The Des Moines Register’s editorial on Sunday suggested Congressman Steve King is so extreme he could never be elected in Iowa’s 3rd District, which is currently represented by David Young. They contend that the public in the 3rd District is more moderate because it includes the Des Moines metro. Based on that premise, the Register asks how Congressman Young was reelected since he votes in lockstep with Congressman King. They point to Young’s votes to repeal Obamacare and his votes in favor of the Republican tax (so-called reform) bill as examples of extreme positions.
The Register makes a great point about the public perception of Congressman Young vs. Congressman King. Young has successfully cultivated a public appearance as a “moderate” Republican while King is widely perceived to be a wild extremist. Young avoids using the insults, the anti-immigrant rhetoric, the racist and the nationalist taunts that King relishes. Young learned well in his 20 years under Senator Grassley’s tutelage to maintain a low profile and avoid public criticism. Young spends considerable time in his district, building an image as working hard for Iowans’ interests. However, Young votes just like King and those votes hurt Iowans.
Democrats must expose Congressman Young’s extremist agenda so the public can see through his shroud of Mr. Nice Guy. In his town halls before the vote on the repeal of Obamacare, he passed out flyers claiming he supported many of the Obamacare provisions. He claimed he wanted to protect Iowans with preexisting health conditions, maintain children on their parent’s insurance until age 26 and provide affordable insurance. He said he would vote against the repeal plan a few days before the vote and then flip-flopped immediately. He voted with the Republicans for repeal. That vote, although the Senate failed to join with the House, weakened the exchanges and added to the instability in the Obamacare market place.
Young’s Obamacare repeal vote and his vote in support of the GOP tax gift for the wealthy are just the latest in a long series of votes against the interests of Iowans. His votes indicate his nice guy persona is a cover for an extremist agenda.
One of the first moves by the Trump Administration was to remove the requirement preventing the dumping of mine waste into streams and rivers. Young voted to repeal these standards (HJ Resolution 38) putting the health and safety of thousands of Americans living downstream from mines at risk.
Following the killing of 20 youngsters at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 the Obama administration implemented a rule to prevent the mentally impaired access to guns. The young man that committed the killings was severely disturbed. The rule prevented about 75,000 mentally disabled Social Security recipients from gun purchases. Young voted to repeal this essential standard meant to keep guns out of the hands of people suffering from mental disabilities. (HJ Resolution 40).
Iowans expect their representatives to protect them from unscrupulous business practices such as the Wells Fargo scandals. Yet Young voted to weaken consumer protections by preventing consumers from being able to bring forward class action lawsuits against companies when they break the law (HJ Resolution 111). The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, which is currently under attack by the Trump Administration, passed standards to protect consumers and Young voted to remove these standards which gives greater power to big banks.
Young’s voting record has been a disaster for Iowans. He votes with King and is a rubber stamp for the Trump administration. Voting against the environment, voting to give more power to big banks, weakening gun safety measures, giving massive tax breaks to the richest 1 percent and cutting taxes for the most profitable corporations. Those votes don’t help most Iowans.
It’s time for Congressman Young to find other employment. Democrats have a formidable list of primary candidates seeking to replace Young. Exposing Young’s far right agenda will be crucial to replacing him with one of these Democrats.
by Rick Smith