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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 11, 2017

Democrats sound battle cry during rally

Eighth annual Harvest Rally brings Democrats together to plan for the future
Sep 25, 2017
Photo by: Karyn Spory Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) spoke to Henry County Democrats during the eighth annual Harvest Rally. The rally was held at Museum B on the Old Threshers grounds on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 4 to 6 p.m.

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News

 

Democrats did not mince words when they spoke about trying to pass legislation in a Republican held government, at both the state and national level.

“It’s been a hell of a ride, I’ll tell you that,” said Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) kicking off the eighth annual Harvest Rally, which was held Saturday, Sept. 23, in Museum B on the Old Thresher’s grounds in Mt. Pleasant.

Loebsack said despite a Republican held House, Senate and Executive Branch, he has seen a fire in the Democratic Party like never before. “The energy is amazing,” he said. “I’m hot and I’m ready to go because we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Loebsack said he became a democrat because he saw it as the party of opportunity. Loebsack grew up in a low-income, single-parent household in Sioux City. “I had the opportunity when I was 16 to work at the Sioux City Waste Treatment Control Plant. I worked 40 hours a week as a federally funded program,” he said.

Loebsack said because of that program he learned about getting up early in the morning, taking responsibility for himself and the value of hard work. He said working in the program also allowed him to buy the school clothes that his mother wasn’t able to afford. Loebsack added it was also because of work study and low-interest loans, all part of federally funded programs, that afforded him the opportunity to study at Iowa State University.

“I’m here today because of democrats and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Republicans take away these benefits from folks like me,” he said.

Loebsack has also kept his eye on what has been happening at the state level in Iowa and he’s not pleased. He said he’s appalled that “so many rights” have been taken away from Iowans, he said in regards to recent legislation on collective bargaining and defunding Planned Parenthood.

“I hope you folks will do me a big favor and help get me more folks in the U.S. Congress from the Democratic Party from here in Iowa,” Loebsack added before handing the microphone over to Jim Mowrer, who is running for Secretary of State in 2018.

A similar experience led Mowrer to become a democrat. As a child, his father was killed in a farming accident. He said it was because of social security survivor benefits that his family was able to make it. “I believe that as Iowans when one falls we help each other get back up and keep moving forward.”

However, it wasn’t until he joined the National Guard following 9/11 that Mowrer became interested in the job of Secretary of State and politics. During the 2006 election, Mowrer said he felt it was imperative that he and his fellow soldiers be able to vote. “I took it upon myself to make sure those serving their country were able to vote.”

Mowrer recounted the numerous phone calls and emails he sent making sure each man and woman in his unit received their absentee ballots. “Right now we have a Secretary of State, Paul Pate, who has done everything he can to make it harder and more expensive for Iowan’s to vote,” he said referencing Iowa’s new voter ID laws.

During the event, State Sen. Rich Taylor (D-Mt. Pleasant) received a certificate of recognition for his work during the past five years.

Taylor said he didn’t want to talk doom and gloom, but that’s how this legislative session felt. “It has been a tough fight,” he said. “I predicted a lot of bad things would happen and they have, plus 100 more. But I think we’ve got (voters) attention now and in 2018 we’re going to elect democrats up and down the board.”

Jason Moats, who plans to take on Rep. Dave Heaton (R-Mt. Pleasant) in the upcoming election to represent House District 84 also spoke during the rally. Moats, a correctional worker, said his work with his local union has opened his eyes to the importance of being politically active. He said after not being able to speak to Heaton regarding the closure of Mt. Pleasant’s Mental Health Institute, he felt like he needed to run because the residents deserved “to have answers and to have their voices heard.”

Event goers also heard from a handful of gubernatorial candidates during the rally. Candidates Nate Boulton, Cathy Glasson, John Norris, Ross Wilburn and Andy McGuire.

During the event, organizers passed a star-spangled hat around the tables to collect money. The funds collected would be split evenly between the Henry County Democrats, as the rally is their only fundraiser for the year, and the other half would be sent to the American Red Cross to aid in hurricane disaster relief.

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