Richards: Iowans tired of political bickering
Republican is first 4th District candidate to qualify for GOP primary
Republican Bret Richards of Irwin is the first candidate in Iowa’s 4th Congressional race to gather the necessary signatures to have his name placed on the 2020 Republican primary ballot.
Richards stopped in Webster City last week. The candidate is one of three Republicans who have announced plans to challenge Incumbent Rep. Steve King for the 4th District seat.
The Richards campaign has gathered more than 3,650 signatures to date, topped the 1-percent threshold in 26 counties and has already collected signatures in every county. Hamilton County is among those with signatures already exceeding the 1-percent threshold.
“I can’t begin to thank enough those folks who signed our nomination petitions,” Richards said.
The candidate, who has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Iowa, and an MA and a PhD. from Bellevue University, said he’s spent the summer traveling to county fairs throughout the 4th District.
“We’ve talked to a lot of of people. I’ve visited 23 county fairs and shook hands with five or six thousand hands and we’ve had hundreds of good conversations with people about what they are concerned with.”
Richards said Iowans are tired of the political bickering going on in Washington.
“I think lot a lot of Iowans, and people around the country, are tired of career politicians. I think that an average citizen can be a citizen leader in Washington, D.C. and get more things done than the career politicians have in three or four decades,” Richards said. “Look at immigration and health care. I think that Congress can actually solve these things if they wanted to.”
In rural Iowa, Richards acknowledged that tariffs and trade are a concern for those involved in farming and agribusiness.
“The farmers are on the front line of this issue,” he said, adding that in his conversations with farmers, most still support President Trump’s actions with trade and tariffs.
“They all really do understand what President Trump is trying to do and they support him,” he said. “The can has been kicked down the road by everyone for a long time.”
He said farmers have told him they want the process to move a little faster.
“That’s a challenge that will take two countries or more to agree. And the farmers understand that,” he said.
With regard to immigration, Richards said he believes Iowans welcome immigrants to the state provided they’ve gone through legal channels to get here.
“Every Iowan I’ve talked to want immigrants to come to Iowa. It doesn’t matter where they come from, as long as they are vetted and come to the United States legally. We need the workers, good citizens, people with good values,” he said.
Richards said he would like to see a return to encouraging young people to pursue community college and trade schools degrees.
“I think one thing is clear. We push four- year degrees on people when a lot would be very happy to have an associates degree,” he said. “I value education, but a four-year degree is not necessarily the path for everyone.”
He added that skilled labor can earn good livings, take a fraction of the time to complete their education at a much lower cost that four-year universities.
The candidate also said Iowa’s values are important to him.
“We shouldn’t let our small towns and small cities vanish,” he said. “We’ve got to focus on rural prosperity. I know what it means to be in the community and truly care about it.”
Richards said what sets him apart from the other candidates is the fact that he’s not a political insider and his substantial business background.
“I’m not a career politician. And if I’m there more than 10 years, somebody needs to come and kick me in the shins and send me back home. I think that’s very important and goes back to our founders. They wanted people to serve, be citizen leaders and go back home,” he said.
He also pointed to his background in business and his time as a combat engineer in the Army.
“I’ve got a lot of leadership background. Great lessons learned,” he said. “The military is the best place in the world to learn how to be a leader.”
“I’ve made tough decisions. I know what it means to have a budget you have to meet,” he said.
“By no means do I have the solutions to everything, but I know how to work with people, because in the business world you have to,” he said.