Despite polls indicating Americans and Iowans are fed up with Congressional stalemates, primary voters saw fit to place two very partisan individuals on the November ballot.
Pat Murphy is quite well known after two decades in the Iowa Legislature and as a member of the Democratic leadership team in the House.
Rod Blum, a former Eastern Iowa newspaper columnist and previous political candidate, is likewise a mostly known entity.
The personal platforms of the candidates rarely break stride with the platforms of their respected political affiliations, and each has done his best to Spackle and camouflage any apparent separations.
For this race, a rare open seat within Iowa’s federal delegation with no third-party candidate on the ballot, we wanted to know which of the two men held a realistic view of what a first-year congressman could accomplish, and who could best play with others in a bipartisan way.
Blum is best suited for this task.
“(The Affordable Care Act) was a big law, one of the biggest we have passed as a nation,” Blum said during our interview with him. “I’m a firm believer that anything that big should be bipartisan.”
When laws are debated and ultimately approved in a bipartisan way — when input from both sides of the aisle is included, he said, there is a much better chance at success.
“Democrats don’t have a corner on great ideas; neither do Republicans,” he said.
That sentiment was threaded throughout Blum’s responses to our questions regarding national security, immigration, health care, education, environment, economy and more.
“I’m not interested in Republican-only solutions any more than I’m interested in a Democrat-only solution,” he said. “Government has a role to play.”
Blum would like a comprehensive review of federal regulations and a temporary moratorium on new regulations while the review is underway.
“I may not always agree, but I do respect other people’s opinions,” he said. “I respect people enough to at least listen to their point of view.”
Blum believes if the most conservative and most liberal members of Congress were pushed into a room and forced to develop a list of 100 things that could help the middle class, workable solutions would follow.
“Shouldn’t we be able to at least talk — at least have open and transparent debates? It seems like we’re playing politics with American lives,” he said.
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