As a candidate, my goal of “Standing Tall for All” is simple:
Fighting for an economy that works for all of us, putting Main Street ahead of Wall Street on behalf of family farmers and working families
A health care system that is affordable and accessible for all of us to ensure that Iowans never again need to worry about healthcare as a barrier to living free, productive, and successful lives.
Putting Iowa values back at the center of public service by having a government that works for us, not corporate interests and mega donors.
Every stand I take in Congress will be in pursuit of these goals, and the needs of the people in Iowa’s 4th Congressional district.
PROVIDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL
Building a Sustainable Rural Economy
I stand for Iowa’s – and the 4th district’s – potential to lead in agricultural technology and advanced manufacturing. We have the resources and the innovation to build a thriving rural economy. Iowa leads the nation in corn, hogs, eggs, biodiesel, ethanol, wind energy and more. We have the best land, the brightest minds, and the hardest working people in the country. That’s why I support fair trade policies and reformed trade agreements like NAFTA designed to benefit this district and not just Wall Street: so we can strengthen traditional industries and small businesses, and invest in new ones.
Preserving Family Farms and Sustainable Agriculture
I stand for our family farmers: they are a back-bone of my district and of Iowa, and agriculture runs deep in my family history. Four straight years of depressed commodity prices and an irresponsible trade war initiated by the President means farm incomes are expected to be the worst since 2002. The farmer’s share of the retail food dollar is now at all time lows, with farmers earning less than 15 cents per dollar. I will fight for open and fair markets for our farmers and against the corporate consolidation of our food and agriculture system that has made it hard for family farmers to survive. When meat packing, grain processing and seed markets are controlled only by 3-4 companies that effectively control prices, farmers are squeezed on both the input side and output side.
We need to reinforce farms policies that support independent family farmers and give local control to communities to protect their air and water quality from the impacts of corporate hog farms. We need a strong and flexible Conservation Title within the Farm Bill that balances environmental needs with farmers’ concerns and continue investing in local and regional food systems and new crops like the Iowa-native aronia berry and hemp.
Investment in Infrastructure
I stand for rapidly scaling up investment in our nation’s infrastructure, supporting broader economic opportunity, creating jobs and revenue for our communities, and improving quality of life. In Iowa this means:
Improving our crumbling farm-to-market roads, bridges, regional airports and highways (including finally finishing Hwy 20!).
Providing high speed, broadband internet to all rural communities so that every 4th district student and business owner has the same ability to connect with the world.
Updating the pipes and water systems of our towns to ensure healthy, drinkable water.
Workers’ Rights And The Right to Bargain
I stand for revitalizing unions and giving more bargaining power to all workers, rights that are under assault both by the Supreme Court and the Iowa State legislature. Attacks on workers’ rights and collective bargaining are cynical and disingenuous. Whether boilermakers or agricultural workers, teachers or police officers: workers built this country, and they are the ones building our future. They have a right to negotiate for good wages, good working conditions and a chance for a good retirement without being demonized in favor of corporate profits or lower taxes for the wealthiest.
Tax Reform for Regular People
I stand for reforming our tax code in a way that benefits the middle class instead of millionaires and multinational corporations. Tax rates that favor Wall Street investments over regular income need to go, and corporations and the wealthy should be paying a fair share of taxes across the board to help fund basic services, as well as investment in public goods like infrastructure that enabled their success, as well as the success of others. We can simplify and potentially lower business taxes, but it should be done to ensure that benefits go to small businesses first, and that big companies pay their fair share, bringing jobs and profits home. The Republican Tax Bill has overwhelmingly gone to stock buybacks, enriching CEOs far more than Iowans still looking for a pay raise. $29 billion went to Berkshire Hathaway alone in Omaha! Meanwhile the U.S. is now confronting record high deficits thanks to these fiscally irresponsible tax cuts, threatening the future of Social Security and Medicare.
Access to High-Quality Education
I stand for ensuring that everyone has access to quality schools and job-training, regardless of income level or geographic location in this state. In this country, cost should never be a barrier to a quality education, and I would never cut corners on investing in our most precious resource: the future of our children. In Iowa this means:
Bringing together educators, employers, and workers to help come up with new and innovative ways to produce and train the next generation of skilled workers.
Exploring ways to make community colleges and public universities tuition free for qualifying students; and investing in student loan debt assistance.
Investing in rural schools and community, junior and technical colleges.
A Higher Minimum Wage
I stand for passing a higher minimum wage. Iowa’s economy may have a low unemployment rate, but wages have not risen and families are falling further behind. I believe that cost-of-living adjustments should be taken into account, as what works for San Francisco may be different than Sioux City. No one should ever find themselves working a back-breaking full-time job and yet still be unable to lift themselves up out of poverty or provide better lives for their children. A higher minimum wage improves livelihoods, and there is zero evidence that it stifles economic growth or reduces competitiveness. I have seen it embraced in cities whose economies are booming today.
Building a Healthcare System That Works
I stand for providing everyone in Iowa with access to affordable, reasonable, effective healthcare as the foundation for a better future. Period. The U.S. spends more money per person on healthcare than any country in the world, without better outcomes: out of the top 12 wealthiest countries, the U.S. is 12th in life expectancy. 1 out of 3 campaigns on GoFundMe are to fund medical bills, making them a defacto insurance company. In my travels around the district on “Sioux City Sue,” I often encounter donation boxes in gas stations dedicated to folks suffering from cancer or other illnesses. These are unacceptable solutions to our health care crisis.
Improving the Affordable Care Act
I stand for creating a healthcare system that: 1) covers as many as possible; 2) puts efficiency, sustainability and results over profits; and 3) makes it easy to use while pushing people to take their own responsibility for their health. Healthcare isn’t easy, but I am sick of Washington putting petty politics above people. The Affordable Care Act is a start: now let’s create a final product that really works. We need to allow the government to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs, and to invest in innovative ways to control costs and incentivize more efficient care — all without ever getting between a patient and their doctor or their healthcare needs.
In Iowa, Medicaid privatization has led to higher costs and less choice, and puts the lives of the most vulnerable among us at risk. As a long-term goal, I believe a Medicare-for-all healthcare system offers the most benefits at lowest cost. So let’s start by providing a public option to bring competition to Iowa’s healthcare exchange and offering a Medicare buy-in for those 55 and older.
Keeping Rural Doctors and Hospitals Open, Expanding Mental Health Services
I stand for proactive policies that end the threat of shuttered hospitals and rural doctor shortages. We need a real strategy for providing healthcare to rural citizens: employing job incentives, innovations like telemedicine, and smart mechanisms for subsidizing rural facilities where the market alone isn’t providing enough support. It is the primary job of government to meet the need of citizens when the free market alone isn’t enough. This is especially true in rural areas, which should never have to suffer lack of services for love of the land. With rural and farm suicide rates higher than other populations, it is urgent that we expand the availability of mental health services in rural areas.
“STANDING TALL FOR ALL” VALUES
Taking Care of Our Veterans
I stand for increased funding and the modernization of the Veteran’s Administration and their rules and regulations. This is a non-partisan issue: we owe our veterans the best possible care and support in honor of their service to our country. They were there for us, and no veteran should ever have to worry that our country isn’t there for them.
Protecting Our Seniors
I stand for protecting and expanding Social Security and Medicare to ensure that all seniors can enjoy the retirement that they have earned. Our first principle should always be to protect the promise we made to Americans under these programs. Neither should be privatized, because companies are inherently driven by profits; there is no shame in that, but government is the only institution whose sole motivation should be the protection and well-being of its citizens.
Supporting the 2nd Amendment
I stand in support of the 2nd Amendment and the rights of law-abiding Iowans to bear arms. My neighbor, Bob, has five AR-15s and he and I both agree that there is no problem with his right to own them, but that the Las Vegas, Parkland, Orlando, Sandy Hook mass murderers should not have been allowed to own such firearms. I believe we can find much common ground to prevent more senseless gun violence. Local law enforcement should play a key role in minimizing access to weapons by terrorists, domestic violence abusers and mentally ill people who should not have them. I also believe strongly in preserving wildlife habitat and investing in conservation so that we can continue to hunt pheasants and quail.
Common Ground on Reducing Abortion
As a Catholic, I have my own personal views on abortion. However, just as Prohibition failed to cure alcoholism by banning liquor, I believe a blanket ban on abortion that criminalizes women’s healthcare decisions and throws doctors into jail does not solve the problem of too many unplanned pregnancies. While the highly personal decision to terminate a pregnancy should be left to women in consultation with their doctor and spiritual advisors, we know what can actually work to reduce abortions and I believe much common ground exists on this divisive issue. In Congress, I plan on fighting for solutions that include: ensuring women have access to contraception and health care, teaching age-appropriate sex education in schools, and insisting on paid family leave, expanding adoption and foster care and better child care policies to make it easier for new parents to care for newborns. The United States also has some of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world and only in the U.S. are more American women dying of pregnancy-related complications. We should also focus on the lives of these vulnerable women and babies.
Supporting Americans with Disabilities
I stand for Iowa’s proud history in disability rights, with Senator Tom Harkin leading the charge to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act. We should honor his legacy and the needs of our most vulnerable citizens by continuing to ensure equal opportunity and equal access to care for all.
I stand for protecting our planet. And I believe that the scientific and economic evidence is clear: investment in green technologies, conservation, and a cleaner planet creates jobs, improves people’s health, and builds pathways to a better, more innovative future for everyone. Iowa’s wind energy revolution is just one example. Over 37% of our electricity comes from wind! At a national level, addressing climate change should be a high priority before its impacts on our weather and agriculture are irreversible. And we need to ensure that every American has access to clean water by managing the impact of agriculture without casting blame and undercutting our independent farmers.
Campaign Finance Reform
I stand for rules that minimize the amount of corporate and special-interest money flooding our political system. It doesn’t matter what party you belong to: when the wealthy and the powerful can spend without restrictions or accountability, it drowns out the voices of everyday citizens and undercuts the basic tenets of a free democracy. For this reason, I am proud that my campaign does not rely on ANY corporate PAC money.
I stand for common sense on immigration. Protecting Iowa’s workers means getting a handle on illegal immigration. We need to protect our borders, but we also need to bring those who are here out of the shadows. There should be a path to legal status, so immigrants can join unions and organize, so they can report crimes, and so our businesses that do it right, by hiring Iowans, and by hiring union, are not put at a competitive disadvantage. It is the right thing to do. It is the moral thing to do. It is time for comprehensive immigration reform.
I stand for equality and civil rights for ALL, without hesitation and without caveats. No one should be discriminated against because of who they are when it has no impact of the lives or well-being of others. That is not what this country stands for.
The Inalienable Right to Vote
I stand for automatic voter registration so we can make it easier to vote, more flexible voting mechanisms like mail-in ballots and early voting hours, and nonpartisan independent redistricting. The most fundamental right of citizenship is the right to vote for your government representatives. No one should ever be denied that right when it is their due, especially not because of baseless and hypocritical complaints about non-existent “voter fraud.” Voter restrictions and gerrymandering are crass attempts by the powerful to keep their power, when the voters in this district are the only ones who should have the right to determine their fate.
I stand for the people of our district. Steve King seems to have forgotten them in favor of angry and offensive rhetoric, catering to corporate interests and quick headlines that only embarrass our great state while refusing to show up at town halls and any public events. Iowa’s 4th needs a voice that cares more about showing up and building our district’s future than it does about dividing us apart.