GOP Senate hopeful Mark Jacobs calls for ‘politics of inclusion'

Aiding job growth among Jacob's priorities

Calling for a fresh start in Washington, Republican Mark Jacobs joined the race for the U.S. Senate, promising to bring people together to solve the nation’s problems.

“I’ll set a new tone that brings people together,” Jacobs said in Cedar Rapids Tuesday, one of 26 communities he’s visiting to announce his bid for the 2014 Republican nomination for the Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. “We’ve had enough of the politics of division in America. We need leadership by inclusion.”

Addressing about 50 people at Kirkwood Community College, Jacobs laid out priorities including reforming taxes and federal regulations, and expanding the domestic energy market to fuel job creation and economic growth. The core issue facing the nation is jobs, he said, because when people are employed, families do better, communities do better and opportunities for everyone increase.

If the nation can increase economic growth by 1 percent faster over the next 10 years it would wipe out more than half of the annual budget deficit, Jacobs said. He also wants to attack rising health care costs at the provider level by applying transparency and free market principles. Cutting waste is another are to cut costs without reducing services.

Jacobs enters an already-crowded field of Republicans who want to take on presumptive Democratic nominee Rep. Bruce Braley of Waterloo. Ankeny attorney Matt Whitaker, state Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak, former U.S. Senate staffer David Young, college professor Sam Clovis, attorney and author Paul Lunde and salesman Scott Schaben, both of Ames, already have spent months on the campaign trail.

Jacobs, 51, a married father of three who moved back to Iowa about a year ago after retiring as CEO of Houston-based Reliant Energy, criticized the “dysfunction” in Washington that give voters “the false choice of health care reform or keeping the government open.”

“The true choice is either electing another politician and expecting different results or choosing someone with a business perspective who can build coalitions and enshrine our conservative principles into law,” he said.

Bob Klaus of Cedar Rapids likes that choice.

“The thing that appeals to me is that he’s never been a politician or a lawyer,” the Republican activist said in introducing Jacobs. “We have enough of them.”

Washington, Klaus said, is in need of Jacob’s “real world” experience and commonsense.

His strength is in bringing people together to solve problems, Jacobs said. He sees parallels between a federal government “drowning in debt” and his experience at Reliant Energy, which faced a federal indictment for an energy trading scandal. He gathered stakeholders to work out an alternative plan to restructure Reliant’s $8.5 billion debt and repay it in two years.

“There’s a few more zeros on the balance sheet,” he said referring to the nation’s $17 trillion debt. “I know what it’s like to inherit a fiscal mess. I’ve worked on big problems before and I’ve proven that I can bring people together and solve problems. That’s what’s missing in Washington.”

For more on Jacobs, visit

Des Moines bureau reporter Mike Wiser contributed to this story

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