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AARP Sponsoring Presidential Primary Candidate Forums in Iowa

20 Democratic hopefuls will answer questions on major issues, including prescription drug costs

Iowa welcome sign

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En español | AARP is beginning its 2020 voter education campaign with five candidate forums in Iowa next month, featuring 20 of the Democrats vying for their party's nomination for president of the United States.

"AARP has a long history of voter engagement, both at the federal and state level where we provide our members with an opportunity to learn more about the candidates running for office,” says John Hishta, senior vice president for campaigns at AARP. “Iowa is the first-in-the-nation caucus, and many Iowans are already fully engaged in the process. This gives our members an opportunity to hear directly from the candidates."

The forums will begin on July 15 in Des Moines and end on July 20 in Council Bluffs. Each candidate will be questioned for 25 minutes by moderators Katie Obradovich, the opinion editor and columnist for the Des Moines Register, and Kay Henderson, news director for Radio Iowa. They will also answer questions from some of the more than 200 AARP members who will be in each audience. The sessions will be livestreamed at

The candidates are expected to be asked about their views and plans to help lower the price of prescription drugs and make them affordable to American consumers. AARP has launched a Stop Rx Greed campaign to convince lawmakers at the federal and state level to pass legislation to stop the out-of-sight price increases of lifesaving drugs that millions of Americans rely on.

"We believe it's important to keep the momentum going on that campaign,” Hishta said, “and one way of doing that is to ask candidates who are running for office, in this case on the Democratic nomination for president, what they would do on the issue of prescription drugs and how they would reduce prices for our members and consumers across the country."

The Iowa forums are the beginning of AARP's planned voter engagement campaign, which will include events in other early primary states, polling, advertising, video voter guides and information about issues particularly important to older voters. AARP has also invited President Trump to share his views with its members ahead of the general election.

Below are the forum locations and the candidates participating in each one. Each session will begin at 2 p.m. CT.

  • Monday, July 15, Des Moines: New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and former Vice President Joe Biden.
  • Tuesday, July, 16, Davenport: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, and California Sen. Kamala Harris.
  • Wednesday, July 17, Cedar Rapids: Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Maryland Rep. John Delaney, and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet.
  • Friday, July 19, Sioux City: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, author Marianne Williamson, Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
  • Saturday, July 20, Council Bluffs: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio.