After a long and contested race to determine the candidate who will face off against the Republican governor, the Democrats have now picked their choice. All candidates were well-qualified and policy positions were about the same with just a few nuanced differences. So what do they do next? Here is an idea.
Each candidate had its strong supporters, and the worst possible outcome is a few get disenchanted and stay home because their favorite did not win.
My solution and one that would help the party and the state: take each candidate who lost the race and the winner, Fred Hubbell, might propose a program to utilize each of the others, taking advantage of each one’s skill set and put innovative programs together which are directed at improving the state, getting growth for rural Iowa and fixing the other four or five big problems we have. Fred is no stranger to running large organizations, and could easily refine my suggestions to utilize the skill set of each of his primary opponents.
Here are my suggestions, which can easily be refined by Fred.
- The first one is easy: put Dr. Andy McGuire in charge of fixing the health care problem. This is a big one and should consist of considering removing the private sector from Medicaid management, coming up with a plan for Medicare-for-all or some derivation thereof, fixing the nursing home issues, and coming up with a long term plan for our growing population of aging baby boomers and their health care needs, and of course the looming mental health problem.
- Put John Norris in charge of developing a long-term plan to grow Iowa’s rural economy. He has a rural background and worked for a former innovative governor. Turn him loose on this and great programs will follow. One solution that might be considered became apparent in reading the Des Moines Register last week, which talked about our declining number of folks in the funeral industry and it’s impact on smaller communities. A possible idea is to develop a program like that used to attract doctors to rural areas and give folks incentives to open funeral homes and possibly other needed rural area businesses, using funds which could come from revamping the massive tax cuts the Republicans recently passed.
- I would put Ross Wilburn in charge of a program to oversee immigration into the state in areas needing more workers, and also put him in charge of developing innovative solutions to grow smaller and medium size Iowa communities. From the German Lutherans who came to Iowa 100 plus years ago to the Vietnamese welcomed by Governor Ray in the 1970s, Iowa has always been built on immigrants As a former mayor, I bet he is full of good ideas on what comes next.
- Finally, make Cathy Glasson in charge of developing a minimum wage program that gets the state to the point that minimum wage workers make a living wage. Proposed correctly, this can garner the support of some conservatives, as it will reduce government welfare programs and make workers more self-sufficient.
These are just a few of the ideas, which could be developed to use the talent of those who ran for governor. Each was qualified and had good program suggestions for improving the state.
Fred Hubbell’s family has long ties to Iowa. When I came to Iowa over 45 years ago, the first thing my boss gave me was a book by George Mills entitled “Little Man With a Long Shadow” It was about Fred’s great grandfather who began at the age of 12 to build a business in this state. Fred is now building on that legacy and the people of Iowa will benefit from his talent, business acumen, and deep understanding where Iowa has come from and where it needs to go to get our state back on track. Key in my mind for the top priority of the Democratic Party is in proposing innovative solutions for rural Iowa to grow again. Everything else pales in comparison.
The Republicans won the past election because the voters thought they had the solutions. They were proven wrong on that one. If the Democrats put that issue front and center with innovative ideas, I do not see how we lose.
My final suggestion is when Democrats are elected and have control, please don’t do what the Republicans have been doing and cut out the other party’s participation in the process. Personally, I would rather have a little less then the “whole loaf” and get some bipartisan consensus if it is at all possible. It tends to make legislation more permanent and gains more support from the overall citizenry.
by Dick Goodson