Patty Judge has been involved in statewide politics since 1992 when she was first elected to the State Senate, serving two terms. She was elected as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in 1998 and served 8 years. She was elected as Lieutenant Governor in 2006. But do Iowans really know her and her progressive positions?
One must ask that question when you see the Quinnipiac Poll showing 17% of Grassley supporters plan to vote for Clinton. Why are they splitting their tickets to vote for Clinton and Grassley? The Des Moines Register’s articles on Sunday and Monday point to both Democrats and Independents splitting their tickets to vote for Grassley rather than Judge. Judge’s campaign spokesman, Sam Roecker when asked about the discrepancy said, “Judge’s positions are nearly identical to Clintons.”
So what’s going on? Why would 17% of Grassley supporters be comfortable voting for Clinton and Grassley rather than Judge? Is it just name recognition? It seems like Grassley has been around since creation so maybe voters just feel like they know him. Some suggest that Judge isn’t progressive enough for some Democrats and Independents, but how could progressives possibly think Grassley would be more in sync with their positions than Judge? One must ask, do Iowans that are voting for Grassley really know Patty Judge and the issues she will be championing?
It certainly appears voters may need some reintroduction to Patty Judge and what issues she will promote. Likewise, it appears Grassley must be exposed as the obstructionist he has become.
Just as Hillary Clinton continues to contrast her positions to Trump’s, Judge must clarify and contrast her positions to Grassley. Patty Judge has some unique skill sets that many Iowans might appreciate if they knew about them.
Voters often point to their frustrations with the gridlock and obstruction in Washington – no more perfect example of it can be found than in Senator Grassley’s stonewalling of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. The low approval rating voters give to Congress suggests they want their representatives to work together. Senator Grassley is blatantly displaying his unwillingness to compromise and listen to common sense approaches.
Patty Judge was asked in an interview with the Iowa Daily Democrat how she could address Washington gridlock. She pointed to her training and work as a mediator during the 1980’s farm crisis. She mediated between farmers and their creditors seeking solutions to their financial struggles. Later she continued those skills working in family mediation. She said it taught her to “talk and listen.” Grassley seems to have forgotten the listening part of the mediation equation. Judge can take her mediation skills to Washington to reach across the aisle to accomplish compromise.
Health Care and Mental Health
Judge has another unique skill set which many Iowans may not be aware: early in her career she worked as a registered nurse with psychiatric training. She spent three months caring for patients at the Independence Mental Health facility. That experience gave her a clear understanding of the need for adequate mental health care. She can be a powerful and knowledgeable voice to address health care reform and specifically the critical mental health needs nationally.
Judge served as the head of Iowa Homeland Security during her term as Lt. Governor. In that capacity she worked with the Federal Homeland Security Agency on issues of terrorism and threats to America’s national security. That experience provides her with a solid foundation of knowledge in addressing future National Security threats.
Clean Water and Agriculture
Certainly cleaning up Iowa’s impaired waters are important to most Iowans. Patty Judge is making it clear it’s important to her as well. She has been criticized in the past by some suggesting she has been too close to agricultural interests. However, in this campaign she has staked out bold positions and left no doubt about her commitment to improving not only water quality in Iowa but nationally. She is calling for the full funding of the Iowa Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund to improve Iowa waters. In addition, as a U.S. Senator she will support the EPAs “Waters of the United States” rule to clean up waters nationwide. Grassley is opposed to that measure.
She has also taken a firm position on new animal confinement locations in Iowa. She supports local control of siting for confinement facilities by giving local citizens a voice in those decisions. She says the Mason City decision to reject the Prestage pork plant is a good example of effective local control. Her experience as a farmer and her time as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture gives her a unique ability and skill to bring together rural and urban interests.
Judge supports fully funding K-12 needs and making preschool available to all. She’s advocating for free Community College tuition, the refinancing of student debt and an extension of student debt repayment terms. She would like no-interest financing of student loans. She says the government shouldn’t be profiting off students.
Additional progressive stands Patty Judge is championing.
- Raising the federal minimum wage to $15.00/hour
- Reducing fossil fuels with a carbon fee and dividend
- Reforming Immigration with a clear path to citizenship for the undocumented
- Opposing unfair trade agreements including the TPP.
As Democrats we must share the special talents and experience Patty Judge would bring to the United States Senate. Her progressive agenda combined with her years of public service offer Iowa voters a well-qualified and powerful voice for change.
by Rick Smith