Three candidates for governor painted three very different pictures of Iowa over the past week at the State Fair.
Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, Democrat Fred Hubbell and Libertarian Jake Porter have all delivered speeches at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox in Des Moines. Which politician gave an accurate depiction? That probably depends on where you live, what you do for work, and how you get your health care.
Hubbell kicked off the gubernatorial series last weekend. He delivered a gloomy view of our state under the leadership of Reynolds, former Gov. Terry Branstad and a GOP-controlled Iowa Legislature. In his view, Republicans are “virtually running our state into the ground” by defunding Planned Parenthood, privatizing Medicaid and underfunding education.
“They’ve continued to fully prioritize and fund what I call wasteful tax giveaways. So the combination of all those cuts and the funding going in the wrong direction with the wrong priorities is causing a lot of harm and suffering all across our state,” Hubbell told supporters.
Hubbell’s agenda revolves around increasing government spending on the programs he thinks have been ignored, but it’s not clear how Hubbell would pay for it. He says he will eliminate tax breaks, but he hasn’t said which ones he would ax or how much revenue it would generate.
On Thursday, Reynolds gave a glowing review of her own work as governor and lieutenant governor, rattling off a list of Iowa’s high marks from independent scorekeepers in areas like high school graduation rate, unemployment levels and the cost of doing business, and also downplaying the state’s sloppy budget management.
“I know the other side wants to think everything is doom and gloom and Iowa is going to hell in a handbasket. I’m sorry, it is not. No, it’s not,” Reynolds told the State Fair crowd.
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Reynolds, who did not mention Hubbell, counted Iowa’s historic tax cut package and authorizing an alternative to Affordable Care Act plans among the legislative accomplishments in her first year as state executive. She also noted bills for job training, mental health care reform and suicide prevention earned widespread bipartisan support.
“I could not be prouder of three pieces of significant legislation that we got passed this year where we put Iowans first and we moved Iowa forward,” Reynolds said.
And third-party hopeful Porter on Monday said status quo policymaking has failed Iowans. He’s calling to end corporate welfare, eliminate outdated state programs and restore local control for things like hog confinements and education policy.
“Democrats get in power, Republicans get in power, they use the budget as a weapon to defund the things the other side likes,” Porter said.
Porter also challenged politicians to be “Iowa nice” in debating policy proposals.
“There’s a lot of attacks going on right now, political attacks, partisan B.S. that happens … but we’re not going to do any attacks today. We’re going to talk about the solutions, not the problems so much, but the solutions to the problems Iowa faces,” Porter said.
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