First-term Rep. Ashley Hinson will have closer scrutiny over her early voting record from a new effort launched last week in Iowa. The Unrig Our Economy campaign will highlight where Hinson, a Republican, stands on economic issues impacting working-class Iowans.
Organized by several Iowa local and progressive groups, the effort will focus in on issues of wages, corporate concentration, taxes and workers’ rights, and which sides Hinson has come down on for those policies.
“Congresswoman Ashley Hinson has stood by and enabled the wealthy and corporations to get richer while working people get the short end of the stick,” said Sue Dinsdale, Executive Director of Iowa Citizen Action Network. “The people of Iowa deserve better. This campaign will make the case that popular progressive economic policies are the key to lowering costs, raising wages, and giving power back to the hardworking people of Iowa.”
Hinson, a former TV news anchor, won her election to Northeast Iowa’s congressional district in 2020, flipping the seat from blue to red. Representing places like Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Waterloo/Cedar Falls and surrounding rural areas, Hinson is seeking reelection in a largely blue-collar area that used to lean more toward Democrats.
Since Donald Trump’s election in 2016, this region’s shift to Republicans accelerated, driven in large part by many working-class voters switching sides, but some see opportunity to refocus electoral issues around blue-collar priorities that Democrats back in 2022.
Last year, Hinson was largely quiet when thousands of Iowa UAW union workers at John Deere plants, including many concentrated in her district, went on strike for better wages and benefits. Most recently, Hinson was one of two Iowa members of the US House to vote against the bill to cap insulin prices at $35 for a monthly supply.
Unrig Our Economy says they aim to show how Hinson “has enabled corporations and the wealthy to rig the economy for themselves and against working people.”
The Iowa operation is part of a national campaign that looks to spend $5 to $7 million in four congressional districts—swing seats in parts of Nebraska, New York and California fill out the other targets. In an interview with The New Republic, the Unrig Our Economy leaders said that recent polling shows voters currently associating Republicans with the middle class. Their hope, as TNR wrote, is for Democrats to “take a more aggressive, progressive message to try to change the perception of who voters think is more focused on helping the middle class.”
They believe they have a lot of material to work with. President Joe Biden’s biggest accomplishments so far in office have revolved around infrastructure and workforce issues that directly impact Iowans’ pocket books. Some of Biden’s funding has proven so popular locally that Hinson herself has been taking credit for some of the local Iowa projects it has helped, even though she voted against the legislation.
The Iowa contingent of Unrig Our Economy has also launched a website here.
by Pat Rynard
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