Citizen Vanguard

"Citizenship is a tough occupation which obliges the citizen to make his own informed opinion and stand by it." ~ Martha Gellhorn

IoWorld endorses Senator Rob Hogg to oppose US Senator Charles Grassley!

Murphy and HoggPictured: IoWorld Editor Dick Murphy (l) listening to Sen. Rob Hogg (r).

By Dick Murphy, Editor, IoWorld

Iowa Democrats have presented four candidates seeking to oppose Senator Charles Grassley in the general election on November 8th, 2016.  All four candidates have interesting backgrounds and experiences qualifying them to serve as one of Iowa’s two senators (Republican Joni Ernst being the other) if elected in November.   The endorsement committee interviewed three of the four candidates and reviewed questionnaires submitted by all four.  Rob Hogg, Patty Judge, and Bob Krause participated in interviews, while Tom Fiegan did not show for his interview.

IoWorld has chosen to endorse Rob Hogg an Iowa Senator from Cedar Rapids as the candidate with the best ideas for enhancing Iowa’s role as a global entity.  Hogg is a fresh candidate who can articulate his vision in a way that is not only informative, but inspirational as well.  Hogg sees Iowa as a leader in twenty first century technology addressing the issue of climate change.  He has already published a book, America’s Climate Century: What Climate Change Means for America in the 21st Century and What Americans Can Do About It.

IoWorld recognizes climate change as a 21st century issue of global concern presenting not just danger but opportunity as well.   And Rob Hogg has already distinguished the difference between the two.   He can explain how Iowa should be moving from an agricultural economy to an agricultural/environmental economy.  And, when addressing budgetary issues regarding climate change, Hogg used the quote from Ged Kearney, “Austerity is not a pathway to prosperity.”   In other words, we need to invest in our future and Hogg believes he knows how.

Unfortunately, all four Democratic candidates have expressed opposition in some form or another to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiated by President Obama and endorsed by Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.   The pages and chapters of the agreement and side agreements are intensely legalistic.  I have no intention of presenting the pros and cons of the TPP  in this endorsement article.  I do think it is appropriate to point out that former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is an attorney and the current Secretary of Agriculture.  His endorsement recognizes that in compromise agreements there is give and take, but he points out that benefits definitely will enhance the agricultural/environmental opportunities we have in Iowa. 

We have published previous endorsement of candidates for president using as a criterion their degree of support or opposition to the TPP.   With the United States, other TPP participating countries include; Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.  This bloc of countries represents forty per cent of all global trade and some of the United States’ most prolific trading partners.

Hogg, our endorsed candidate, strongly supports the Paris Climate Change Agreement adopted by 195 countries as a means to begin the 21st century solving environmental issues.  Yet, he prefers that trade agreements be bi-lateral.  IoWorld recognizes the difference between climate and trade agreements.  But, we hope as a US Senator, Hogg’s view on trade agreements will become more inclusive.

There is insignificant difference among the Democratic candidates regarding immigration.  The interesting discussion on this topic centered on each candidate’s personal family connections and the difficulties they encountered with Congress’ current inaction.  None would build a wall.  Nor, would any endorse refusal based on religion.  Hogg pointed out that our inaction has caused a backlog of 450.000 pending cases and growing. 

Iowans have always appreciated our Senators who shed party affiliations to collaborate on legislation that benefits the citizens of Iowa.   Hogg emerged as the candidate most likely to be able to work closely with Senator Joni Ernst while serving Iowans.  He can point to a record of floor managing legislation for renewable energy, flood mitigation, infrastructure, and reform of criminal justice—all supported by Senator Ernst while they were colleagues in the Iowa Senate.

This endorsement of Senator Hogg over the other Democratic candidates should not imply that the endorsement carries into the general election.  If Senator Hogg is the candidate to oppose Senator Grassley, the door opens again for endorsement of either candidate.  We believe that by endorsing Hogg, we have presented Iowans with an opportunity to determine the direction we want to take for this century.  Hogg vs. Grassley presents an incumbent who has a reputation that Iowans have endorsed over several elections versus a fresh face with ideas he believes are better suited for the 21st century.  It’s a good match and Iowans will be fortunate to have this opportunity.  We only hope Iowans pay close attention to this election.  It may be just as important as the presidential election. 

We Endorse Hogg!

Endorsement PanelPictured (l-r): Rudy Simms, Rocio Hermosillo and Kevin McLaughlin

On Friday, May 20th, our endorsement panel convened and began hours of interview with the Democrats seeking to face U.S. Senator Charles Grassley in the general election.

The format was simple. Each candidate was interviewed for 45 minutes by our panel with an opportunity to make opening and closing statements (interviews can be heard at: CitizenVanguard.com). Our panel also studied each candidate’s answers to our extensive questionnaire (see their answers and essays in our special section).

Tom Fiegen did not make his scheduled interview and was disqualified from endorsement consideration. He was interviewed the following day and both his interview and questionnaire are available to voters.

Once the interviews concluded very strong arguments were made for each of the candidates interviewed. In the end on a 3-1 split decision our panel endorsed Sen. Rob Hogg as the best candidate to face Sen. Grassley in November.

Hogg has put together a vibrant campaign and has the best chance to appeal to those voters that have made the difference between Democrats like Pres. Obama winning and Democrats like Hon. Bruce Braley losing.

Hogg has been an outstanding public servant and offers Democrats the best chance to unseat the longtime incumbent.

Iowa Bystander Endorsement Panel

The Chair of our Endorsement panel is Dick Murphy, former Des Moines School Board President. Dick is a retired educator and has served on numerous local and regional boards and commissions.

Our second panelist is Kevin McLaughlin, former Chair of the Polk County Republican Party. Kevin is Vice President of BDF Investments and resides in Des Moines.

Our third panelist  is Rudy Simms, former Executive Director of the Des Moines Human Rights Commission. Rudy has served on numerous boards and commissions and is an inductee in the Iowa African American Hall of Fame.

Our final panelist is Rocio Hermosillo, Assistant Director of Multicultural Recruitment with Simpson College. Rocio also serves on the Board of Directors of the Latina Leadership Initiative of Greater Des Moines and several other boards and commissions.

Iowa’s U.S. Senate Contest

Sen_Chuck_Grassley_official-colorThe Nation’s 2nd Most Important Election!

Since 1981 Hon. Charles Grassley has served in the U.S. Senate and has been very popular with Republicans, Democrats and Independents. In his 2010 re-election bid he defeated the very popular Roxanne Conlin 64.35% to 33.30% and captured 98 counties.

Then U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died and Grassley’s probable victory lap turned into the nation’s second most important election and one of the most important Senate contest in U.S. electoral history.

Grassley is the Chair of the powerful Senate Judiciary committee and he has decided to not hold hearings to replace Scalia until after the November election. Beyond that, if Grassley is re-elected, he will play a prominent role in confirmation hearings for four to five new Supreme Court Justices.

In this special election edition of Iowa Bystander we take a look at the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. Grassley.

Bob Krause

Bob Krause

 

U.S. Senate Candidate Questionnaire

Address: Bob Krause, 2257 Walton Lake Drive, Fairfield, Iowa 52556

Phone Number: 515-657-0069

Email Address: krasueforiowa@gmail.com

Campaign Web Site: www.krasuseforiowa.com

Facebook: “Krause for Iowa’s Future”

Twitter: @krauseforiowa

Education Background: BA, Political Science, University of Iowa, Work toward MPA at Iowa State University, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Coursework in Economics and Business, Buena Vista University.

Employment history:

This video link gives a brief overview of my life and work activities. If you have other questions about my background you may contact me directly.

https://youtu.be/LNa1HDOBoZ4

Elected Offices Held: State Representative, House District 7, 1973-70. Waterloo School Board, 1999-2002.

Public Service Outside of Elected Office:

28 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve, retired as Colonel.

Regional Representative for the Secretary of Transportation in the Carter Administration.

District Planner for the Iowa DOT in eastern Iowa.

Instructor in Transportation-Logistics in the School of Business, Iowa State University.

Director, Center for Transportation (a think tank) at The Council of State Governments.

1. If elected to the U.S. Senate name the top three four committees you would seek to serve on? Why?

Senate Finance Committee.  Because it handles both appropriations and taxation it is clearly the most powerful committee in the US Senate. Much can be done there.

Senate Commerce Committee. I have a strong background in transportation and infrastructure and would have a lot of expertise to offer.  In addition, I firmly believe in infrastructure projects as job builders.

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. I have a very strong belief that we are not treating our veterans properly – especially those with PTSD.

Senate Agriculture Committee. Agriculture is still the bedrock of the Iowa community and I am knowledgeable in it.

2. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Washington, D.C. staff? Very good question. I will seek out Iowans rather than DC rotating staff because that is a double way to develop a bond between Iowans and policy makers. Those that do not live in Iowa will not have as good of a grasp of the nuanced problems that Iowans face. I will also work to have representation for all ethnic groups, and will attempt to develop issue specialists on my staff. This will include at least one specialist in the issues facing ethnic minorities in Iowa. I will start with Iowans to give Iowans a chance to develop national expertise and develop future Iowa leaders.

3. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you approach issues of national security, liberty and commitment of U.S. troops to combat zones or war?

a. First, we must insure that the US is absolutely safe from terrorism. We cannot compromise on that. At the same time, a great deal of the national security we seek is best found by reaching out to different cultures across the world rather than cutting them off. In fact, the ISIS strategy against us is built on provoking just the kind of strategies that Donald Trump advocates.

b. Any commitment of troops in a hot combat zone needs to have a Constitutional Declaration of War and a long term financial support for veterans after the war. Each war has a 70 year financial tail, because there will be a few veterans 70 years after the end of any war. This could be tied to the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance to make sure that we do not walk away for the many injured veterans that have PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury or Sexual Trauma.

4. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your approach to consenting to the appointment of key administration officials including cabinet members and ambassadors? I advocate a full floor vote on all appointees, regardless of the party in power. The floor vote should be automatic after a set period of time in Senate Rules.  Congress, including Senator Grassley, has allowed special interests to gut the Senate “Advise and Consent” process by effectively gutting agencies that they do not like by stopping the appointment of administrators. The Department of Justice, the National Labor Relations Board, and others have been subject to what is an unconstitutional abuse of power. The Constitution clearly states that “with the advice and consent of the Senate.” It does NOT Say “with the advice and consent of one Senator” such as Charles Grassley.

5. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your approach to consenting to the appointment of federal judges, especially those being appointed to the United States Supreme Court?

I will advocate a floor vote an ANY Supreme Court or federal bench nominee regardless of which President makes the nomination. I will look at the traditional benchmarks of character, experience and professional accomplishment. Beyond that, I will be more inclined to vote for nominees that are progressive in their outlook, but will not vote against a nominee based on that one set measure.  I likely will not support nominations with racist decisions in their background or give opinions that, in my opinion, unjustly narrow the voting franchise.

6. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your guiding principles regarding trade agreements and treaties?

My guiding principal on trade agreements is that they ought to help working people and the middle class more that they hurt them. That is not true of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization or the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership. NAFTA and CAFTA alone depressed the average wage earner salary by about $1800 per year according to the Economic Policy Institute. The winners have been large international corporations and stockholders. Losers have been workers. I will spurt re-writing existing trade agreements to strengthen worker protections.

7. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Iowa field operation?

That is still a bit early to work this through. But I will have regional offices as well as office in Des Moines. Some state-wide subject matter experts may be in different offices.

8. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will your constituent services look like?

Constituent services are very important. Staff longevity allows for the buildup of knowledge over time, so I plan to build a good team of experts in what appear to be the bread and butter issue areas – social security, veterans affairs, economic development and the like. I will develop an internal tracking mechanism to insure that all inquiries are responded to. Service complaints will be given attention.

9. What are your thoughts on the filibuster and when is it appropriate to use and not use?

Can you imagine allowing a filibuster by super-majority in a corporate board room, a convention or any kind of meeting not in the US Senate? It is a technique that has passed its time and wastes money. I will seek to have a fifty-one vote cut-off for debate on all topics before the Senate. The 60 vote super-majority to end debate does not serve us well.

10. How has your experience as an elected official prepared you to serve in the United States Senate?

Yes. During my six years in the Iowa House of Representatives, I was selected by the Des Moines Register as one of the 10 most effective state legislators in 1978. I also served as chair of the Iowa House Transportation Committee and passed several major bills including the establishment of the state’s regional public transit system which emphasized service to seniors and persons with disabilities. Although each parliamentary body is different, I am used to the give and take of a legislative body that is key to success.

11. While Senator Grassley and Senator Harkin had clear ideological differences they also

worked closely together on issues that impacted Iowa. What are three issues you would seek collaboration with Senator Ernst on that impact Iowa?

Infrastructure, Veterans, Iowa Economic Development.

12. What term best describes your political philosophy and why?

I consider myself to be an FDR Democrat. I believe that government, properly managed, can be used as an element to lift all Americans. Government is most effective when it gives a hand-up, not a hand-out.

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13. What role should the federal government play in healthcare and why?

ACA (Obamacare) should continue. It has met with great success in getting healthcare for many Americans that did not have it. Amazingly, the GOP, including Senator Grassley, has blocked ANY amendment to the original Act for six years now. This is unheard of for a piece of landmark legislation, and fits into the GOP strategy of seeking to kill ACA by discrediting it. I will work to amend ACA in the following areas:

The state insurance pool concept needs to be revised to insure adequate coverage and competition. Where only one or two companies remain in a state pool, consideration should be made to allow non-state carriers to enter the state pool. This could also include allowing Medicare to enter low-performing state pools. This would need to be accompanied by revisions in Medicare because Medicare is currently over-extended financially.

There has been too much medical centralization under Obamacare as written. Efforts need to be made to assure that small entrepreneurial practices are not shut out of the system.

More medical practitioners need to be trained to avert staffing shortages. There needs to be a funding initiative to do so.

The escalating cost of ACA insurance needs to be reviewed and strategies developed to reverse it. One of the first is to reverse Grassley’s prohibition on Medicare negotiating the price of prescription drugs. This has cost taxpayers and seniors nearly as much as the Iraq War cost the American taxpayer.

14. What role should the federal government play in education and why?

The federal government provides targeted funding teams for programs that do not fare well generally in state funding. The best example is in special education. The Free and Reduced Lunch program is another important federal program. The federal government also needs to take a leading role in data collection and the identification of innovative teaching.  I think there is also a strong role in insuring that student performance excels for all races and nationalities. I think that the Core Curriculum concept should be maintained because it provides a tracker for mobile students that cross school district and state boundaries and need to be calibrated to find out what they know when they are placed in a new school. However, I feel that there has been a great over-emphasis on student testing and that “teaching to test” needs to be reduced, and “teaching to learn” needs to be expanded.

Most importantly, the federal government (outside the US Department of Education) needs to provide a new higher minimum wage that will help life children out of poverty. Poverty among the 42% of Iowa’s children eligible for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program reduces scores on standardized tests by 20% according to the Iowa Department of Education. The stress of poverty in this category, according to Science Magazine, reduces the IQ of these children by 13%. Sadly the IQ loss is permanent.

15. What role should the federal government play in economic growth and why?

The federal government plays an important role in funding infrastructure such as roads, bridges, public transit, water and sewer systems and the like. This needs to be given more emphasis. Also, the federal government needs to stop subsidizing the export of factories overseas by allowing untaxed money of US corporations to sit overseas. The money provides a major source of financing for new overseas factories that replace US jobs.

16. How should the federal government address illegal immigration and why?

Undocumented immigrants primarily come from people entering the US legally and then over-staying their visas. We need a better visa control system more than we need a wall. One of the areas that hurt the US workforce is documented workers that come over on work visas because supposedly, the employer cannot find US workers to accomplish the job. These positions are regularly used to drive down wages dramatically. And, because the people that come in on these visas are often workers with skill in demand, it is fairly easy for them to overstay their visas and melt into the work force.

People that we can gain productivity from immediately and who are already in the US system are the Dreamers – those that were brought over by parents as small children and stayed in the US through no fault of their own. They are US schooled, speak the language and usually have work skills form school or apprenticeship. They should be allowed to stay. In total there are about 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US. That is one for every 30 people. The cost to give those without a record a path to citizenship is far less expensive and much more productive and developing a special corps of neighborhood snoops to find them out and deport them.

17. What should be the relationship between the federal government and the Federal Reserve?

The relationship between the federal Government and the Federal Reserve should be the same as it is not. It is at arms-length from the government and has as one of its special responsibilities reducing unemployment through monetary policy.

18. What should federal taxation look like and why?

Federal taxation should be more progressive. The Bush-Grassley tax cut at the beginning of the Post 9-11 wars dramatically reduced progressivity, and the vast middle class received barely 10% of the cash benefit. It is one of the triggers for the large income gap that we have today.

19. Where do you stand on entitlement reform and why?

I believe that Social Security, Medicare, and Veterans Pensions should not be reduced. Social Security and Medicare should be reformed by raising the taxable income caps. Veterans’ pension costs should be reduced by not going to war.

20. Explain your position on our national debt, deficit and what you think should or shouldn’t be done about it?

At the end of Clinton’s term the annual cash balance was $250 billion per year to the good and there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Grassley as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee was instrumental in ripping that progress apart. He was the engineer of the Bush Tax Cut that eliminated the operating surplus. Then he took the Iraq and Afghanistan wars off-budget where they were filled with the most amazing pork barrel projects imaginable – all off budget. Then, in the construction of Medicare Part D (it pays for prescription drugs) he prohibited Medicare from negotiating the price of prescription drugs. Over the past 13 years, this has cost the treasury about $650 billion dollars – about 80 percent of the entire cost of the Iraq war. My fiscal strategy is to reverse the mistakes that Grassley has made. If I can do just that, I will have done more to reduce the deficit than any sitting Republican senator.

21. The federal government sends a great deal of money to states in areas like education,

transportation and Medicaid. Should the federal government provide direct guidance and oversight  or send the money as block grants and let each state decide how best to use funds? Why?

I see no point in repeating Nixon’s block grant disaster on a grand scale. Nixon was the first president to advocate and pass the repeal of categorical grants as you discuss and replace them with block grants. He consolidated 123 programs into six that had few strings. Essentially it unhinged the money from its categorical advocates and within a few years the 123 programs were wiped out nationally and the six block grants were eroded to the point of extinction.

22. We have seen members of our Congressional delegation over the years use their office to create unique programs and engagement with their Iowa constituents, especially young people. If elected to the U.S. Senate what innovations will you bring to the office?

I would like to ask young people in Iowa high schools and in colleges meet in a conference or convention to create a Millennial’s Bill of Rights that outlines the needs of young people as they move forward into the next generation of leadership. I see a creative think piece coming out of the process that might give legislators such as me new views and perspectives on how this generation thinks and what government can do to relate to them.

23. Throughout our nation’s history the U.S. Constitution has been amended. Are there any

amendments you would add to the Constitution and if so, what would you add and why? Should any aspect of the Constitution be repealed? If so, why? 

As to adding amendments to the Constitution, at this point, NO. We need to overturn Citizens United, but I think this will be best done through new appointments to the Supreme Court.

As to repealing anything in the Constitution, NO. There has been a push by the right to repeal the “natural born citizen clause in the 14th Amendment. This is dangerous for many reasons and I oppose it.

24. Presidential Candidate Martin O’Malley advocated national service for young people. Should the federal government mandate national service for young people? If so, why? If not, why?

A problem that I have seen from my 28 years in the military is that very few of the children of wealth serve. This is totally unlike it was during and shortly after the draft was abolished. I think that this has contributed to the sense of wealth entitlement that has caused so much divisiveness in our country. One of wealth can benefit from the wonders of our country and not have skin in the game to continue it.  So yes, I do support some form of national service.

25. Many urban and rural communities in Iowa face high levels of poverty. The numbers were alarming under President Bush and have gotten worse under President Obama. What should the federal government do or not do to address poverty in America?

a. Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership and renegotiate NAFTA and other Trade Agreements that have destroyed small town manufacturing. Small town manufacturing not only provided jobs to small town residents, but it also provided supplemental income that small farmers relied on to keep farming. We may not be able to bring these jobs back to the US, but with effort, we can stop further erosion.

b. Raise the minimum wage to get people off of welfare.

c. Upgrade Iowa’s highways with aggressive infrastructure funding.

d. Develop more food processing jobs in Iowa to take advantage of our farm produce.

e. Build on our strong energy base in wind, solar and bio-fuels.

f. Improve access of ALL students to higher education by offering reduced or eliminated tuition to community colleges.

WHY CAN’T WE GET AHEAD ECONOMICALLY?

By Bob Krause

I am the candidate to beat Charles Grassley because:

From the very beginning, I have been the only Democratic Candidate for US Senate to consistently make this message my most important campaign message! While global warming and clean water are critical issues, they can only be accomplished if we take care of our economic wounds first. This is like a situation you might see in an airplane emergency. When the oxygen masks come down, the pilot will tell everyone to put on your own mask first before you help a child or companion. The political will and ability to do many socially progressive things does not exist without good income.

It is what all Iowans are concerned about – from the senior citizen struggling to get by on social security, to the plant worker worried that his or her job might go overseas, to the minimum wage work forced to go on welfare because wages are so low for so long, to the farmer who is losing $100 per acre this year, to the young college graduate who leaves Iowa because salaries are too low to pay off student debt. Too many Iowans are not getting ahead – and Senator Charles Grassley a big part of the problem.

As Democrats, we need to break the vicious cycle of decaying and stagnant wages by fighting for:

  • A livable minimum wage that tracks with the cost of living,
  • An end to worker un-friendly  trade policies that benefit the stockholders while destroying the lives of workers
  • Better protection for union rights and the right to organize,
  • Tax reform that breaks the trend of massive wealth consolidation in America
  • Better protection for hours and conditions of employment
  • Restore the Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare as working parts of the social safety net
  • Create new jobs through effective public infrastructure projects such as water and sewer, roads, bridges and public transit

WHO AM I?

I have devoted my life to making our world better. I am a veteran and a veteran activist. I have run a small business in Fairfield since 2002; I am part owner of a family farm that has been in the family since 1898. I’m a former legislator, school board member, international consultant to a Middle East government, and I served with pride in the Administration of former president Jimmy Carter.  You can find more about me on:

Twitter @krauseforiowa  Krause For Iowa’s Future”  “Bob Krause for Senate”

Thank you!

Patty Judge

Patty Judge

 

U.S. Senate Candidate Questionnaire

Address: P.O. Box 5197, Des Moines, IA 50305

Phone Number: 515-240-0997

Email Address: info@pattyjudgeforiowa.com

Campaign Web Site: pattyjudgeforiowa.com

Facebook: facebook.com/pattyjudgeforiowa

Twitter: @pattyforiowa

Education Background: University of Iowa, Iowa Methodist School of Nursing

Employment history: Cow-calf owner and operator in Monroe county, former registered nurse, mediator for the Iowa Farmer Creditor Mediation Service during the farm crisis, former Iowa State Senator, former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, former Iowa Lt. Governor

Elected Offices Held: State Senator, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Iowa Lt. Governor

Public Service Outside of Elected Office: Albia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, member of the Iowa State Fair Board.  

If elected to the U.S. Senate name the top three committees you would seek to serve on? Why? I know that I would not have the opportunity to select all of my committee assignments, however I believe I would add value to the Agriculture Committee. I have a strong background on agricultural issues, both as a farmer and as the former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. With a new Farm Bill being written next year, I think this would be a tremendous opportunity to ensure that we have a Farm Bill that meets the needs of farmers across Iowa and addresses serious issues, including water quality. During my time as Iowa Lt. Governor I also served as the state’s homeland security advisor, helping coordinate the state’s response to devastating floods in 2008. I would also like to continue my work in the area of homeland security as a part of the Senate’s Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee.

2. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Washington, D.C. staff? If I have the privilege to serve as the next U.S. Senator, my top priority will be ensuring the needs of Iowans are met and that their voices are heard. I will structure my staff in Washington D.C. and in Iowa to ensure we have strong constituent services and that I have a staff which will allow me to be the best possible advocate for Iowans.

3. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you approach issues of national security, liberty and commitment of U.S. troops to combat zones or war? It’s critical that we protect our national security and ensure the safety of Americans at home and abroad. We must be very judicious with our use of military force and ensure that diplomatic options are exhausted before committing military resources. I believe the United States also has the ability to bring other nations together and build coalitions – this is essential to strengthening our own security and promoting peace and prosperity around the globe.

4. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your approach to consenting to the appointment of key administration officials including cabinet members and ambassadors? As a United States Senator I will do my job and give due consideration to cabinet members and ambassadors. 

5. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your approach to consenting to the appointment of federal judges, especially those being appointed to the United States Supreme Court? Chuck Grassley has let Iowa down by refusing to hold hearings for President Obama’s nominee. I decided to join this race because we need the Senate to get back to work and we need to hold hearings on Judge Garland. I believe the Judiciary Committee should hold hearings and give fair consideration to the president’s appointment, that’s what I would advocate for as Iowa’s next Senator. 

6. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your guiding principles regarding trade agreements and treaties? Trade is a valuable and important tool, but we have to ensure that trade is fair. I will support trade agreements when they are in the best interest of the United States and when they protect American jobs and promote fair wages and working conditions in developing countries along with improved environmental standards.

7. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Iowa field operation? I believe it’s essential that staff in offices across the state be held to a high standard in order to ensure that our constituent services are meeting the needs of Iowans. I will work to recruit qualified staff and setup offices that serve communities across the state in the most effective manner.

8. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will your constituent services look like? Quality constituent services is a key part of serving as U.S. Senator. I will work to hire qualified staff and ensure we have the processes and resources to serve communities across the state and address the needs of Iowans.

9. What are your thoughts on the filibuster and when is it appropriate to use and not use? The filibuster is an appropriate tool in some instances. However, Republicans have continually used it as a tool to promote obstruction and oppose an agenda that prioritizes working families, this is unacceptable.

10. How has your experience as an elected official prepared you to serve in the United States Senate? My service in the Iowa State Senate, as the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, and as Lt. Governor has taught me the value that comes from working together to get things done. This is Iowa common sense, but it’s sorely lacking in Washington. Whether it was witnessing the Iowans come together to rebuild following devastating floods in 2008 or my work to promote Iowa’s economy, I know that we have tremendous potential when we work together. This is a value that will serve me well in the U.S. Senate.

11. While Senator Grassley and Senator Harkin had clear ideological differences they also worked closely together on issues that impacted Iowa. What are three issues you would seek collaboration with Senator Ernst on that impact Iowa? There is tremendous potential in working across the aisle to ensure Iowans are receiving the best possible representation. I believe I could work with Senator Ernst to advocate for Iowa’s renewable fuel industry and ensure that we continue to support biofuels as we decrease our reliance on foreign oil and support good jobs here in Iowa.

12. What term best describes your political philosophy and why? I approach politics from a common sense perspective, which is what best describes my philosophy. We need some common sense to change the way Washington operates and get back to work. It’s unfortunate that Washington has continued to choose gridlock over progress and I think common sense can go a long way to fixing this.

13. What role should the federal government play in healthcare and why? Quality and affordable healthcare is critically important. We have made significant progress toward this goal, but there is still more to be done to ensure that Americans have access to the health care they deserve. We need to continue to improve the Affordable Care Act and more fully address the cost of healthcare services and prescription drugs in this country.

14. What role should the federal government play in education and why? As the mother of three boys I know there’s a tremendous value in a good education. Unfortunately, too many young adults today are burdened with large amounts of student debt, often at high interest rates. At the federal level I believe we must expand access to Pell Grants, allow students to refinance loans at lower interest rates, and I believe we should open new opportunities by making two years of community college tuition free to students who maintain academic standards.

15. What role should the federal government play in economic growth and why? We need to give working families a fair shot. To do that, we need a comprehensive approach that includes everything from affordable healthcare to affordable education. I believe we should also address stagnant wages to spur economic growth, which is why I support increasing the minimum wage and believe we must address gender discrimination in pay once and for all.

16. How should the federal government address illegal immigration and why? We have too many Iowans living in the shadows. I support the DREAM Act and believe we need give law abiding individuals who are in the country illegally a path to citizenship that will allow them to become part of our society. We have always been a welcoming and accepting nation and I believe we should address this issue.   

17. What should be the relationship between the federal government and the Federal Reserve? I believe there should be rigorous oversight of the Federal Reserve, but we should also ensure that political pressure does not influence the important work of the the agency.

18. What should federal taxation look like and why? We need to ensure that the wealthiest Americans are paying their fair share. We need to close loopholes that allow the wealthiest Americans to pay less than middle class families.

19. Where do you stand on entitlement reform and why? Social Security and Medicare must be protected from any and all privatization efforts. To strengthen Social Security and ensure that those who have paid in receive benefits, I believe we should increase the cap on Social Security wages. 

20. Explain your position on our national debt, deficit and what you think should or shouldn’t be done about it? Addressing the federal deficit requires decreasing government spending while spurring economic growth. We should begin by closing the loopholes that have allowed corporation to shift profits and jobs overseas. We must work to ensure high quality American jobs, with good wages and benefits, that create the economic opportunity necessary to grow our economy.

21. The federal government sends a great deal of money to states in areas like education, transportation and Medicaid. Should the federal government provide direct guidance and oversight or send the money as block grants and let each state decide how best to use funds? Why? I believe we need to balance federal guidelines with local control. We should have high standards for federal funds, but I believe programs succeed and are most effective when all stakeholders are at the table and have a role in deciding how funds should be spent.

22. We have seen members of our Congressional delegation over the years use their office to create unique programs and engagement with their Iowa constituents, especially young people. If elected to the U.S. Senate what innovations will you bring to the office? We must continue to engage Iowans in a variety of ways to keep them involved and aware of the work that is being done on their behalf. As a United States Senator I will ensure that we continue to innovate and use new communication tools to accomplish this.     

23. Throughout our nation’s history the U.S. Constitution has been amended. Are there any amendments you would add to the Constitution and if so, what would you add and why? Should any aspect of the Constitution be repealed? If so, why? I do support a constitutional amendment that would restore sensible campaign finance rules and overturn Citizens United. Corporations are not people. And they are not given the same constitutional rights as you and me when it comes to influencing elections.

24. Presidential Candidate Martin O’Malley advocated national service for young people. Should the federal government mandate national service for young people? If so, why? If not, why? I believe we should encourage national service and ensure that opportunities are available for those who wish to participate. Expanding national service programs, especially as a way to help students with the cost of education, can be a valuable tool.

25. Many urban and rural communities in Iowa face high levels of poverty. The numbers were alarming under President Bush and have gotten worse under President Obama. What should the federal government do or not do to address poverty in America? Addressing poverty across America must be a priority. There is no simple solution to fixing this, it’s going to take a bipartisan effort to get our economy working again for lower and middle income families, not just those at the top. We can do that by raising the minimum wage, providing more opportunities for education, supporting new and growing industries here in Iowa, and working to lower the cost of health care. All of this will be essential to addressing the issues of poverty and giving everyone a shot to get ahead. 

 

Why I Am The Best Democrat To Face Grassley

By Patty Judge

I’m proud to be a lifelong Iowan, a farmer, and a public servant who has spent years representing my friends and neighbors in Iowa.

I felt compelled to enter this race after watching the way Chuck Grassley handled the Supreme Court vacancy following Justice Scalia’s death. His refusal to even consider a nominee showed that he has stopped listening to the concerns of Iowans. Instead, he’s acting like someone who has been in Washington too long by choosing obstruction over action.

If Chuck Grassley won’t do his job, I will.

Chuck Grassley is facing pressure like never before in his political career. Here in Iowa he’s being held accountable at town hall events, rallies, and by thousands of voters who are reconsidering their past support for him.

We won’t be successful by focusing on a single issue alone – we’ll need to talk about Chuck Grassley’s role in shutting down the government, his position on women’s rights, his record on the environment, and a whole host of other issues where his record does not match with the Iowa values we all share.

Like most Iowans, I’m tired of the gridlock and obstruction in the U.S. Senate. It’s unconscionable that with so many problems to address, the Senate is on pace to work the fewest days in 60 years. If they’re not even showing up for work, how can we expect them to take meaningful action on legislation that would help hard working families in Iowa?

In the U.S. Senate, I’ll focus on legislation that will help give working families a fair shot. I’ll support increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour. I’ll support expanding access to education by providing two years of free community college to students who meet academic standards. I’ll also work to strengthen Social Security for future generations by lifting the cap on Social Security wages.

Throughout my career in office, I’ve always been willing to take on tough races and this one is no different. When I was first elected to the Iowa State Senate, I was the first woman from southern Iowa to ever win an election to that office. When I ran for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, I became the first and only woman to hold that position.

Defeating Chuck Grassley is going to require an aggressive campaign. It’s also going to require the resources and experience to run and win a statewide race in Iowa, something I’ve done three times in my career.

I’ve only been in this race since early March, but we have quickly put together a strong team. I’ve also met every fundraising goal that we’ve set and we have a plan in place that will ensure we have the resources to provide a serious challenge to Chuck Grassley.

I’m confident that this is the year to defeat Chuck Grassley once and for all and I believe I’m the candidate to do that.

I look forward to meeting voters across Iowa over the coming weeks and months. I’m not going to take any vote for granted in this race and I promise you that I’m ready to put in the work to make sure this is Chuck Grassley’s last term in office.

 

Rob Hogg

Rob_Hogg

U.S. Senate Candidate Questionnaire

Address: PO Box 1361 Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-1361

Phone Number: (319) 360-3401

Email Address: info@robhoggforussenate.org

Campaign Web Site: robhogg.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hoggforsenate/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SenatorRobHogg

Education Background: I graduated from City High School in Iowa City in 1985, and then attended the University of Iowa, graduating with a degree in history in 1988. In 1991, I earned a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota. In 1995, I earned a law degree from the University of Minnesota.

Employment history: In addition to my state legislative service, I am an attorney at Elderkin & Pirnie, PLC, in Cedar Rapids (2000-present).  Previously, I served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Donald P. Lay, Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Paul, Minnesota (1995-96), and the Honorable Michael J. Melloy, then Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids (1999-2000).  I have also worked for a law firm in Minneapolis, nonprofit environmental advocacy organizations in Iowa and Minnesota, and taught environmental law at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

Elected Offices Held: I am currently serving my third term as a state senator from Cedar Rapids after two terms as a state representative in the Iowa House. First elected in 2002, I was re-elected to the Iowa House in 2004, ran successfully for the Iowa Senate in 2006, and was re-elected to the Iowa Senate in 2010 and 2014.

Public Service Outside of Elected Office: In 2010, I helped form the Cedar Rapids Watershed Coalition, a citizen-led effort to advocate for policies and practices to improve watershed and floodplain management to reduce future flood damage and improve water quality. The Coalition is committed to saying “never again” to the level of flood damage that occurred in 2008. I currently serve as co-chair of the Coalition.

Since 2011, I have helped coordinate an all-volunteer advocacy group called Iowa Climate Advocates working to educate the public about the dangers of climate change and advocating for climate action at all levels. Climate action means slowing down and stopping the buildup of greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere, and safeguarding people and their property from the effects of climate change.  In 2013, I released my book, America’s Climate Century: What Climate Change Means for America in the 21st Century and What Americans Can Do About It, which has helped people across the country understand the issue better and take action.

I am a past board member of Churches United in Cedar Rapids and Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, a statewide organization seeking to promote a faith-based response to climate change.

If elected to the U.S. Senate name the top three committees you would seek to serve on? Why?

I have not made any decisions about what committees on which I would want to serve.  As a state legislator for 14 years, I believe committee membership is less important than policy priorities and seeking results.

2. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Washington, D.C. staff?

I would like to construct my D.C. staff with diverse people currently or originally from Iowa.

3. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you approach issues of national security, liberty and commitment of U.S. troops to combat zones or war?

I believe the United States must be strong, smart, and engaged in the world to encourage peace and stability.  I do not rule out military action, but I believe any military action should be authorized by Congress.  I believe we should only use military force under these conditions: (1) a vital national security interest at stake, (2) a clear and attainable objective, (3) other non-violent options have been exhausted, (4) broad domestic and international support, and (5) an exit strategy.  I believe we must be vigilant in identifying potential terrorist threats from both domestic and foreign sources.  I also believe executive agencies should have Congressional and judicial approval for any electronic surveillance.

4. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your approach to consenting to the appointment of key administration officials including cabinet members and ambassadors?

I believe in working with the President to confirm people who are qualified.  I would encourage the President to nominate diverse candidates who are highly qualified and reflect the racial and religious diversity of the United States.

5. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your approach to consenting to the appointment of federal judges, especially those being appointed to the United States Supreme Court?

Senator Grassley’s decision to obstruct the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court is one of the key issues in this election.  His obstruction is unprecedented, and I believe is contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution.  Every Justice who has died in office since at least 1910 has been replaced within 6 months and 13 days.  Senator Grassley should do his job, provide a fair hearing and hold an up-or-down vote on the President’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.  Even before that, however, I was concerned that Senator Grassley had become increasingly partisan, voting against Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court and Loretta Lynch for Attorney General.  On judicial appointments, I believe in working with the President to confirm people who are qualified.  I would encourage the President to nominate diverse candidates who are highly qualified and reflect the racial and religious diversity of the United States.  Having worked for two federal judges – one of whom was a appointed by a Democrat and one of whom was appointed by a Republican – I know that good judges do their job regardless of the party of the President who appointed them.  I do not believe the U.S. Senate should hold out for conservative judicial activist judges who seek to take us backward on civil rights, voting rights, worker’s rights, women’s rights, or marriage rights.

6. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your guiding principles regarding trade agreements and treaties?

I believe any trade deal should lift up all countries in terms of labor, environmental, and consumer standards.  I am also concerned about giving up our sovereignty in multi-nation trade deals, like losing our ability to require country of origin labeling on meat.  I believe we can promote exports of Iowa agricultural products through bilateral agreements so we do not need multi-national trade deals like the TPP to promote Iowa agricultural exports.

7. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Iowa field operation?

I would like to construct my Iowa staff with diverse Iowans.

8. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will your constituent services look like?

As a state legislator, I have worked hard to provide good constituent services.  I aspire to helping every person directly or by referring them to another person or agency who might be able to help.  Most recently, I have helped multiple constituents with problems that have arisen during the Governor’s transition to privatized Medicaid managed care, and earlier this year I helped a senior citizen get money back from the Iowa Department of Revenue when he had been mis-classified as an independent contractor.  (This was featured in a Des Moines Register article, “’Misclassified’ Iowan gets back his $5K in taxes,” March 29, 2016.)  I also believe in outreach to people so that people who need help the most can get it.  For example, after knocking on one door, I was able to help a woman get her electricity re-connected for her medical devices, instead of using an extension cord to her neighbor’s property.

9. What are your thoughts on the filibuster and when is it appropriate to use and not use?

I believe Senators should spend significantly more time in Washington, D.C., actually doing their jobs.  I would not allow 41 members to block a vote on a cloture vote.  I believe if Senators want to filibuster, they should actually have to filibuster to delay a bill being considered.

10. How has your experience as an elected official prepared you to serve in the United States Senate?

During my 14 years in the Iowa Legislature, I have learned that government is not a debating society, or a marketing gimmick, or a popularity contest, or even a lifetime achievement award.  It is a practical tool we have to address real problems and help real people.  I believe I have been an effective legislator – in the minority party, in the majority party, and in divided government.  I have priorities, but I also believe in working practically to solve problems and make progress.  I believe this is one of the reasons why I have been endorsed by over 90 current and former Democratic colleagues in the Iowa Legislature.

11. While Senator Grassley and Senator Harkin had clear ideological differences they also worked closely together on issues that impacted Iowa. What are three issues you would seek collaboration with Senator Ernst on that impact Iowa?

I served for four years with Senator Ernst in the Iowa Senate, and I believe I can work with Senator Ernst for at least four years in the United States Senate.  She supported legislation I floor managed for renewable energy, flood mitigation infrastructure, and criminal justice reform.  I believe those are areas where we could work together in the United States Senate.

12. What term best describes your political philosophy and why?

Practical Progressive.  I have priorities, but I also believe in working practically to solve problems and make progress.

13. What role should the federal government play in healthcare and why?

My two guiding priorities on health care are (1) expanding access to health care and (2) improving health.  During my service in the Iowa Legislature, thanks to my presence and my support, we added 60,000 children to the Hawk-I program in 2007 and 150,000 working Iowans to Medicaid in 2013.  If the President of the United States proposes a single payer system, I would work with the President to make the transition to a single payer system work.  (As Governor Branstad has shown, health system transitions can go badly.)  If the President of United States proposes improving the Affordable Care Act, I would work with the President to do so in a way that provides all Americans with health insurance coverage and health care access.

14. What role should the federal government play in education and why?

I believe the primary role of the federal government in education is to make sure that all children, but especially low-income children, have the opportunity for quality education from early childhood to college and job training.  I support Head Start, special education and Title I assistance, and federal action to make sure that no student who is qualified is kept from college or job training because of economic barriers.

15. What role should the federal government play in economic growth and why?

I believe the federal government has a critical role in creating and maintaining a vibrant, full-employment economy that works for all Americans and creates broad prosperity.  Here are four priorities for accomplishing that:  (1) invest in education, training, and youth employment including national service opportunities for all young people; (2) support technology, research and development, and infrastructure improvements to create jobs now and lay the foundation for long-term prosperity; (3) use clean energy and clean water solutions to put people to work and improve public health and the environment; and (4) broaden prosperity by raising the minimum wage, ending discrimination in our economy, and supporting workers’ rights.

16. How should the federal government address illegal immigration and why?

For all the hot air we hear about immigration, Congress under Republican controlled has failed to pass immigration reform legislation.  Congress is already failing to fund our current immigration system, creating a backlog of over 450,000 pending cases – almost three times larger than a decade ago.  I support comprehensive immigration reform that (1) includes the Dream Act, (2) improves border security and case processing, (3) supports labor market analysis to determine the proper number of immigrants annually, and (4) creates a pathway to permanent resident status and then later to citizenship.

17. What should be the relationship between the federal government and the Federal Reserve?

I believe our fiscal policies and monetary policies should be coordinated to create and maintain a vibrant, full-employment economy that works for all Americans and creates broad prosperity.

18. What should federal taxation look like and why?

I believe in progressive income taxation – the more a person earns, the larger the percentage of the person’s income that is paid in taxes.  I would be open to repealing some of the Bush era tax cuts.  The question is not whether we raise or lower taxes.  The question is whether we have the right mix of taxes to generate the revenue we need to make strategic investments in our country, balance the budget, and meet our national obligations.

19. Where do you stand on entitlement reform and why?

Some so-called “entitlements” are actually earned benefits, like Social Security and Medicare.  Those programs have been extraordinarily effective in reducing poverty among seniors.  Without those programs, our poverty rates for seniors would be around 40%.  With those programs, it is 10% – still too high, which is why we need to protect and strengthen these programs.  I am flexible in how we can strengthen these programs – such as better wellness programs for Medicare and raising the cap on earnings for Social Security – but I do not favor cutting earned benefits or health services.

20. Explain your position on our national debt, deficit and what you think should or shouldn’t be done about it?

The debt is a major challenge facing our country.  Since Senator Grassley was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980, the national debt has grown from less than $1 trillion to more than $19 trillion today.  The annual deficit has been reduced under President Obama from over $1.4 trillion in 2009 to less than $550 billion, but Congress must do better.  A vibrant, full-employment economy, along with fiscal discipline and progressive taxation, would allow us to balance the budget and begin to pay off the debt, like we were doing at the end of the Clinton Administration. 

21. The federal government sends a great deal of money to states in areas like education, transportation and Medicaid. Should the federal government provide direct guidance and oversight or send the money as block grants and let each state decide how best to use funds? Why?

During flood recovery after 2008, Iowa’s ability to take action was hurt by “duplication of benefit” prohibitions under a federal law approved by Senator Grassley in the 1980s.  “Duplication of benefits” meant that if private, local, or state sources would pay for something, the federal government would not.  That meant that state and local government often had to wait to act until the federal government decided first whether it would pay for something.  This significantly hindered our ability to recover from the Flood of 2008.  Because of that experience, I tend to favor “block grant” assistance that gives flexibility to state and local government, rather than federal assistance that carries with it significant regulatory barriers to action. 

22. We have seen members of our Congressional delegation over the years use their office to create unique programs and engagement with their Iowa constituents, especially young people. If elected to the U.S. Senate what innovations will you bring to the office?

In addition to what I said earlier about constituent service and outreach (see Question 8, above), I believe in engaging young Iowans in public service. As a state legislator, I have had a Drake Law School intern each session as well as numerous job shadows from high school and college students.  It has always been a priority of mine in the Iowa Legislature to educate students about the legislative process and how legislation makes a tangible difference in people’s lives.  If elected to the United States Senate, I will continue to involve young people including the establishment of a Youth Advisory Council.

  

23. Throughout our nation’s history the U.S. Constitution has been amended. Are there any amendments you would add to the Constitution and if so, what would you add and why? Should any aspect of the Constitution be repealed? If so, why?

I am not proposing any Constitutional amendments as part of my campaign for the United States Senate, except that I have said that if the Supreme Court does not overturn Citizens United, then we should consider a Constitutional amendment to address campaign finance reform along with other reforms – like full disclosure of contributors and at least partial public financing of campaigns – to address the influence of special-interest dark money contributions.

24. Presidential Candidate Martin O’Malley advocated national service for young people. Should the federal government mandate national service for young people? If so, why? If not, why?

At this time, I do not support mandating national service, but I do believe national service opportunities should be made available for every young American who wants them.  Our current programs have waiting lists and people are turned down.  Unemployment for young Americans in the summer of 2015 was over 10%, and for young Hispanics it was over 12%, and for young African-Americans it was over 20%.  I believe that we should make youth employment including national service opportunities available for all young Americans.

25. Many urban and rural communities in Iowa face high levels of poverty. The numbers were alarming under President Bush and have gotten worse under President Obama. What should the federal government do or not do to address poverty in America?

Poverty is a real and significant problem.  This is one of the reasons why I feel so strongly that the federal government has a critical role in creating and maintaining a vibrant, full-employment economy that works for all Americans and creates broad prosperity (see Question 15, above). 

A Practical Progressive Who Can Do The Job and Who Can Win

By Rob Hogg

I am a state senator from Cedar Rapids and a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate to replace Chuck Grassley because I actually want to do the job and help make Congress work again for our people, our country, and our future.

Senator Grassley’s refusal to consider the President’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court is just the latest example of dysfunction in Congress. But it is not the only way Congress has been failing us.

After 14 years in the Iowa Legislature, I have learned that government is not a debating society, a marketing gimmick, or even a lifetime achievement award.  Government is a real tool we can use to help real people and solve real problems.

If Congress worked, we could build — in the 21st Century — a safe, healthy, peaceful, prosperous, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable future for all Americans.  We could:

  • promote excellence in education for all children from early childhood to college and job training;
  • raise wages and achieve a vibrant full-employment economy that works for all Americans including youth employment;
  • invest in infrastructure to create jobs now and lay the foundation for broader prosperity in the future;
  • protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare;
  • improve mental health services and substance abuse treatment;
  • reform our criminal justice system, end racial profiling, and “ban the box” on employment applications;
  • pass comprehensive immigration reform; and
  • take action for public health and the environment by reducing environmental pollution like lead and by promoting clean energy and clean water solutions.

I believe I am the Democratic candidate who would do the best job and has the best chance of replacing Chuck Grassley in November because:

  • Iowans want leaders who can do the job – I have been endorsed by over 90 of my current and former Democratic colleagues in the Iowa Legislature, the people who know me best doing the job.
  • Iowans want leaders for an economy that works for all Americans – I have a 99% lifetime Iowa Federation of Labor voting record, I support a full-employment economy, and I was recently endorsed by the Iowa Federation of Labor and AFSCME Iowa Council 61.
  • Iowans want leaders for public health and the environment – I am a proven leader for public health, clean water, and clean energy solutions, recently endorsed by the Sierra Club.
  • Iowans want leaders who can uplift our democracy – I have won five elections in a row, twice replacing Republicans, with positive campaigns that educate and empower voters and uplift our democracy.  I believe I have the most potential to attract and energize new, young, and progressive voters and build the enthusiasm that Democrats were lacking in 2010 and 2014.

I ask for your support in the Democratic primary on or before Tuesday, June 7. You can vote early at your county auditor’s office. For more information, or to sign up as one of “Hogg’s Heroes,” please visit www.robhogg.org.

Tom Fiegen

tom fiegen

 

U.S. Senate Candidate Questionnaire

   Name: Thomas L. (Tom) Fiegen

Address:  P.O. Box 279, Clarence, Iowa 52216

Phone Number: (319) 431-1668

Email Address: fiegenforussenate@gmail.com

Campaign Web Site: fiegenforussenate.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TomFiegen4USSenateIowa/

Twitter: tlfiegen

Education Background:

Juris Doctor of Law, University of Iowa, May 1988.

Master of Arts (Economics), University of Iowa, May 1988.

Bachelor of Science, Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, May 1984.

Bachelor of Science, Speech, Kansas State University, May 1984.

Attended South Dakota State University, September, 1976 – May 1979.

Employment history:

LEGAL EXPERIENCE:

Sept . 1996 – Present, Shareholder and President, Fiegen Law Firm, P.C

Feb. 1993 – Aug. 1996, Shareholder, Childers & Fiegen, P.C., Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Jan. 1990 – Feb. 1993, Associate, Childers & Vestle, P.C., Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

June 1988 – Jan. 1990, Associate, McCann, Martin & McCann, P.C., Brookings, South Dakota.

Sept. 1987 – May 1988, Student Law Clerk, Dumbaugh and Childers, P.C., Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Summer 1987,  Student Law Clerk, Buchanan Ingersoll, P.C., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE:

Spring 1992 – 2000, Adjunct Faculty, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Sept 1987 – May 1988, Instructor, Saturday and Evening Program, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

Sept. 1985 – May 1987, Teaching Assistant, Department of Economics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

May 1982 – Aug. 1984, Student Research Assistant, Konza Prairie Tallgrass Preserve, Division of Biology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas

Elected Offices Held:

Iowa State Senate 2001-2003

Public Service Outside of Elected Office:

Tipton Lions Club – 2000 to present.  Member of Wheelchair Ramp Building Team, food stand crew chief, Christmas tree sales, roadside cleanup, misc. fundraisers.

Coach/Volunteer – North Cedar High School Mock Trial Team 2004 -2009.

RESULTS

Co-organizer of Iowa City, Iowa Candlelight Vigil on children hunger issues prior to World Summit for Children in September 1990.

Sunday School/C.C.D. Teacher, St. Mary’s Parish, Tipton, Iowa  1995 – 2005.

St. Thomas More Parish, Brookings, S.D. 1988-1990.

Volunteer, Farm Aid Clinic, Hills, Iowa.  Counseled financially distressed farmers 1985 – 1987.  Testified May 1987 before the House Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit and Rural Development regarding the Farm Credit System bailout.

Advisory Panel, University of Iowa Rural Crisis Group.  Authored newspaper editorials for group and advised underclass members during campaign to increase student awareness of farm economic plight, 1986 – 1988.

1. If elected to the U.S. Senate name the top three committees you would seek to serve on? Why?

Agriculture – to write the next Farm Bill with the goal of ending hunger, especially childhood hunger, increasing local food production and processing, mandating clean water plans for all farmers seeking federal subsidies, and increasing rural economic development.

Finance – to completely rewrite, simplify and make the tax code more progressive.

Judiciary – to change our criminal code, to confirm judges and bring back the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

2. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Washington, D.C. staff?

I will look for the brightest progressive minds who will agree to help me 24/7 to radically change the direction of our government away from serving the 1% to serving the 99%.  I want to build a team with drive, expertise and loyalty to me and the progressive cause.

3. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you approach issues of national security, liberty and commitment of U.S. troops to combat zones or war?

War as a last option.   I will put a priority on international cooperation and consensus building.  Former Senator Richard Lugar was a role model. I would only commit troops if the security of the U.S. or a treaty partner are threatened, or as part of an international multinational force to prevent/end genocide and similar atrocities.

4. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your approach to consenting to the appointment of key administration officials including cabinet members and ambassadors?

I will look to stop the revolving door between government and the private sector.  I will look for appointees who have not only the right credentials, but also a commitment to making government work and be effective.

5. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your approach to consenting to the appointment of federal judges, especially those being appointed to the United States Supreme Court?

Fewer, if any, prosecutors or former prosecutors.  It is one of the reasons we have an expanding prison population – too many judges are former prosecutors who still think like prosecutors.

I will also seek to have the Executive Branch appoint federal judges from diverse educational, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

6. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your guiding principles regarding trade agreements and treaties?

Protect the national interests of the United States and ALL of its citizens, promote peace and international security and cooperation.

7. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Iowa field operation?

Unknown.  I understand that I can have up to seven (7) field offices.  I am thinking about inviting Iowa communities to “bid” or submit proposals for why they should be the site of one of my U.S. Senate offices.

8. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will your constituent services look like?

Like Chuck Grassley’s.  I actually hope to hire some of his constituent services staff.

9. What are your thoughts on the filibuster and when is it appropriate to use and not use?

I view the filibuster as a valuable tool that a single Senator can employ to slow or prevent the entire  Senate from making a grave mistake.  It is not appropriate for harassment or mere delay.

10. How has your experience as an elected official prepared you to serve in the United States Senate?

When I served in the Iowa Senate, there was one occasion when Governor Vilsack strong- armed me to support a bad piece of legislation he had negotiated with Republicans.  It was a mistake.  I will not make that mistake again.  If the President is wrong, even or especially the President of my own party, I will tell them in private that they are wrong.  If they decide to pursue a bad policy, I will publicly disagree.

11. While Senator Grassley and Senator Harkin had clear ideological differences they also worked closely together on issues that impacted Iowa. What are three issues you would seek collaboration with Senator Ernst on that impact Iowa?

a) High quality and immediate medical care for our veterans. 

b) Ending sexual assault/rape, especially in the military.

c) Funding for infrastructure, especially in rural areas.

12. What term best describes your political philosophy and why?

I am a prairie populist.  George McGovern is one of my role models. I will always pick the side of working people over the wealthy and the powerful.  Widows and orphans will always win in my political world.

13. What role should the federal government play in healthcare and why?

It should insure that every American has healthcare as a right. It should fund research and development into new cures.  It should insure competition, competence, affordability, access and transparency.

14. What role should the federal government play in education and why?

It should set uniform national standards, like Common Core.  It should assist states and communities in funding for at risk children and communities, and higher education.  Like Bernie Sanders, I favor free college or technical training for all who qualify.

15. What role should the federal government play in economic growth and why?

I support the New Deal.  I support a robust role for the federal government in stimulating the economy to full employment through infrastructure programs, the WPA, etc.

16. How should the federal government address illegal immigration and why?

Offer everyone here a path to citizenship.  Offer dual citizenship to anyone from Latin America who pledges loyalty to the Constitution and learns English.

17. What should be the relationship between the federal government and the Federal Reserve?

Greater oversight and accountability for the Federal Reserve by the federal government.

18. What should federal taxation look like and why?

It should have more corporate and higher earner taxation and be more progressive.

19. Where do you stand on entitlement reform and why?

I don’t see the need for reform, except in the area of Social Security Disability.

20. Explain your position on our national debt, deficit and what you think should or shouldn’t be done about it?

We should have a balanced budget, and even run a surplus, in times of full employment.  Conversely, I believe the federal government should run a deficit when we are in recession.

21. The federal government sends a great deal of money to states in areas like education, transportation and Medicaid. Should the federal government provide direct guidance and oversight or send the money as block grants and let each state decide how best to use funds? Why?

I no longer trust any state legislature to do the right thing.  Every federal dollar should be subject to guidance and oversight.

22. We have seen members of our Congressional delegation over the years use their office to create unique programs and engagement with their Iowa constituents, especially young people. If elected to the U.S. Senate what innovations will you bring to the office?

I want to bring democracy into the 21st Century.  I want to implement a smart phone app that allows citizens to track, comment on and vote/express their preferences on all pending legislation in the Senate and Congress in real time.

I also want to be the U.S. Senator that brings back a vibrant local food production, processing and marketing economy.  In the 1920s, Iowa lead the nation in tomato and apple production. At the time, we had 11 Congressmen.  Today, after ridng the corn and soybean roller coaster, we have four, if you count Steve King.  Local food is the way back for rural Iowa.

23. Throughout our nation’s history the U.S. Constitution has been amended. Are there any amendments you would add to the Constitution and if so, what would you add and why? Should any aspect of the Constitution be repealed? If so, why?

No amendments will pass in the current political climate, so it is a moot point.  If there was even a glimmer of hope, I would reform the Second Amendment, bolster the privacy protections under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, especially as they relate to electronic privacy, and I would address the false premise that money is speech aka Buckley v. Valeo.

24. Presidential Candidate Martin O’Malley advocated national service for young people. Should the federal government mandate national service for young people? If so, why? If not, why?

Yes.  To create a national sense of common purpose and to repair/rebuild things that are national treasurers, like our parks, that we can’t seem to find the money to preserve.  Also to minister to and serve at risk populations.

25. Many urban and rural communities in Iowa face high levels of poverty. The numbers were alarming under President Bush and have gotten worse under President Obama. What should the federal government do or not do to address poverty in America?

Let’s start by having the federal government partner with faith based groups and non-profits to meet the basic human needs of people in poverty.  Included in that is to make ending hunger in America a national priority, especially childhood hunger. 

Next, let’s look at creating economy opportunity.  Raise the minimum wage, provide education and job training.  Provide transportation, healthcare and childcare to low income workers.  Make worker rights a priority in the workplace.  Make collective bargaining easier and simpler.  Rebuild crumbling infrastructure to create jobs.  Create business incubators and mico lending programs. Aggressively enforce consumer protection and antitrust law to prevent overreaching by monopolies and oligopolies.

 

Why I Am The Best Democrat To Face Grassley

By Tom Fiegen

Citizen frustration has reached a boiling point in 2016.  It is clear that everything in Washington, D.C. is for sale to the highest bidder. The disparity between the top 1% and working people has pushed our country to the breaking point. 

I have represented working people all of my life.  I see the frustration every day.  I know the rules are rigged against them.  I also know how to change those rules.  I have the heart, the knowledge and the experience to be the next U.S. Senator from Iowa.

If we are going to preserve our democracy, the first step the next Senator from Iowa must take is to end the legalized bribery we call campaign contributions.  Chuck Grassley has repeatedly sold his vote to people like convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.  Check out Abramoff’s interview on NPR about his $100,0000 contribution to Grassley: http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2011/12/20/144028899/the-tuesday-podcast-jack-abramoff-on-lobbying

Neither Rob Hogg nor Patty Judge will end the corrupt money in politics. The truth is no status-quo politician will end a system they rely on.

Iowa’s next Senator will write the next Farm Bill.  Consumers are demanding food that is sustainable, local, fresh, healthy, includes GMO labeling and removes poisons from our environment.  I have the extensive ag background and the fire to get it done.  Do we really want Chuck Grassley, who has allowed the unparalleled consolidation of our farms sitting there another six years?  How about Big Ag Patty Judge, or bank and insurance lawyer Rob Hogg?  

The next Senator from Iowa must make the economy work for the 99%.  It starts with rejecting bad trade deals, then passing Glass-Steagall, getting aggressive about antitrust, passing a minimum wage increase, finding an affordable college/student debt solution and improving retirement security.  I have a Masters Degree in economics and taught college economics for almost ten years.  I will approach all of these issues with an unconditional loyalty to working people.

The next Senator from Iowa will “advise and consent” on court nominations.  I have reservations about Judge Garland’s pro-prosecutor bias and deference to the Executive Branch.  Patty Judge said, “I’m not the lawyer.  I don’t know anything about that.” That attitude alone disqualifies her from being a Senator.  Meanwhile Rob Hogg has spent his professional life representing banks and insurance companies. 

It is time for a U.S. Senator from Iowa to demonstrate unconditional loyalty to the working people of Iowa.  I am that U.S. Senator.

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