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CEDAR FALLS — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand from New York made her first visit to Cedar Falls on Saturday as a Democratic presidential candidate.

She spoke to a group of about 10 people at Scratch Cupcakery in Cedar Falls before taking a stroll down Main Street.

She covered a variety of topics, including funding special education, making the immigration process easier for asylum-seekers and expanding Medicare.

“I take on the special interests. I take on the systems in positions of power that other people won’t,” she said. “I’ve stood up to the Pentagon twice, first over ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and then over sexual violence in the military.”

Gillibrand said she is not taking money from PACss, Super PACs or from federal lobbyists, and she was the first candidate to post her earmarks, schedule and taxes online.

“We need to know that Congress represents people first. I think I’m the candidate who will do what’s right and go through the fire to do what’s right and I think our country deserves that. It deserves someone that fights for them,” she said.

She said while on her stops in West Des Moines, Fort Dodge and Iowa Falls this weekend she has heard many issues Iowans are concerned about, including health care, flooding, debt-free college and underemployment.

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“I have ideas and plans for all of these areas, and I have experience in legislation getting things done,” she said, noting she has served on the ag committee for 12 years.

Marcie Hagge, a retired special education teacher at Expo High School in Waterloo, said she is trying to see as many candidates in person as she can.

“She sounded very competent and knowledgeable, and it was good to hear her thoughts,” Hagge said.

She is concerned with Gillibrand’s ideas for transitioning to a Medicare for All program.

“So I’m a little dubious because I have very good health care and I wouldn’t want to lose what I had,” Hagge said.

Gillibrand is attending a church service today at Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in Waterloo.

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