GILFORD — Former state Rep. Lisa DiMartino has a big backyard.
She needed all of it on Sunday when Sen. Kamala Harris brought her Democratic presidential campaign to DiMartino’s house.
A crowd estimated at up to 500 people watched Harris, clad in a blue blazer and white slacks, deliver a stump speech laden with criticism of President Donald Trump.
“The guy runs on a platform about making America great again,” she said. “That begs the question, ‘Great for whom?’ and also requires us to ask, ‘You mean going back before the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, Roe vs. Wade?’
“We’re not going back.”
Harris, 54, formerly was San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general.
“The task before us — the fight before us — includes the requirement that we successfully prosecute the case against four more years, and I’d say a prosecutor should do the job,” she said.
She said she has brought cases against banks, pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, and criminal organizations that preyed on women and children.
"I know predators, and we have a predator living in the White House.”
DiMartino said she was impressed with the way Harris performed in the Democratic presidential debate in which she challenged former Vice President Joe Biden for his comments about working with segregationist Democrats and his stance on federally mandated school busing decades ago.
She was also impressed by the way she performed in her backyard, which has a bowled area that serves as a good spot for speech-giving.
“I found her to be genuine, compassionate,” DiMartino said. “I have a son with disabilities and chronic health issues. She spent some time with him and was so kind and caring.”
DiMartino, chairwoman of the board of the Disability Rights Center-NH, said she has a daughter who gets her medical coverage on the health care exchange and that it could be disrupted under Republican plans to end the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Harris supports Medicare for all, with private insurance used only for supplemental coverage.
During the debate, Harris raised her hand when the candidates were asked whether they would support a government insurance proposal that would eliminate employer insurance. The next day, she said she misunderstood the question, and thought she was being asked about her personal insurance plan.
DiMartino said she trusts Harris on the health care issue.
“She has an aura about her that is compassionate and genuine and cares about the issues,” she said. “I find her extremely passionate. She wants to make a difference and has been and she is fearless, and I know she'll fight for my son, and she will fight for everyone.”
Dorothy Piquado, who attended the campaign event at DiMartino’s house, said she found Harris “enthusiastic, knowledgeable and very amenable."
“She is somebody who is approachable and cares to listen,” Piquado said.
At one point, a 9-year-old girl asked the candidate a question about children being detained at the border. Harris responded that she would immediately close private detention centers.
“I would love to see her debate Trump,” Piquado said, “but I doubt he will debate anyone this time.”
Piquado said she also liked the candidate’s support for equal pay for women and better pay for teachers.
“What I liked about her is that she didn't sound canned,” Piquado said. “She also has a way of explaining complex things in a way people can understand clearly.”
Former state Rep. Phil Spagnuolo, who was also at the event, said Harris struck him as an intelligent person with good ideas.
He said he was impressed with a plan that would allow people to better manage college debt through an interest rate deduction.
Spagnuolo has seen many of the Democratic candidates.
“I’ve liked them all,” he said. “They all have good ideas. I’ve yet to decide who has the best overall ideas, and who can stack up against Trump. I don’t care who gets nominated as long as they can beat Trump.”