Theresa Greenfield calls for ACA expansion to address small-business owners' top concern

U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield (right) speaks during a virtual campaign event Tuesday, July 14, 2020. She was
U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield (right) speaks during a virtual campaign event Tuesday, July 14, 2020. She was joined by (left to right) Brent Jenkins Jr. of Dream 511 in Cedar Rapids, Marshaundus Robinson of Alpha Express in Waterloo and Steve Shriver, owner of Eco Lips and four other Cedar Rapids businesses. (Handout photo)

DES MOINES — Drawing on her business experience from “bean walking to the boardroom,” Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield is calling for more government help for small businesses.

Her “Small Towns, Bigger Paychecks” plan is an economic agenda “that actually puts Iowa’s small businesses, workers and farmers first.”

Greenfield, who is challenging Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, listened Tuesday night to stories from a handful of Iowa small businesses and talked about the additional challenges they face because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“And today, we know that COVID-19 has played huge havoc with our businesses. So many are being closed just to protect our public health,” she said.

Greenfield, president of an eight-employee development company in Des Moines, said about half of Iowa’s small businesses have just enough funds to cover one month of typical expenses.

“Washington needs to do more to help our small businesses,” she told about 30 people who participated in a virtual campaign event.

Her plans also call for targeted investments like the state Small Business Credit Initiative and for the Small Business Administration to work with businesses in rural and underserved communities. Greenfield also wants more government investment in minority-owned businesses.

To help train the workforce, Greenfield called for debt-free community colleges and trade schools.


She also wants the government to stimulate job growth with an infrastructure program that would address roads, bridges, broadband and renewable clean energy. Greenfield also supports “buy American” plans.

However, as she traveled the state before the coronavirus pandemic, Greenfield said the No. 1 concern she heard from small-business owners was health care.

Business owners “talk about it from a cost perspective, whether its premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses,” she said. They’re concerned about the costs of prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and what services they will lose if their local hospitals close.

“There were so many challenges they could overcome by being creative, putting in a few extra hours, collaborating with another business,” she said, “but overcoming the need for health care was something they couldn’t do.”

Greenfield wants to expand and enhance the Affordable Care Act by creating a public option.

Her full plan can be found at

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