ELECTION 2020

Greenfield proposes new round of pandemic aid

Democrat calls for expanding Affordable Care Act

U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield stands Tuesday by a 1978 Chevrolet Nova that was owned by her first husband, wh
U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield stands Tuesday by a 1978 Chevrolet Nova that was owned by her first husband, who was killed in a workplace accident. (Rod Boshart/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Democratic senatorial candidate Theresa Greenfield outlined plans Tuesday to keep Iowans safe in the COVID-19 pandemic while rebuilding the economy with a new federal relief package that would include $1,200 direct payments and resume $600 weekly aid to idled workers.

Greenfield said her “Back on Our Feet” plan calls for following guidelines of public health experts to slow the coronavirus spread by expanding access to testing, investing in contact tracing and implementing a mask mandate.

“I think we are still in a very serious crisis,” Greenfield told reporters during a news conference for which she arrived in a 1978 Chevrolet Nova she said was a beloved car owned by her first husband, Rod, an electrical worker who died in a job accident.

To help meet the pandemic’s two-pronged health and economic assaults, she called for expanding paid sick leave for affected workers, restoring the expanded $600 federal unemployment benefit, setting emergency temporary standards for front-line workers, and providing urgent economic relief to small businesses along with another round of direct payments for families and relief for state and local governments.

Greenfield’s approach also seeks to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act by creating a public option and allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs.

“We also need meaningful investments in a robust infrastructure plan, expanding skills training, apprenticeships and debt-free community college,” she said, “and rebuilding our farm economy and biofuels industry.”

Greenfield said the struggles she had encountered in her life taught her the importance of job and health security as well as the need for elected officials to keep promised Social Security and Medicare benefits for Iowans.

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By contrast, she said, her opponent — first-term Sen. Joni Ernst, a Red Oak Republican — has “forgotten” about Iowans and the challenges they are confronting at a time when bankruptcy rates are at an eight-year high, families are worried about losing their health care and seniors are getting gouged with high prescription drug costs.

“She’s had six years and she’s forgotten about Iowans. She voted to take away our health care and gut protections for preexisting conditions,” Greenfield said. “She forgot about Iowans when she said the bank is not open for more relief and she has refused to publicly apologize to our health care workers for spreading conspiracy theories. Sen. Joni Ernst, if you don’t believe in our health care workers, why should they believe in you?”

In response, the Ernst campaign issued a transcript and a video clip from the Monday night’s debate between Greenfield and Ernst that focused on a question about keeping Social Security solvent and Greenfield’s answer.

“From her constant refusal to give straight answers to her false, empty rhetoric meant to scare seniors, it’s become clear that Theresa Greenfield will not tell Iowans the truth about where she stands — even on an issue she’s made the centerpiece of her campaign. Why? Because Theresa Greenfield’s plan for Social Security is to let it go bankrupt,” said Team Joni spokesperson Melissa Deatsch.

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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