Three Democrats participated Tuesday in the first multi-candidate event of Iowa’s U.S. Senate race, introducing themselves to Siouxland voters.
Siouxland Progressive Women hosted the forum in Sioux City with Eddie Mauro, a businessman and former educator from Des Moines; Kimberly Graham, a children’s rights attorney from Indianola; and Michael Franken, a retired Navy admiral. About 70 locals were on hand to listen.
Franken has yet to formally enter the race, but is expected to announce his candidacy late in August. This appears to have been one of his first public appearances as he seriously contemplates a run.
Theresa Greenfield, a small business owner from Des Moines, could not attend due to a scheduling conflict, according to a press release from Siouxland Progressive Women.
Democrats are vying to unseat Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, up for re-election for the first time in 2020. Ernst has no primary challenger.
Here are some key takeaways from the candidates’ first forum:
On health care: “Every other developed nation on this globe has a universal, single-payer health care system … I will never accept a private, capitalistic solution to a basic, universal human right. Human rights can never be for sale. It is the antithesis of what we are supposed to stand for in this country.”
On education: “One of the main things that I would want to promote is the elimination of so much testing that goes on in our schools. We obviously need some testing … Yes, we need some kind of standardized testing, but it’s gotten ridiculous, and those of you that are teachers know that, to the point where you’re just teaching for the next test. That needs to stop.”
On faith: “I’m also a Democrat because of my faith. I think that Democrats need to regain their conversation about faith. My faith values are also Democrat values — taking care of the hungry, the homeless and the imprisoned and the sick and the most vulnerable in our communities. Those have always been good, Democratic values that we need to talk about.”
On climate change: “I was just in Africa last week. I do a project over there with water systems in Tanzania, and I see firsthand how climate chaos is impacting the people in Africa. It becomes a national security issue — I’m sure Mike can attest to that — when you have people that are leaving their communities and becoming refugees and putting pressure on our borders, on the borders of Europe and other places. It’s causing disruption in those communities, so those young people don’t have a job, and thus find their way into gang activity or terrorist activity that are a threat to all of us.”
On the economy: “The tax law as written was designed for the upper, not 1%, but 0.1%. It’s a travesty. It’s absolutely criminal … I align myself with my two compadres up here and what they said. This is an area [raising the minimum wage] where America needs to stand out and we need to step forward.”
On guns in America: “I’ve lived on four continents. I’ve moved 28 times since I got through grad school. I’ve lived in all different sizes of cities. I’ve lived in peaceful, placid places like Germany, that have gun laws and have gun ownership. You can do this, but you have to have responsible gun ownership and reasonable legislators. Legislators that are bold, brave and willing to buck the system.”
By Elizabeth Meyer
Mauro/Graham photos by Julie Fleming