2018 ELECTION: 1ST DISTRICT

1st District race about who will lead, Ramsey says

Democratic candidate has been on listening tour

George Ramsey III, running for U.S. House 1st District.
George Ramsey III, running for U.S. House 1st District.

CEDAR RAPIDS — The 2018 congressional contest in northeast Iowa isn’t just about Rep. Rod Blum, according to a Democrat who is joining the race to replace the GOP incumbent.

Blum is part of the problem in Washington where “Republicans are doing a very good job of dismantling many of the key things that impact Iowans,” said George Ramsey III of Cedar Rapids, who is in the early stages of building his campaign organization.

Ramsey, 49, quietly has been conducting a listening tour of the 20-county 1st District that includes Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Marshalltown, Waterloo and Cedar Falls to learn what’s on the minds of voters.

“People are hurting in this district; they’re very concerned,” he said. “They don’t know from day-to-day if they are going to lose benefits they need.”

Many of the concerns are related to proposed changes in health care, Medicare and Medicaid and agriculture programs, especially those that help small farmers, he said. Other concerns include the potential loss of education funding and the need to raise the minimum wage.

In addition to Ramsey, Thomas Heckroth of Cedar Falls, Courtney Rowe of Cedar Rapids and state Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque are seeking the Democratic nomination. Linn County Supervisors Stacey Walker and Brent Oleson, and state Sen. Jeff Danielson of Waterloo, are considering it.

Ramsey believes all four candidates so far for the Democratic nomination in the 1st District understand the concerns and care passionately about them.

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So rather than being about Blum, Ramsey said, the race “is about making sure the person who will represent the 1st District is truly going to be able to go and answer the call when people need them to stand up and be courageous, to speak out against those things that are truly going to affect them and champion those things that they really need to be able to thrive.

“In the end, people will elect someone based on who they believe will best be able to be a leader in Washington and someone who will be able to provide more results. That’s what’s going to make me different in this race,” he said.

Ramsey spent 32 years in the Army, including a stint in Waterloo as a recruiter. Now, he and his wife, Dorice, the executive director of the Jane Boyd House, live in Cedar Rapids where he is the talent management officer at Four Oaks, a human services agency working with children and families.

Ramsey plans to an early September campaign rollout.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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