Democratic candidate for president Gov. Steve Bullock appeared at Farm Grounds, a coffee shop in downtown Nevada, on Saturday morning and talked with a standing-room-only crowd about topics ranging from healthcare to campaign finance to the federal debt ceiling.


Bullock served as attorney general of Montana from 2009-2013, then was elected governor and is in his second term.


“Like our legislature, Montana is about two-thirds Republican,” said City Councilman Luke Spence, as he introduced Bullock. “Which makes it difficult to come to an agreement on a lot of things, but unlike here in Iowa, Gov. Bullock has worked to bring Republicans and Democrats together to get things done.”


That includes, Spence said, expanding Medicaid twice, making record investments in education, funding mental health and opioid treatment, protecting the environment and public lands, defending labor rights, stopping Republican attacks on women’s rights and healthcare, and passing “some of the toughest campaign finance laws in the country.”


Bullock oversaw the first appeal of Citizens United all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was defeated in a 5-4 vote. But Bullock has managed to limit the use of dark money — campaign donations that can’t be linked to a particular individual — in Montana by requiring that information be disclosed for campaign donations made within 90 days of an election.


Locally, Bullock secured an early endorsement in June from Jan Bauer, former long-time head of the Story County Democrats. Bauer was also the first county Democratic head to endorse Barack Obama when he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination.


It was Bullock’s 18th trip to Iowa; his eighth visit as a candidate. He has connections to the state, he said. His great-great-grandparents settled in Henry County in 1850, and his mother was born in Ottumwa.


But those Iowa connections are “not why we gather,” Bullock said.


“We gather for the sake of our nation and our nation’s standing in the world,” Bullock told the crowd in Nevada. “We gather for the America that we’re going to pass on (to our children) and make sure that Donald Trump is a one-term president.”


Bullock said it is important to soundly reject Trump’s behavior as normalized.


“It’s the lies and the misstatements,” he said. “It’s the real effort to divide us by race and by gender and by geography. … It’s no exaggeration to say that we now expect more out of our preschoolers than we do the President of the United States.”


Bullock said another problem is seen in Americans’ paychecks. “For a whole lot of folks, they’re working a lot harder and making less,” he said.


After his speech, Bullock answered questions, including two from young people in the crowd: 12-year-old Thomas Sauer, of Nevada, who wanted to discuss the federal debt ceiling, and 19-year-old Tom Coffman, of Kansas City, Mo., who had questions about the Affordable Care Act.


Bullock told Coffman that he supports an expanded and strengthened ACA by doing things like negotiating prescription drug prices.


“I think we have such a good foundation to build off of,” Bullock said of the ACA.


After the event, Coffman told the Tribune that he was “100 percent” happy with the answer to his question about healthcare. A resident of Kansas City, he is currently in Iowa to hear directly from as many Democratic candidates as possible.


Not able to vote yet, Sauer had a question about his future: “What are we going to do about the debt ceiling?”


Bullock said he expected the debt ceiling will have to be increased, but he supported the idea of a balanced budget at the national level, like what he’s done in Montana.


Bullock is the only Democratic candidate who has won a Trump state. In 2016, Trump won Montana by 20 points, and Bullock was reelected governor there by 4 points.


“This is the most important election in my lifetime,” Bullock said. “It is about beating Donald Trump, but it’s also about preserving this 243-year experiment called representative democracy.”