Fred Hubbell fell short in his campaign to oust Governor Kim Reynolds, but he successfully raised vital issues that will continue to demand action by Iowans. The unsolved problems that Hubbell focused on in his campaign won’t go away; he was absolutely correct to identify them in his criticism of Reynolds’ leadership. Democrats shouldn’t take Reynolds’ victory as a rejection of the importance of the issues Hubbell focused on during the campaign.
The exit polling that Iowa Starting Line summarized earlier this week confirms that many of the issues that the Hubbell campaign raised have majority support from Iowa voters. Hubbell wasn’t wrong on the issues and voters confirmed that they support his messaging even though not enough voted for him.
The crisis with Medicaid privatization continues, inadequate education funding continues and workers’ wages and salaries continue to lag behind basic family needs. Iowa’s water quality is declining and environmental quality continues to be ignored by Reynolds and the Republican legislature. Affordable health care continues to be an issue voters want addressed. Democrats can take great pride in the Hubbell campaign championing these issues. They didn’t lift him to the Governor’s mansion, but his efforts cemented these issues in the voters’ minds.
The Hubbell campaign made privatization a primary issue in the 2018 election. Hubbell’s advertising (Tucker ad) made Iowa Medicaid recipient Tucker Cassidy a household name after privatization robbed him of his independence. The Hubbell ads profiled how privatization penalized Tucker, a quadriplegic, by stripping him of his in-home care, forcing him to sell his home and pushing him to move. “I was forced to move and it was all because of inability to find access to healthcare,” said Tucker Cassidy.
The Tuckers of Iowa are still suffering after Reynolds’ election and Democrats will continue to make them a priority. We owe Hubbell’s team gratitude for focusing on the mistreatment of Iowa’s most vulnerable Medicaid recipients like Tucker. The Hubbell ads elevated the privatization conversation and likelihood that Iowans will demand Reynolds and the Republican-controlled legislature fix this nightmare. Democrats must follow Hubbell’s lead and continue to demand that privatization end.
Adequate education funding was another essential issue that Hubbell championed in his advertising and messaging. Funding for Pre-K, K-12, as well as Iowa’s community colleges and public universities will continue to be a major goal for Democrats.
Hubbell traveled across the state on his “Invest in Education Tour.” He visited elementary, secondary and community college schools focusing on the need for more funding. Promoting a world class education for every Iowa student left no doubt about his and the Democrats’ commitment to adequate funding. The setting of clear funding priorities for Iowa education will continue to be a major goal for Democrats. The Hubbell campaign set the stage for Democrats to build on his message of restoring Iowa’s world class education.
The Hubbell campaign narrowly missed its election objective, but their months of progressive messaging will have a lasting impact on rallying Democrats for the next race. The need to increase worker pay, fund Planned Parenthood and clean up Iowa waters will continue to remain unresolved under Republican control of Iowa government.
We can be very proud of Hubbell courageously leading our party by defending Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens, championing our students and teachers and increasing public awareness on issues critical to Iowa’s future. The campaign is over but the fight continues.
by Rick Smith