Patty Judge


U.S. Senate Candidate Questionnaire

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

Phone Number: 515-240-0997

Email Address:

Campaign Web Site:


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.