116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — State Auditor Rob Sand insists his tour of Iowa’s 100 county seats is not a warm-up for a campaign for governor.
Sand, elected Iowa state auditor in 2018, is frequently mentioned as a Democrat likely to seek his party’s nomination to challenge Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in 2022. In June, Sand told The Gazette he is praying for guidance about whether to run.
As part of his tour, Sand spoke to about 20 people gathered on lawn chairs and park benches at Greene Square on Thursday evening.
“We’ll talk about politics to some degree because I’m in an elected office, we’ll talk about the business of government,” he said. “But campaigns — we’ll try to avoid that.”
Sand touted the April ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court that the University of Iowa must turn over documents to the Auditor’s Office that name the investors in its $1.65 billion public-private utility partnership.
“I think for a long time we’ve had state government where people in very comfortable positions never get made to feel uncomfortable,” Sand said. “What they’re doing at the end of the day, whether they’re doing it well or doing it poorly, is the public’s business.”
Sand also cited his Public Innovation and Efficiencies program, designed to help local governments improve efficiency, as an accomplishment.
“Both have to do with accountability and responsiveness in government, two things that are high on my list of priorities,” he said.
Sand said he’s hearing Iowans voice concerns about privatizing Medicaid, which Sand has investigated in the past, and the influx of money coming to local governments through the American Rescue Plan.
“We’ve had lots of questions about the American Rescue Plan,” he said. “It’s such a huge amount of money, and it’s coming in to cities and counties that don’t typically have the opportunity to spend that amount of money.”
Sand, 38, said he’s completed around 50 of his 100 stops at county seat cities. (Iowa has 99 counties, but Lee County has two county seats — Fort Madison and Keokuk.) He was headed straight to Iowa City after his Cedar Rapids stop.
Sand said while he is undertaking his Iowa tour in his official capacity as state auditor, he is paying his own mileage and hotel stays.
State Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, has announced his intention to seek the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination in 2022, as have long-shot Democratic candidates Joshua Kuhn-McRoberts and Kim West.
In April, Sand said he had ruled out a run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Chuck Grassley.
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