Storm Lake Radio: JD Scholten Campaigns in Storm Lake

4th District Congressional candidate J.D. Scholten held a parking lot campaign rally at Frank Starr Park in Storm Lake this (Thur) evening.

Scholten, a Democrat, said his biggest goal in Congress would be to fight to enforce anti-trust laws.

“The USDA says that only one in 30 dairy farmers are still going to be in existence by 2036, and that’s all policy-driven out of D.C.  All farms matter, whether big or small.  We have to find a way to keep people on their land and make a dime.”

Scholten stressed protecting coverage of pre-existing conditions, and expanding social security and medicare. He said accessibility to prescription drugs is shrinking in the 4th district, and costs are going up.

Scholten said another goal is to fight for an economy that works for everybody.

“What we’ve seen with career-politicians in the past few decades is they’ve sold out the American worker, farmer, and consumer.  That’s never been more clear than what’s happened in the pandemic, when CEO’s and billionaires continue to have record profits while the majority of Americans are suffering.  If we continue to elect politicians who accept the status quo and don’t want reform, we can’t expect change.” 

Scholten said a program is needed to help relieve student loan debt.

After being asked about possible voter suppression, Scholten encouraged residents to have a plan, vote early, and those that want to vote by absentee ballot should put in their request soon, and to submit ballots right away.

Scholten will face Republican Randy Feenstra in the November 3rd general election.

Sioux City Journal: ‘J.D. Scholten has my vote’

Randy Feenstra has been my Iowa state senator since 2009. During this time, I wrote him three letters. He did not respond to any of the three, not even with a form letter. Sen. Feenstra is now running for Congress in Iowa’s 4th District. If Sen. Feenstra does not take the time to respond to his constituents in less than three counties, how can we expect him to respond to his constituents in the 39 counties of Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District?

J.D. Scholten has lots of good ideas and is a good listener. He cares about small towns as well as cities and made a tour of towns with under 1,000 people. When Scholten ran for Congress in 2018, he visited each of the 39 counties at least three times.

I want a congressional representative who is hard working and will listen to me. J.D. Scholten has my vote. Ruth Kocisko, Sioux Center, Iowa

NW Iowa Review: J.D. Scholten makes Sioux Center stop

J.D. Scholten didn’t speak much about his professional baseball career Thursday, Aug. 20, in Sioux Center, but his five campaign promises were printed on baseball cards for the audience to keep.

Those campaign promises were the focus of the remarks by the 40-year-old Democratic candidates for Iowa’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representative.

He spoke from the back of a pickup truck at the Sioux County fairgrounds parking lot while people in about 20 vehicles tuned into his message broadcast on the radio. He held a similar event on Wednesday in Sibley.

Scholten narrowly lost to longtime Republican incumbent Rep. Steve King in 2018. On Nov. 3, however, he will go up against state Sen. Randy Feenstra, who unseated King in the June Republican primaries.

Scholten’s first promise was to put the interest of Iowans over the interest of politics.

Instead of political ideology, he said a message that connects to people has the power to earn votes. That led to his next promise, which was simply that he will show up for people in the 4th District.

At the Sioux Center event, Scholten noted how in the fall, he conducted a “Don’t Forget About Us” tour in which he visited the district’s communities with fewer than 1,000 people.

“We’re willing to show up and we will continue to show up because this job is about service,” Scholten said. “It’s about giving back.”

His next three promises were to fix health care, fight for an economy that works for everybody and secure the country’s democracy.

When talking about health care, Scholten brought up the story of an attorney who mentored him while Scholten worked as a paralegal. The attorney recently was diagnosed with cancer but was told by his insurance company his doctor was no longer within its network.

“When he’s fighting for his life, he has to go find another doctor and that’s just wrong,” Scholten said.

He also said health care also was the No. 1 issue he spoke to people during his small-town tour last fall.

In Hardin County, a woman had told Scholten how she could not afford an inhaler prescription which would cost $244 a month. Even when her doctor gave her a cheaper one with fewer doses, she still could not pay for it. Her doctor eventually told her to go to Canada to buy an inhaler.

“If that’s the best we are as a nation, we can do way better,” Scholten said.

When speaking about fighting for an economy that works for everyone, Scholten said career politicians have sold out people such as farmers, teachers and everyday consumers with policies that do not adequately value their work.

In agriculture specifically, he spoke about how concentration of large dairy, pork and cattle companies have hurt small farming operations. He also mentioned how President Donald Trump’s small-refinery exemptions to oil refineries have hurt corn producers.

“They’re picking sides and it’s big oil conglomerates over the American farmer, over our Midwest corn growers,” Scholten said. “One thing we’re pushing for is not only making sure that the renewable fuel standard is met at that 15 billion gallons of ethanol per year in our fuel supply but we’re pushing for a low-carbon fuel standard.”

His final promise about securing democracy focused on how special-interest groups and their lobbyists in Washington, D.C., dictate policy by giving money to lawmakers through political action committees. Unlike those lawmakers, Scholten said his campaign does not accept corporate money or support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“We wanted to run out of Sioux City, Iowa. We wanted to be held accountable by the people of this district, rather than the folks out in D.C.,” Scholten said.

He later took questions from attendees after they texted them to his campaign staff. One question was how Scholten would protect Social Security and Medicare.

Scholten said he supports a policy proposal called “scrap the cap,” which would require people to pay into Social Security past the $137,700 income limit. Regarding Medicare, he supports expanding the program and lowering the age limit so people can access it by age 50.

He also was asked how he would get large companies such as Amazon to set up locations in places such as N’West Iowa. He reframed the issue to instead say he would push for tax cuts to small businesses that already exist in such places.

“What we need to do is give tax breaks to the small businesses, the innovation, to help create local economies,” he said.

“When you spend money at Dollar General, it doesn’t always stay here. It goes to headquarters, it goes to Wall Street. What we need is to strengthen our Main Streets and we need an economy and a tax system that benefits that.”

Written by Randy Paulson

KTIV: Scholten hosts a “drive-in” campaign event

Congressional candidate JD Scholten, like so many other politicians, has had to adjust his campaign operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wednesday, the Democrat spoke to supporters during a “drive-in” campaign stop in Sioux City.

Supporters could pull up to North High School, stay in their cars, and tune to a specific radio frequency to hear Scholten speak just a few feet away.
This method allows him to travel to all 39 counties in the 4th Congressional District, and allow voters to safely hear his message.
He also acknowledges — during the pandemic — reaching voters can be difficult.

But, he says, it’s not impossible.

“I want to meet with everybody. I want to be accessible. We are open to everybody. Everyday we talk about it doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, or brown. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, Independent, Republican or never voted before. We’re going to go out there and try and earn your vote.” said J.D. Scholten, 4th District Congressional Candidate

Scholten also took time to answer questions texted to him, and to hand out campaign baseball cards containing his five campaign promises,.
They include fixing healthcare, and fighting for an economy that works for everyone.
Scholten will face Republican candidate Randy Feenstra in the November general election.

KCAU: J.D. Scholten holds parking lot rally

Political candidates have had to get creative in order to campaign during the pandemic.

That leads one Siouxland hopeful to climb in the back of a pickup tonight.

Congressional candidate J.D. Scholten launching a tour of Iowa’s 4th District with a parking lot rally in Sioux City.

Two years ago during a traditional campaign season, the Democrat lost a close race to incumbent Steve King.

This time around, he’s facing republican Randy Feenstra and the campaign trail looks a bit different.

Scholten says he plans to visit all 375 incorporated towns in Iowa’s 4th District, talking with folks about the issues for the first time in months.

KMEG: J.D. Scholten launches “Every Town Tour”

Sioux City’s North High School parking lot hosted a rally in support of the democrat running for the 4th congressional district in Iowa.

J.D. Scholten’s “Every Town Tour” brought local supporters to this socially-distanced event.

Attendees could listen in, from the comfort of their vehicles, by tuning in to 89.9 FM.

The tour will eventually cover 375 towns in Iowa’s 4th district, giving Scholten a chance to meet his supporters.

“We’re trying to get out the best we can. That’s the tough part. I want to meet everybody. I want to be accessible. We are open to every day. Every day we talk about, doesn’t matter if you’re white, black or brown, doesn’t matter if you’re democrat, independent, republican or never voted before. We’re going to try and earn your vote,” Scholten said.

Scholten will be hosting more parking lot rallies in Woodbury, Plymouth, Ida and Cherokee counties this weekend in an effort to connect with as many people as possible.

Radio Iowa: Scholten holding ‘parking lot’ rallies in Iowa’s 4th district

The Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 4th district congressional seat has a new twist on campaigning during the Covid era. J.D. Scholten has equipped his “Sioux City Sue” RV with special equipment so he can hold parking lot rallies.

“I know a lot of churches have gone this way,” Scholten says. “We’re going to have a site where people can go and drive to and if they just want to stay in their car and tune in on the local frequency that we’ll be broadcasting, they can do that. Otherwise they can come out of their cars and just make sure that they’re socially distant.”

The RV will have speakers, so those who stand outside the R-V will be able to hear, along with those tuned-in and sitting in their vehicles. Scholten is planning to visit all 375 towns in the district before Election Day.

“We are taking extra precautions,” Scholten says. “Wear a mask. We’ll have a lot of hand sanitizers and things like that.”

This is Scholten’s second run in the district. In 2018, he narrowly lost to Republican Congressman Steve King. In 2020, he faces Republican Randy Feenstra, who defeated King in the June 2nd GOP Primary. A recent poll suggests Feenstra has a comfortable lead in the district, which has a significant Republican voter registration edge.

“The last time and again this time, we say all the time that it doesn’t matter if you’re white, black or brown, it doesn’t matter if you’re Democrat, independent Republican or never voted before — we’re going to go out there and earn your vote,” Scholten says, “and that continues to be our strategy.”

On Tuesday evening, Scholten’s holding a parking lot rally at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars. On Wednesday evening, he’ll speak from the Sioux City North High School Parking lot.

The Hill: J.D. Scholten says he doesn’t need DCCC to win Iowa seat

Iowa congressional candidate J.D. Scholten told Hill.TV that he doesn’t need help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to win a long-held GOP seat in Iowa, arguing his message of progressive populism will be enough to secure victory in November.

Scholten is making another run at the House seat for the 4th Congressional District after coming within 4 percentage points of Rep. Steve King (R) during the midterms in a district President Trump won by nearly 30 points in 2016.

Scholten will face Randy Feenstra, who defeated King in June during the GOP primary.

He told Hill.TV he declined help from the DCCC — the House Democrats’ campaign arm — because he felt it would impose limitations on his campaign.

“I want this race to be run out of Sioux City and not DC,” Scholten said. “And ultimately, I’m not running to win their approval. I’m running to win this race.”

When reached for comment, DCCC spokesperson Cole Leiter said: “We have built a big battlefield and every candidate is going to make their own decisions about how to run their race. We wish him well.”

The Cook Political Report lists the seat as “likely Republican.”

Though the Democratic Party has long been unpopular in his district, Scholten said voters involved in regional agricultural businesses have been hurt by a lack of antitrust enforcement. He is hoping to capitalize on what he says is a long-present populist spirit in the district.

“My campaign right now is building this amazing coalition of consumers, of workers and of farmers, all that are being hurt by these monopolies,” Scholten said. “The farmers are being squeezed, both on the input and the market side. The workers are being suppressed. They’re getting the same wages that they did when my family moved to Sioux City in 1984. And you have these consumers that are paying more for meat than they ever have been. And so that money isn’t going to any of them. It’s going to profits and to Wall Street.”

The American Prospect: Washington Is Failing Rural America: We Need a Change

Walk through any family farm, down any empty but once-thriving Main Street, or by any small hospital in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, and you’ll see countless examples of what corporate greed and corruption are doing to our rural communities here. Much like the rest of rural America, corporations are stripping away wealth, power, and opportunities in this district—leaving shuttered downtowns, abandoned schools, and bankrupt family farmers in their devastating wake.

In food and agriculture, corporations push the little guy off the farm, fail to pay farmers a fair price, and undercut small independent grocers. Middleman meatpackers pay low prices to farmers and demand high prices from grocery stores, and pocket the difference. In health care, the managed-care organizations that have taken over Iowa’s privatized Medicaid system underpay providers like critical-access hospitals and nursing homes, forcing them to cut or outsource services, reduce staff, or consolidate. In business, 91 corporations pay zero dollars in federal income taxes while our small businesses try to get by. Across the board, rural families suffer while corporations pocket the profits.

How did we get here? Part of the answer involves who gets a leg up in our elections, and unsurprisingly, it’s the 1 percent. They can self-fund their candidacies or tap high-powered, wealthy friends for donations. When in office, they reward their wealthy donors and friends with tax loopholes and benefits. These candidates aren’t folks like me.

My parents were high school teachers. Although they weren’t able to pass down a fortune to my sister and me, they did pass down good values of decency, honesty, and the importance of faith and hard work. My candidacy for Congress is all about fighting for folks like them—the truck driver, the farmer, the teacher, the nurse. Folks who are doing everything right, working hard, but still struggle to earn a decent living, pay for school and health insurance, and save for retirement.

The political system isn’t made for outsiders like me to succeed, but I don’t need party leaders or corporations to be on board with my candidacy. That’s why I told the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the House Democrats’ campaign arm, to stay out of our race last week. Their ideal candidate can either self-fund their race or sit at home and fundraise all day; follow their strategy; and echo their talking points. That’s not what’s best for Iowans here in the 4th District. It never has been and will never be how I represent our district.

Across the board, rural families suffer while corporations pocket the profits.

I will always speak truth to power, even if those in power are leaders of my own party. My mission first and foremost is to serve the people of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District and address the serious challenges facing rural America that result from the failures of both parties. Accepting corporate PAC money doesn’t address these challenges. Accepting help from outside organizations that don’t understand Iowa doesn’t address these challenges. If I followed this playbook, I would be just another empty suit at the beck and call of corporations and political parties.

My opponent, Randy Feenstra, doesn’t share this sentiment. He built his candidacy during the primary on the fact that he’ll be the best “ally” to President Trump. He ignores the fact that Trump’s policies—from the devastating trade war to abuses of the Renewable Fuel Standard to structures that tell lifelong residents to “get big or get off the farm”—have gutted our local rural economy. It’s far more important for him to be a loyal lackey to the president than to stand up against two-faced lies and outright attacks.

When it comes to corporations, Feenstra doesn’t turn down a dime of their blood money. He’s pocketed over $60,000 from multinational corporations squeezing our farmers out, about $50,000 in direct contributions and tens of thousands more from the independent expenditure PACs from the pharmaceutical industry, and tens of thousands of dollars from the managed-care industry. Corporate donations don’t come for free; candidates must trade political access and favors in exchange for their “generosity.” Feenstra is already selling out Iowans to the highest bidder and if he’s elected to Congress, it won’t stop.

All this boils down to accountability. Elected officials should be accountable to the people they serve, not those who are able to write the biggest check. Randy Feenstra and I are both asking to serve the people of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, but how can he do so if his allegiance is to corporations and party officials first? I challenge him to be his own man and not a corporate stooge: Drop the corporate donations and unwavering loyalty to your party and put Iowans first.

This op-ed was written by J.D. Scholten and was published in The American Prospect.