1st District Democrat Gary Kroeger has added an important name to his corner for his Congressional campaign. Timi Brown-Powers, the freshman State Representative from Waterloo, has endorsed Kroeger. Brown-Powers had previously backed Monica Vernon and often attended her events earlier in this year and last, but recently decided to align herself with Team Kroeger.
“We need the candidate who can win in that district, and of the four, I only have faith in two of them, with Gary Kroeger being the one I feel I can hold the most accountable,” Brown-Powers says of the competitive 1st District field, having not been as impressed with Ravi Patel or Swati Dandekar (who may announce soon). “I like Monica Vernon, I don’t have anything negative to say. I think the race will be good between her and Gary.”
A large reason why Brown-Powers now supports Kroeger is thanks to his active approach to his campaign. “I like how he’s coming out and answering the tough questions,” she says. “I like how he’s making himself available and moving throughout the district – he’s not just staying in Black Hawk County, and he’s hitting events everywhere … I think that’s where we may have fell short last time. You can’t just count on your hometown to get you through this.”
Kroeger has worked hard throughout his candidacy to position himself as the progressive voice for Democrats to take on freshman Republican Congressman Rod Blum. He’s been particularly outspoken on the Trans-Pacific Partnership as it’s moved it way through Congress.
“He is more progressive, and I think that’s a great thing,” says Brown-Powers. “I think Monica is more on the conservative side and I think she’ll stay there. Which is fine, but I do think we’re seeing a turn where people are wanting some leadership that is a little more progressive.”
“He’s going to have to be open-minded to all the constituents,” she notes, however. “He’s also going to need to have an understanding of those who are a little more conservative and have concerns, and represent those people as well. I don’t think that we’ve seen that with [Rod Blum], so it’ll be nice to have someone who comes back and communicates with the constituents.”
Brown-Powers is a nice get for Kroeger’s campaign, who’s been gaining momentum in his bid to win the nomination. True, she’s from his home county, but it’s an encouraging sign for the former actor-turned-politician. First time candidates like Kroeger often have to prove themselves more than those who have demonstrated previous electoral success, and endorsements like these are useful for that. Still, Vernon maintains a very wide lead in the number of elected officials and labor unions backing her campaign.
“He doesn’t have a lot of experience, per se, in politics, but I didn’t either,” Brown-Powers points out. “What I have found is if you’re a person who’s willing to listen and represent the people, that gets you a lot further. He’s very personable, which is going to be an asset to Gary, and he has great speaking skills. He’s dynamic when you’re listening to him. To be quite honest, I think the Democratic Party needs some dynamic-ness to it, because we need to re-energize. I feel like Gary’s going to help us re-energize.”
by Pat Rynard