Candidates share positions
County Dems hold fundraiser, host gubernatorial, 4th district Congressional hopefuls; Colleen Hansen announces bid for County Treasurer
Hamilton County Democrats had an opportunity to hear from all of the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor and the 4th District Congressional seat Tuesday night at the soup supper held at the Webster City Middle School. A local resident also announced a bid for county office during the event.
Colleen Hansen revealed that she had decided to run for the Democratic nomination for Hamilton County treasurer. Hansen, who has worked for the county engineer’s office for 30 years, said she has lived in Webster City since 1976. She said she had considered running for office for many years.
“The timing and fit were never quite right, until now,” she said. “I’ve always been a numbers person and I hate to admit it, but I’m a spreadsheet junkie.”
Hansen also said that her goals if elected would be to run the Treasurer’s Office in the most “friendly, courteous and efficient manner possible.”
Tim Winter, a candidate for Iowa House District 48, also spoke to the crowd. Winter said he was excited to represent the rural District 48. He has a background in agribusiness and agronomy.
Winter said he’s a proponent of clear water, affordable health care for all and strong education for Iowa students — both K-12 and universities. He said cuts to education and increasing tuitions have amounted to a tax on students and their families.
“Why are Republicans messing with my family? And with your family as well?” he asked the crowd.
He said he had three words for the Republicans at the statehouse.
“Winter is coming,” he said.
Three of the four candidates for the 4th District Congressional seat, currently held by Steve King, R-Kiron, spoke about their reasons for seeking the Democratic nomination.
Dr. John Paschen, an Ames pediatrician, said he favored the “repair and refinement” of the Affordable Care Act and denounced the efforts to repeal the measure.
“Repeal the ACA? Not on my watch,” he told those present. The candidate also said that fair and compassionate immigration policies are needed as well as funding for daycare and preschool programs. He also said he would like see the gap between the wealthiest and the middle class shrink.
J.D. Scholten of Sioux City, a paralegal and former baseball player, said he is a fifth generation Iowan.
“The number one thing that defines me are my Iowa roots,” he told the crowd.
He said he stood for inclusiveness and that he would fight for an inclusive health care system that is cost effective. He favors a public option and eventually would support Medicare for all.
He added that he would like to see inclusive communities and working on common sense immigration reform.
“I also support an inclusive government,” he said, adding that he wants to build an “Iowa that stands tall for all.”
Paul Dahl of Webster City, is also seeking the Democratic nomination for the 4th Congressional District. Dahl said he was a product of Iowa schools, having graduated with a BA from the University of Northern Iowa and an MA from the University of Iowa.
He said that his duties in his job as a transit bus driver have shown him the need for a strong infrastructure and the need to repair and take care of the nation’s infrastructure. Dahl also said he favored a strong health care system.
“We need to make sure health care coverage is for everyone. With that, we need to make sure dental health and mental care is part of the part of the picture as well,” Dahl said.
He said the race against King would be a tough one for whichever Democrat wins the nomination.
“Because Republicans have a 55,000 vote advantage in the 4th District,” he said. “But a Dahl in the House is better than a King at court.”
Billy Wilson, campaign manager for Leann Jacobsen of Spencer, spoke on behalf of his candidate. Jacobsen was unable to attend due to a prior commitment.
“Leann is a business leader and a coalition builder,” he said. “She wants to work to make a the local economy strong, to have high quality education and affordable quality health care.” He encouraged the Hamilton County Democrats to come out to meet the candidate who will be attending the Pints and Politics event on Nov. 17.
Gubernatorial candidates Jon Neiderbach, Fred Hubbell, Dr. Andy McGuire, John Norris, Nate Boulton and Ross Wilburn also spoke to the group. Kate Reveaux, political director for Cathy Glasson, spoke on her behalf.
Reveaux said Glasson, an intensive care unit nurse, favored universal health care, expanding union rights, establishing a $15 minimum wage and providing adequate school funding.
Neiberbach, originally from New York, said he had lived in Iowa for 43 years.
“People are fired up and people are fed up,” he said. “Some still need to be sold. We need a candidate for governor that is not afraid to stand tall for Democratic values. We have to try some new ideas.”
He said he supported raising the minimum wage immediately and is in favor of fixing the mental health system.
“It’s one of the worst in the country. We have the least number of beds per person,” he said. He supports legalizing cannabis to farm as a new crop and to also raise $200M for drug treatment and mental health services.
“Opioids are devastating every part of Iowa,” he said.
Andy McGuire, a physician originally from Waterloo, said she wants to make sure all Iowans are successful.
“Many Iowans are feeling like they’re not getting a fair shake,” she said. “Honestly, they feel like the Branstad/Reynolds administration has put profits ahead of the people.”
She said health care is a right not a privilege.
“Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not,” she said. “But it needs to be affordable. As governor, I will make sure everyone of you has affordable, accessible health care everywhere in Iowa.”
She added that she would make sure there are resources for community mental health efforts and said she would restore funding for Planned Parenthood on her first day as governor.
State Sen. Nate Boulton, who represents East Des Moines and Pleasant Hill in the Iowa Senate, said he has traveled to 82 of state’s 99 counties to meet with supporters.
He told those present that despite having the “golden opportunity to get things accomplished, the Branstad/Reynolds administration, Republican-controlled House and Senate created a hurtful, bitter agenda.”
He said the privatized Medicaid system and managed care hasn’t worked for the most vulnerable of patients or providers. He said the shuttering of mental health facilities, the defunding of Planned Parenthood and the lowering of minimum wages in five counties have hurt Iowans.
“We have to do more than just stand up. We have to fight back,” he said.
Ross Wilburn, former Iowa City mayor and former director of the crisis center for Johnson County, said he was running governor to build a better quality of life for Iowans. He said his campaign slogan is “Let’s be better, let’s be Iowa.”
Wilburn said a prosperous Iowa was tied to better health care, including a single payer option, along with comprehensive mental health care, healthy waters and air quality, and an investment in Iowa workers. That would involve pumping up the minimum wage, he said.
He added that a prosperous Iowa was also tied to a strong education programs.
Fred Hubbell, Des Moines businessman, said he is a lifelong progressive Democrat, adding that his business background would serve him well in the governor’s office. He said the current administration has misguided priorities and suffers from bad fiscal management.
Hubbell said he would work as a unifier to find common ground and to put the people of Iowa first.
He said he would change the budget priorities, including strong funding for education including fully funded pre-kindergarten and affordable college opportunities.
Hubbell advocated restoring Planned Parenthood funding and reversing the failed privatization of Medicaid. He would also support more funding, doctors and counselors for mental health services.
“We need to restore opportunity for people,” he said.
John Norris worked for Sen. Tom Harkin, worked as the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party and was Gov. Tom Vilsack’s first chief of staff.
“So I know a little bit about cleaning up Branstad messes,” he told the crowd.
Norris he wanted to see votes in rural Iowa reclaimed if a Democrat would the governor’s office.. He said he believed he could do that, citing his background in agriculture and energy policy.
“We have to restore faith that the Democrats have solutions and answers for rebuilding rural Iowa,” he said.