Senate candidate says he’s a businessman, not a politician
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Mark Jacobs is a businessman, and he’s not shy in letting you know his chosen vocation.
Jacobs, a current resident and native of Des Moines, also is not a politician. He wants you to know that, too.
In fact, he cites his business experience and lack of being a political insider as the chief attributes in his candidacy in the crowded field for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator.
Jacobs is one of seven Republicans seeking the nod to oppose Congressman Bruce Braley in next November’s general election for the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Tom Harkin.
“I’m a business guy, not a politician,” Jacobs says as he settled into his chair during a recent campaign swing through Mt. Pleasant. “I can bring people together to solve problems. I have found over the course of my career that if you listen to people and build relationships you can get things done.
“People in Washington, D.C., don’t work well together,” he said in stating the obvious. “We need someone who can work with others and listen to the people. We can either elect another politician and get the same thing or bring in a new perspective.”
Jacobs of Des Moines most recently was CEO of Reliant Energy Co., based in Houston, Texas. He said when he began his career with Reliant as the chief financial officer the firm was teetering on bankruptcy.
“The company was really in dire straits,” he reflected. “The bank group was convinced that they could take over the company. But I was not going to let that happen.”
He said that within two years of his arrival, Reliant was on solid ground, having repaid its entire debt.
While at Reliant, Jacobs made it a point to exit the ivory tower and talk with workers in the field, getting to know his employees and their job functions. “That is where I learned the most about the company. I always asked a lot of questions, one being: ‘How can I help you do your job better?’”
A self-described fiscal conservative, Jacobs said one of his top focuses would be in job creation.
“The core problem we have today is a lack of good jobs,” he said. “When Americans are gainfully employed, families do better, crime decreases, revenue to government increases, deficits come down and opportunities rise. You can’t spell ‘Jacobs’ without ‘jobs.’”
He noted that income disparity has never been wider and government programs been larger.
“For all the economic and fiscal challenges we face, if we were to grow our economy just one percent faster — just one percent over the next decade — we would wipe out more than half the budget deficit,” he noted.
His five priorities for aiding job growth include emphasizing community colleges and vocational schools to close the skills gap; expanding domestic energy production; tacking job-killing regulations; implementing a competitive tax policy; and reforming healthcare.
By reforming healthcare, the Republican naturally does not mean Obamacare.
Obamacare, he said, tackles the problem from the wrong direction. “The problem with Obamacare is that it is hurting families with reduced work hours, lost wages, higher employee contributions, higher cancellations and premiums. I feel all Americans should have access to health care. Obamacare, however, does not address the fundamental problem of healthcare and that is the rising cost of healthcare. We should be cutting healthcare costs at the provider level. Obamacare doesn’t do anything to address those runaway costs.”
He also opposes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to relax the renewable fuel standards, a move that could drastically impact the production of ethanol.
“I don’t support that,” he emphatically said. “I think that’s the wrong direction to go. They’re really mandating that we use more oil in our motor fuel mixture. Ethanol has proven that it is a good source, an economic source, of fuel.”
In his conversations with Iowans around the state, he said he has heard two major complaints — that they feel the opportunity to live the American dream is slipping through their fingertips and they have lost confidence in their leader in Washington, D.C., due to a dysfunctional government.
Putting on his coat to once again combat Mother Nature’s chill, he said America needs leaders. “What we need are leaders who can deliver, not force us into choosing between them.”
The Republican nominee for the Senate race will be chosen in the June 2014 primary election.