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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Gubernatorial hopefuls pitch Democrats

Jul 28, 2017

By Erin Murphy, Lee Des Moines Bureau


DES MOINES — For the seven Democratic campaigns vying for their party’s nomination to run for governor of Iowa in 2018, this was a golden opportunity.

The Iowa Democratic Party’s annual hall of fame celebration, held Thursday night in downtown Des Moines, presented those seven campaigns with 5 minutes of time to address roughly 600 people, according to a party spokeswoman, many of whom presumably will be casting ballots in June’s primary election.

It was the first such opportunity for the campaigns in the lead-up to the 2018 election, a critical moment for Iowa Democrats who hope to rebound from wave losses in 2014 and 2016.

“The Democratic Party isn’t going anywhere,” Troy Price, the new chairman of the state party said at Thursday night’s event. “We are going to get together and we are going to win in 2018.”

If Democrats are to take back the governor’s mansion, it likely will be one of these seven candidates.



The state senator from Des Moines, a native of Columbus Junction, called 2018 an election “for the soul of our state” and described the legislation approved during the 2017 legislative session, the first in two decades under all-Republican control.

During the session, Boulton took the point on debate over some of the most significant bills, in particular bills that rewrote the state’s laws for public employee collective bargaining and workers’ compensation.

“We fought. We stood there with you until they turned off our microphone,” Boulton said. “Iowa is better than this. Iowans are better than this. That’s why we choose to fight.”



Norris worked on the staffs of U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and Gov. Tom Vilsack; he was the latter’s chief of staff. He is also a former state party chairman.

Norris also noted the anger Democrats feel as a result of the 2016 election and 2017 legislative session, but added he thinks “anger alone will not move our state forward.”

“We must connect with Iowans with the values that make Iowa great and a policy agenda that gives Iowa workers and families hope for a better future,” Norris said.



McGuire, a physician and the state party’s chairwoman during the 2016 election, said during that time she traveled across the state and heard from Iowans who “don’t feel like they’re getting a fair shake.”

Focusing on health care, McGuire criticized former Gov. Terry Branstad’s decision to transfer management of Iowa’s $5 billion Medicaid program to three private health care companies, what she said was inadequate resources in state programs that treat mental illness, and the defunding of prenatal health care provider Planned Parenthood.

“I’ve cared for people my whole life. I want to care about the success of every Iowan,” McGuire said. “Health care is a right, not a privilege.”



The Des Moines businessman --- whose family, decades ago, donated the home that became the very governor’s mansion he now seeks --- spoke of his experience working for his family’s businesses in the public sector. He served as board chairman of the Iowa Power Fund, which oversaw funding for energy projects; and served on the state economic development board in the wake of the state’s move tax credit scandal.

Hubbell said he could no longer stand aside as Iowa Republican policies were “undermining the core values of what built our state.” He cited goals of improving job training, education, health care and preserving both soil and water quality.

“We need to take back our state,” Hubbell said. “We need to change our priorities.”



Neiderbach is a former employee of the state’s nonpartisan fiscal estimating agency and the state human services department. He was the Democratic candidate for state auditor in 2014.

Neiderbach listed health care, the environment, mental health care, collective bargaining, and tax structure as issues he thinks need to be addressed. Without being specific in his 5 allotted minutes, he called for major changes to government.

“We need to change our government, the old system. We need a new system, a new structure,” Neiderbach said. “If you’re interested in big changes, I ask for your vote.”



Prichard, a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, could not attend the event because he is deployed to Bulgaria. His wife Ann spoke on his behalf.

Ann, who is a teacher, said her husband would make education a priority. She said on his first day in office he would sign an executive order declaring an intention to restore the public employee collective bargaining rights lost by the new state law passed in 2017 by Republicans. And she said he supports providing two years of free community college tuition.

“Todd is committed to making smart, ambitious investments in our education system,” Ann said.



Glasson, a nurse and union leader, called for a “bold, progressive movement” to help Iowa Democrats return to power.

Glasson called for a higher minimum wage, more union-friendly labor laws, and more attention to water quality programs. She also called for a Medicare-for-all health care system, saying if the federal government does not take such action, Iowa should.

“I’m tired of the working people in this state getting beat up,” Glasson said. “Tonight it’s time to send a message to the corporate lobbyists who pull the Republican strings: Your days of controlling our state are numbered. It’s our time.”

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