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Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., talks to Waterloo residents via Google Hangout Wednesday.

WATERLOO — Despite being in Newark, N.J., Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker spoke to Iowans all over the state Wednesday evening.

Booker held a digital conversation with 16 watch parties, one of which was at Bakari Behavioral Health in Waterloo.

Across the state, prospective caucus goers listened and watched Booker on projected screens.

Mineisha Ford arrived 50 minutes early and was pleased to be there.

“This was good,” Ford said. She hopes other candidates hold similar events.

“Next time there should be more political officials from the county active and present for things like this,” Ford said. “I think it’s something to look forward to doing again. You won’t be aware if you’re not here and participating in these things.”

Others prefer a face-to-face event.

“I think that it might work for some things, but a rally is much more powerful because you have the people right there,” said the Rev. Edward Loggins

A group of 18 people turned out for the event and watched Booker address submitted questions on topics like gun violence.

Many attendees had strong feelings on the subject.

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“It’s personal for me, the gun violence issue, because I had a tragedy in my family last year. That’s why I made a point to come,” Ford said.

Loggins also is concerned about gun violence in Waterloo.

“Locally I think we have too much of a problem where guns are concerned,” Loggins said.

Booker talked about introducing legislation to restrict access to guns for people at risk of self harm. He also released a series of proposal to curb gun violence around the country.

Booker began the evening discussing legislation signed into law in Alabama on Wednesday that totally bans abortions and would give doctors who perform abortions life-sentences.

Wednesday night was the second digital conversation via Google Hangout that Booker has held since beginning his presidential run.

It was the first time a presidential candidate has held a digital conversation in Waterloo.

The event overall may have had an impact on Ford’s vote.

“You tend to lean toward the people that have the same belief and agendas as us when it comes to election,” Ford said. “It was definitely a plus.”

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