Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District J.D. Scholten returned once more to the city of Spencer as he continues to meet voters on the campaign trail ahead of the upcoming general election. Scholten addressed voters with a drive-in rally in the Southpark Mall parking lot on Saturday evening, being broadcast into the vehicles parked around the Democratic candidate. Scholten outlined his five campaign promises: Iowans over political party, showing up for the 4th District, fix health care, fight for an economy that works for everyone and secure our democracy from special interests; which were printed on the back of baseball cards given to supporters.
“When it comes to health care, almost every stop where we’ve had a dialogue, every town hall, farm forum, almost everything reverts back to health care is the No. 1 issue,” Scholten said. “… It’s overwhelming how many health care stories there are just from this district alone. I want talk about two, one is a mentor of mine. He’s a successful attorney, I was working as a paralegal, he took me under his wing. Last fall he was diagnosed with cancer. After four months of going through chemo and fighting, what happened was his insurance company called him and said ‘your doctor is no longer in your network.’ At a time when he’s fighting for his life he has to switch doctors and it’s inhumane. We need a better system. … Last year in Hardin County a woman told us she needs an inhaler and her doctor prescribes a 30-day prescription. After 30 days she needs a new one so it was costing her $244 a month. She told her doctor, ‘doc I can’t afford that anymore, so the doctor goes ‘well here’s one that’s cheaper but it’s less puffs.’ After a few more months she’s like again, ‘this is too expensive.’ Finally the doctor told her, ‘just go up to Canada.’ That’s where we’re at. We are the wealthiest nation in the world and we have a system where we tell people ‘go up to Canada to get your prescription drugs’ and that’s wrong.
He continued, “I want to fight for universal health care. I want to continue to fight, what the next logical step seems to be is a robust public option. And I’m for that but we need to continue on until we have absolute universal health care. And we need to make sure we protect preexisting conditions, we need to make sure Medicare and Social Security things that are being threatened right now, not only do we protect them but we expand them. We need to make sure prescription drugs are available and you don’t have to go bankrupt just to stay healthy. All these things add up.”
Fielding questions from the audience, Scholten was asked if he expected a debate with his competition for the 4th District seat, state Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull. Scholten said his campaign has said yes to “any place, any time.”
“We have said yes to every single debate,” Scholten said. “There was a forum here early on, with me, Senator Feenstra and Sen. Joni Ernst, but a forum is not a debate. We’ve said yes to every single debate where we can actually talk about issues and question each other on issues, and have that dialogue back and forth. The problem is they have said no officially to three debates including KTIV’s. … They also have not responded to the majority of the ones being offered.
He added, “It is way different than last cycle in the sense that last cycle we had a 16-year incumbent who didn’t think he was much in a challenge, but we showed him wrong. This is a race that’s neck and neck. The polls are showing that. … This is, we absolutely need to have a debate, this is democracy.”
During the question and answer session Scholten also touched on criminal justice reform, to which the candidate said subjects like mandatory minimums and cash bail are things that need to be talked about more.
“The other thing I think we should talk more and more about is private prisons,” Scholten said. “We should not have a prison system that incentivize keeping people in for profits.”
Scholten ended the drive-in rally by telling the audience of his excitement for the 4th District race, which was answered by the blaring sound of honks of support from the more than three dozen vehicles parked around the candidate and his RV, Sioux City Sue.
“This race is going to come down to the wire,” Scholten said. “… We are in a special spot and everything, we’re right where we need to be.”