was the first Democrat to campaign in Sioux City in January.
"After hearing (Harris) today, I'm putting her at the top of my list," Jensen said. "A lot of it is her passion, she truly believes in what she is talking about."
Jim Anderson, of Le Mars, Iowa, said he liked how Harris several times Friday spoke against the U.S. practice of separating migrant children from their parents at the US-Mexican border.
"We have a president who is taking them from families, locking them up...Kamala Harris is somebody you can tell your children, look up to her," Anderson said.
Republican National Committee spokesman Preya Samsundar in a statement to the Journal said, "The fact remains, President Trump has delivered for Iowans while Senator Harris wants to deliver for illegal immigrants."
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The church was set in nine rows with seats to hold 115 people, and 35 more people were brought in to stand along the sides midway through the event. Many more signed up to attend the event and, 30 minutes before the starting time, walked down a hill toward their vehicles, as they were unable to get inside.
Some audibly complained about being turned away walking up the hill. Ann Doelllinger, of Sioux City, said she had wanted to see Harris in person. Doellinger said organizers announced people were welcome to stand in the church yard and hear the speech via speakers, but she said, "No way."
"I'm disappointed. I hope to see (Harris) sometime in a larger venue," Doellinger said.
At that same time, with the people who could fit in the church already seated, Harris came outside to speak to others outside the front door.
"I will be back here in Sioux City and we will spend more time," Harris said.
One day earlier, Harris chose an outdoor picnic venue in Council Bluffs, as part of her Iowa swing to reach people that overlapped with the Fourth of July holiday.