J.D. Scholten bounded on to the trailer of a pickup truck parked in front of his rickety RV and Carroll’s Merchants Stadium for a fiery populist speech, one that seemed to jump from an earlier era in Iowa as the congressional candidate made a relentless case for the working people he thinks society is leaving behind.
“We don’t have enough working-class people in Washington, and that’s one of the big reasons I’m running,” Scholten said as day turned to night under colorful fall skies.
Scholten, a Sioux City Democrat, stopped in Carroll Monday night as part of a major swing through the region. He made five stops in Greene County, hit Coon Rapids and spoke in Denison in recent days. The events are part of a 375-town tour of the 39-county 4th Congressional District.
Scholten said he is campaigning in all counties for a reason.
“So much in DC is just butting heads against the other side,” Scholten said. “I’ll always show up.”
About 30 cars ringed Scholten’s truck and RV — which he’s named Sioux City Sue — in Carroll for a “drive-in” campaign speech, one Scholten broadcast into voters’ vehicle radios.
The No. 1 topic Scholten hears about from voters: health care.
He supports getting to universal coverage with a public option as something of a temporary weigh station. The public option is a government plan that competes with private insurance coverage, giving consumers more choice and, Scholten believes, driving costs down. He’s also making a case for better “dental and mental” health-care coverage.
“If we are the wealthiest nation is the world, then let’s show it by how great our health-care system is,” Scholten said.
Alcohol and drug addiction are becoming more worrisome as people struggle in often-desperate rural economies, he said.
“The haves have gotten a lot richer, and the rest of us have struggled,” Scholten said.
He added, “Most of rural America has not bounced back from 2008, let alone what is happening now.”
Scholten blasted a tax system that allows large companies like Amazon to pay little or no taxes.
“I don’t even know if I know a lobbyist, but I sure know a hell know of a lot of you guys,” he said in Carroll.
Scholten sees the United States as being in a global economic and power showdown with China. It will take the full country, operating with success, to compete, he said.
“It can’t just be Silicon Valley versus China,” Scholten said.