Rural Iowa needs leaders with bold ideas to help get our communities back on track. We need leaders like former mayor and Senator Cory Booker.

After attending the Reaching Rural Voters Forum on April 27 in Stuart, IA, I became even more enthused about Cory Booker’s plan for revitalizing rural America. Cory spearheaded the law to drive investment in communities like in rural Iowa through federally-designated Opportunity Zones. He supports robust investment in rural infrastructure like schools, hospitals, highways and bridges, and broadband.

I know firsthand how important those investments are to people who want to stay and succeed in rural Iowa. In 2004, the Alden Community School merged with Iowa Falls and I lost my teaching job. For 3 years, I commuted to Des Moines, 160 miles every work day, before finding a local job with decent pay and benefits.

That job ended when the 2008 financial crisis hit our area. Since my husband had died, I moved to the Des Moines metropolitan area for a higher paying job. Just like other rural residents, I was forced to move from my rural community, where I grew up and had raised my sons.

Cory Booker is the only presidential candidate with a specific rural revitalization agenda. His family traces their roots back to Buxton with many relatives still living in Iowa, so he knows the importance of fighting for our rural communities. Please give him a serious look.

Julie Stewart