Government

Rita Hart's first bill in U.S. House would be to reform it

Rita Hart, then a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, speaks during a rally for the congressional campaign of
Rita Hart, then a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, speaks during a rally for the congressional campaign of Abby Finkenauer and the gubernatorial campaign of Fred Hubbell in October 2018 at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids. Hart is running for the U.S. House seat now held by Rep. Dave Loebsack, who is retiring. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Iowa congressional candidate Rita Hart is calling for reforms she believes are necessary for addressing corruptions and “reinvigorating our democracy.”

“To make progress on the issues we all care about — health care, jobs, justice, public safety, and education, we need to fundamentally change how Washington does business so every voice can be heard,” said Hart, a six-year state senator now running for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

“Too often in Washington, the loudest and most powerful voices drown out the rest of us” because special interests use money and influence to stymie progress,” she says in an essay posted at Medium.com today.

If elected, Hart writes, she will be a “strong, caring and independent voice, to bring about real change, to provide real solutions to our toughest challenges” for voters in the 24-county southeast Iowa congressional district.”

Hart, 64, a farmer and 20-year educator from Wheatland who is running for the seat now held by retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack, will face Republican state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, 64, of Ottumwa.

Miller-Meeks welcomed Hart’s concerns about what Iowans have known for a long time: “Washington is broken, dysfunctional and corrupt.”

“That begs the question: Why does she support Nancy Pelosi and the coastal elites who believe Washington should have more power and control over our lives?” Miller-Meeks said.

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Hart’s reform plan is a result of one of the most common things Hart hears on the campaign trail: a desire for reform and change, said her campaign manager, Zach Meunier.

Hart, who has been endorsed by End Citizens United, a political action committee that takes its name from the Supreme Court decisions that loosened regulations on campaign spending for corporations and unions, wants to prohibit members of Congress from becoming lobbyists and ban owning individual stocks or serving on corporate boards that could lead to conflicts of interest.

Hart favors a “no budget, no pay” law to withhold congressional members’ pay until they pass a budget.

She also wants changes in redistricting to prevent gerrymandering, expand voting by mail and overturn the Citizen United decision through legislation.

“Politics should always be about putting people first, and that’s why I want the first bill I vote on to be tackling political corruption in Washington,” Hart said.

Although the candidates agree Washington corruption is a problem, the election will offer 2nd District voters a clear choice, Miller-Meeks said.

“Anyone who wants more dysfunction and corruption should vote for the people who want more power and money concentrated in Washington,” Miller-Meeks said. “Anyone who believes it’s time for a fresh, new approach and that (Iowans) make the best decisions about their lives ... should vote for me.”

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

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