After serving Cedar Rapids as a State Representative and a State Senator for 13 years, Senator Rob Hogg now sets his sights on the U.S. Senate seat up in 2016.
“We badly need Congress to work again,” he explained as his motivation to run. “For our state, our people, our country, and our future.”
Hogg, who credits his time working within state government as an important learning experience, is interested in securing results from the federal legislature.
“Congress [has turned] into a debating society,” he says. “Sometimes the news media will give lots of ink to an investigation or a hearing, and those are all functions of a legislative body at some level, but when that’s all they’re doing, that’s not what Congress is about.”
Frustrated with tax payer dollars funding seven investigations in their most recent session, Hogg would set his sights on passing budgets and key legislation, a skill set his time in the Iowa Senate has surely sharpened.
“Passing laws that make life better for people, that meet government’s obligation for safety, health, and the environment, having fair rules of the road, that’s what Congress should be doing,” Hogg argues.
Senator Hogg will be challenging 34-year incumbent, Chuck Grassley who has been serving Iowa since 1981.
“Senator Grassley is a senior Republican law maker; he is responsible for Congress getting stuff done – and we haven’t seen the results,” Hogg says.
Additionally, Senator Grassley’s conservative leanings had been balanced out by his Democratic counterpart, former Senator Tom Harkin. Hogg credits Iowans with wanting balance in their government, and the entirely Republican representation created by the midterm election of Joni Ernst has upset that balance. For Hogg, the lack of more elected Democrats in Iowa is not something Iowans will easily overlook.
Ultimately, he believe his fresh perspective and positive vision for Iowa will be what sets him apart.
“Serving in Congress is not a lifetime achievement award,” Hogg says. “It is a decision by the voters on who would do the best job for our state.”
Hogg is also propelled by one of his main policy priorities: addressing climate change. His plan includes tangible solutions that congress has supported in the past, such as renewing the wind energy tax credit, which expired in December of 2014, and renewing the solar energy tax credit, which is set to expire in December of 2016.
“Both credits are powerful incentives that have spurred rapid growth of these technologies,” he explains. “[They] reward clean, home-grown, renewable electricity that can never be depleted and never be outsourced.”
Beyond that, Hogg’s plan includes focusing on transportation solutions like fuel efficient and electric cars, walk-able and bike-able communities, and increasing the carbon content of soil through agricultural solutions.
“These solutions work. They create jobs, grow businesses, help farmers, help consumers, and improve our health,” Hogg says.
Despite the competitive campaigning that lies ahead, Hogg is excited to meet new people and see new places all over Iowa.
“There is hidden gem after hidden gem,” he says of the campaign trail. “Iowans need to start celebrating and relishing the great things we have in this state.”
Some of his favorite Iowa secrets include Snake Alley in Burlington, the world’s curviest street; Storm Lake, in Buena Vista County, with a variety of kayaking, canoeing, and hiking trails; and Spencer, home of the world’s largest county fair – the Clay County Fair held each September. Hogg has traveled to 45 counties since the formation of his exploratory committee in July. He plans to travel to all 99 counties, with his family at his side, in the coming months.
“My family has deep roots in this state and I care deeply about this state,” he explained, “My entire campaign will be a big, Iowa stay-cation.”
Senator Hogg will be traveling to Wright, Madison, Carroll and Grundy County on his way to the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner on October 24th. Before getting the chance to square off with Grassley, he first faces a Democratic primary against Tom Fiegen and Bob Krause.
by Brayton Deprey