Government

Progressive group backs Glasson for governor

'Iowa needs a nurse,' Citizens for Community Improvement leader says

Rod Boshart/Gazette Des Moines Bureau

Democrat Cathy Glasson of Coralville addresses members of the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund on Thursday after CCI officials announced she had won the group’s endorsement in the 2018 race for the Iowa Democratic Party’s nomination for governor.
Rod Boshart/Gazette Des Moines Bureau Democrat Cathy Glasson of Coralville addresses members of the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund on Thursday after CCI officials announced she had won the group’s endorsement in the 2018 race for the Iowa Democratic Party’s nomination for governor.

DES MOINES — Self-described progressive Coralville nurse and labor activist Cathy Glasson landed the support Thursday of the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund in her quest to be the Iowa Democratic Party’s candidate for governor in 2018.

“We’re supporting Cathy because Cathy supports us,” chanted CCI members who gathered at the 4,000-member activist network’s state headquarters to announce that Glasson’s endorsement.

“She’s a fighter, just like Iowa CCI Action is,” Cherie Mortice of Des Moines told a news conference where Glasson was greeted with shouts of “Iowa needs a nurse.”

Glasson, 58, said she was deeply honored by the organization’s support. She is one of seven candidates for the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Glasson is the president of Service Employees International Union Local 199. She’s a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics where she led unionizing efforts 18 years ago.

CCI officials said a 27-member endorsement panel spend two months reviewing candidate questionnaires, conducting four in-person candidate screenings and surveying members before backing Glasson in the Democratic primary.

They pledged the endorsement would be a “working endorsement,” with CCI Action members across the state organizing for Glasson and her “bold progressive” movement.

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“Together we are going to pursue the radically different idea of giving every Iowan a voice in state government again,” Glasson told the gathering. “It’s clear now is not the time for half measures. Now is the time to approach politics in a different way, to govern in a very different way. We need to bring regular Iowans to the decision-making process instead of shutting them out.”

Glasson called for raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, winning back and expanding collective bargaining and union rights for public workers in Iowa and expanding access to affordable health care for Iowans by pushing Congress to pass a “Medicare-for-all” approach.

“If Washington isn’t going to do the right thing, we’ll fight for universal single-payer right here in Iowa,” she said.

Glasson also supported imposing a moratorium on new permits for large-scale commercial animal feeding operations until the number of impaired waterways in Iowa is reduced from 750 to under 100 statewide.

“It’s our time. Let’s rise up,” she told the group.

Carlos Cruz, spokesman for the Republican Party of Iowa, weighed in on CCI’s choice after the endorsement.

“Given how Fred Hubbell, Andy McGuire and Nate Boulton have failed to speak up on issues like socialized medicine, it should come as no surprise to anyone that a liberal activist group like Iowa CCI has endorsed Cathy Glasson,” Cruz said in his statement. “As Democrats race to the far left, it’ll become increasingly clear that Democrats lack the vision or leadership necessary to succeed in a general election.”

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

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