Name: Abby Finkenauer
Occupation: State representative, House District 99
Education: Drake University
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans and our country, and how would you address them as a U.S. representative?
I have spent my life fighting for working families like mine. In the state House, I wasn’t just a vote, I was a voice for the thousands of hard working men and women in my district and across the state who are just trying to get by. In Washington, I’ll continue that fight to ensure Iowans have access to affordable health care and good jobs at good wages, while we invest in our infrastructure. And I’ll be willing to work with anyone, regardless of party, to get it done.
Do you support President Donald Trump’s approach to trade and tariffs? Why or why not?
There’s no question that we must hold countries like China who engage in abusive trade practices accountable. But we can’t do that by using our farmers as poker chips and causing real pain to our economy. And we need to do it with a comprehensive strategy in place that I haven’t yet seen. Our farmers are already projected to lose up to $2.2 billion because of Washington’s trade war. That’s not acceptable to me, and I’ll fight to protect Iowa farmers and workers in Congress.
What will you propose or support in Congress to protect and promote Iowa’s farming economy?
We need to stop letting our farmers fall victim to partisan political games in Washington and start working together to get things done. It’s unacceptable that the farm bill has been allowed to expire because Washington can’t agree on anything. I’ve put out a plan to get Congress focused on passing real policy that helps our farmers, including investing in family farms, expanding access to capital for farmers, ensuring access to trade markets, and restoring our research and development programs.
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What steps are needed to help grow and retain Iowa’s workforce, especially in more rural areas?
We must invest in our infrastructure so we can both create good jobs now while improving our roads and bridges, locks and dams, and expanding broadband to our rural communities and strengthen our economy for the future to ensure we’ve enabled our businesses to thrive. We also must ensure we are preparing all our workers for the good jobs we have open. That includes investing in our apprenticeship programs and skilled worker programs all across the state to expand opportunities for Iowans.
Do you believe Congress should increase the federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25?
We must raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage where folks can work 40 hours a week and not live in poverty. At the same time wages, are different whether you’re living in Iowa or you’re living in New York City. I want to make sure that we are empowering our states and our communities to raise their wages to a level that provides a living wage for all workers and fits the local economy. This minimum must be tied to cost of living increases so it keeps pace with a growing economy.
What steps are needed to control the rising costs of health premiums and health care?
I’ll fight back against any attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut protections for Iowans with pre-existing conditions. And I’ll fight to make health care more affordable by offering a public option that lets Iowans buy into Medicare at a younger age, which will reduce costs and save money. We also must bring down the cost of prescription drugs by increasing transparency and allowing Medicare to negotiate with the prescription drug companies for better prices.
What is your approach to immigration reform? What steps will you propose or support in Congress?
Our current system is broken and Congress needs to do its job to fix it. We absolutely need comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens our borders through the use of smart technology and lets immigrants come out of the shadows to strengthen our communities and our economy. That must include passing the DREAM Act for individuals who were brought to this country as children and are now building a better life through getting a college degree or serving in the military.
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If you are elected, what efforts would you make to listen to and include those who have political beliefs which don’t match your own? How would you communicate with your constituents?
I grew up in a typical Iowa family that didn’t always agree on politics, but we never let that get between us. I’ll work with anyone, of either party, that’s willing to come together in good faith to better our communities, our state or our country. Listening to and communicating with Eastern Iowans is one of the most important duties of any leader, and I’ll always seek out the views and ideas of those I’m representing — just like I’ve done at the state House.
Why are you the best candidate to represent this district in Iowa?
I grew up in a small town outside of Dubuque, the daughter of a union pipefitter-welder and a public school employee at a time when if you worked hard, you could make it. But today, Washington is making that promise harder and harder. This is personal to me. I’m going to Congress to represent my friends, my family, my neighbors and my community by fighting for good jobs at good wages, affordable health care, strong public education and so much more so we can restore that promise.