Name: Fred Hubbell
Residence: Des Moines
Occupation: Former businessman, former interim director Iowa Department of Economic Development, former chair of Iowa Power Fund
Education: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and University of Iowa Law School
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?
We must give hardworking families the support and respect they deserve while investing in the services they need to succeed. Gov. Reynolds’ wasteful corporate tax giveaways are not creating a good value for our state. Those dollars could instead be invested in health care and education. Every family needs improved access to quality, affordable health care. That means addressing our mental health crisis, restoring funding to Planned Parenthood, and reversing the disastrous privatization of Medicaid. The future of our state depends on a well trained workforce and getting Iowa back to being a national leader in education. We must get incomes rising by investing in our hardworking men and women.
What steps are needed to improve Iowa’s economy and create a stronger workforce? Would any of these steps focus on helping rural economies?
I want to build an economy where all Iowans can benefit. We should value Iowa’s workers by restoring collective bargaining rights and workers’ compensation laws. We need to make job training more accessible in every high school by supporting public-private partnerships and community colleges. The state should strengthen rural communities by building on their core — agriculture and manufacturing jobs, a strong public school system, and commerce supported by the courthouse and community hospital.
What should the future of Medicaid look like in Iowa?
Gov. Reynolds’ Medicaid system is in crisis: 40,000 Iowans have lost care. On Day One, I’ll start reversing the privatization of Medicaid and bring the system back under state oversight. Medicaid is not a “one size fits all” program, but its current structure places our most vulnerable citizens at risk. All Iowans deserve a transparent, affordable, and effective Medicaid system, focused on outcomes not profit margins.
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Polls show health care is a top concern among Iowans. What would you propose as governor to control the rising costs of health premiums and health care?
To lower the cost of health care, we must create more competition. The Reynolds administration has repeatedly undermined a competitive insurance market, most recently by signing a bill to draw customers into an unregulated market where Iowans can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. I would rein in cost by improving preventive care and telehealth in rural areas. As the former chair of Planned Parenthood, I want to guarantee Iowans access to quality, affordable health care.
What is your stance on providing tax credits and other incentives to companies to bring and keep their businesses in Iowa?
When I led the Iowa Power Fund, we made significant investments in renewable energy and scrutinized the projects to make sure they were financially sound. Fixing the state budget must include a comprehensive review of each tax credit to ensure it’s providing a good return on the investment. Projects like Iowa Fertilizer and Apple are costly examples many Iowans didn’t agree with. Incentives should be designed around a reasonable investment, a term of commitment, and a cap on the overall cost.
How will you approach funding for education as governor?
If our budget prioritizes education, we can properly fund quality, lifelong learning. Our public education system used to be No. 1 in the nation, but Iowa’s schools received a “C” grade this year. Gov. Reynolds’ 1 percent funding increases are insufficient; at the very least, education funding must keep up with the rate of inflation. We must invest in our public education system by fully funding universal pre-K for four year olds, quality K-12, and ensuring higher education is affordable.
Would you support increasing the state minimum wage, or do you propose other methods to help Iowans with lower incomes? If you do support an increase, to what level and why?
Iowa was 49th in the nation in personal income growth last year. Unemployment may be low, but incomes are stagnant and underemployment is high. According to United Way, nearly 40 percent of working families are not earning enough to provide for their basic needs of food, clothing and health care. We need to raise incomes and create good paying jobs by investing in Iowans. I support increasing the minimum wage and allowing local communities to determine what is best for their workforce and businesses.
Does Iowa need to do more to improve water quality? If so, how?
The Hubbell-Hart administration is committed to comprehensive and well funded efforts to improve water quality. Access to clean water isn’t a rural issue or an urban issue. It’s an Iowa issue, and we should pass comprehensive legislation that will address the effort head-on. We need to take into account local input from farmers and other stakeholders who would be directly affected by any decisions and make sure the federal government provides adequate resources for implementation.
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Do you think changes are needed in Iowa’s tax code? What would you propose?
We need to restore fiscal responsibility and end the wasteful corporate tax giveaways costing our state millions. By doing so, we can create a simpler, fairer tax code that benefits all working families, not just the top. The current tax code skews to the wealthy and big corporations at the expense of middle class families. Increasing the standard deduction, eliminating federal deductibility, and lowering tax rates would help the average family and lower income earners more than current policy.
What makes you the best choice to lead Iowa?
Years ago, I was asked by a Catholic nun to join the Mercy Hospital board while serving on the board of Planned Parenthood. I explained that both organizations were important to me, and I would not step down from one to support the other. The nun said, “There is far more we agree on than we disagree on.” We both wanted to ensure every Iowan received good health care, and knew there was a lot of good we could do together. That’s the bipartisan, common-sense approach I will bring to government.