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Scholten Talks ‘Iowa Values’ at Campaign Kickoff Event

By Grayson Schmidt, Staff Writer gschmidt@amestrib.com

Posted Aug 25, 2017 at 5:33 PMUpdated Aug 25, 2017 at 11:33 PM

In a room of just less than 100 people at the Gateway Conference Center, Iowa Fourth Congressional District Candidate JD Scholten made it known unlike his opponent, Rep. Steve King, he would not divide the people of his district.

“I feel this district deserves a representative who truly puts your needs first, someone who cares more about our values, and about building this district’s future, than he does dividing us apart,” Scholten said.

As part of his “Campaign Kickoff” event Friday, Scholten, 37, talked about his background growing up in northwest Iowa, his baseball career — domestically and abroad — and what life in Iowa taught him about fighting for his “teammates.”

Scholten spent the evening talking about issues such as economic development, and health care, which he seemed to be especially passionate about.

“Everybody in Iowa should have affordable, reasonable, and effective health care, period,” Scholten said. “We shouldn’t have a regular Iowan paying $15,000 to $20,000 per year for health care when we know we can do better, and we can do it for less.”

Scholten also spoke about the personal significance of last November, not only the 2016 Presidential Election, but the last month he got to spend with his grandmother, who inspired him to move back to Iowa from Seattle, and take care of the family farm.

“More than being bald or tall, the number one thing that defines me is my Iowa roots,” Scholten said. “This is how I can take of the farm, by ensuring that every farm, and every farmer, every city professional, every union worker, and every student, mother, father, and child in this district has somebody in Washington putting them first.”

This was Scholten’s second visit to Ames since announcing his candidacy, after making a campaign stop at London Underground in late July. Ames resident Jane Montgomery said that she wanted to see Scholten Friday night because she feels his values are exactly what is needed in congress, and to represent Iowa.

“His Iowa values sound like a great place to start, and that’s something that’s been missing here as of lately,” Montgomery said.

Scholten is the third candidate to announce his challenge to King, along with Spencer City Councilwoman Leann Jacobsen, and former Humboldt County Pastor Paul Dahl. King was first elected to Congress in 2003 and is in his eighth term after defeating Democratic challenger Kim Weaver in November’s General Election. Weaver mounted a brief repeat challenge to King earlier this year before withdrawing, citing family medical concerns and threats made against her.

Weaver has already endorsed Scholten, who was joined Friday night by several speakers including Democrats 25th Senate District candidate Tracy Freese, Third Congressional District candidate Austin Frerick, gubernatorial candidate John Norris, Ames Mayoral candidate Victoria Szopinski, and activists Jack Schuler and Bonnie Brown, the latter of whom was part of the counter-protests in Charlottesville, Va. earlier this month.

“Every individual can make a difference, and we can start here in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District by voting out Steve King, and replacing him with an upstanding candidate who will represent all the people,” Brown said. “By talking with JD, I know he has the energy and passion to beat Steve King, and compassion to represent all of us the way we deserve to be represented.”

For Norris, the former chief of staff to Gov. Tom Vilsack, said that King is on the path of leading the country “to the right”, and that Scholten is the candidate that will help move everyone “forward.”

“There’s a lot at stake here folks, and I’m glad people like JD are stepping up, stepping up to fight for you,” Norris said.

But what each of the speakers seemed to share, was their passion for someone who they believe can take the district from King. And Scholten appeared to share that same passion.

“Youthful stubbornness, an athlete’s energy, and a passion for helping others is a dangerous combination,” Scholten said. “Tell me this race is unwinnable; tell me Steve King is unbeatable, and that only adds fuel to my fire.”