Two of three people running for the Democratic nomination to be U.S. Senator from Iowa spoke at State Senator Zach Wahls’ birthday fundraiser at Walker Homestead in Johnson County on Sunday.
Clutching a microphone in one hand and her hand-written speech notes in the other, Theresa Greenfield of Des Moines went second to last in a 90 minute series of speakers that included five presidential hopefuls.
Eddie Mauro of Des Moines had arrived early to the event and introduced himself to some of the more than 200 attendees. When he stepped onto the stage surrounded by straw bales, he was the last of twelve speakers.
Kimberly Graham, a Democrat from Indianola, was first to announce her bid to challenge U.S. Senator Joni Ernst. While she did not attend Wahls’ event, there was substantial press coverage of her May entry into the race.
Of the three candidates, Theresa Greenfield is said to be the front runner, however, there are challenges ahead for whoever is the party’s nominee. Joni Ernst won the 2014 general election with 52 percent of the vote and in a recent Ann Selzer poll, more than 57 percent of Iowans approve of the job she is doing. The goal for Democrats is to prevent Ernst from becoming an institution, making her a single term senator.
Democratic activists I know haven’t begun to dial into the U.S. Senate race yet, focusing more on the February 2020 presidential caucuses. Following are some links to information about the three Democratic candidates, including the verbatim about page from their websites.
I’m Kimberly Graham. I never thought in a million years I’d run for office. But it’s time for a government “by the people, for the people.”
Senator Joni Ernst campaigned on a promise to “make ’em squeal” in Washington D.C. and get rid of corruption, but the only people squealing are Iowans harmed by her votes.
Because our “By The People, For The People” campaign will be funded only by donors like you, and *never* by corporate PACS, the NRA or the Koch Brothers, I won’t be influenced by lobbyists and companies whose only interest is increasing their wealth. Instead, I’ll be representing the majority: you and Iowans who deserve better representation than you’ve been receiving.
What I’ve seen from Washington D.C. the last couple of years is the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer and the middle class shrinking. We need more people from working-class backgrounds serving in government, representing the majority of us and not mega-corporations. So I’m running for United States Senate.
I lived in rural Iowa longer than anyplace else, for 24 years. I chose to raise my son in Indianola.
My maternal great-great-grandfather had a farm in Zearing and my paternal grandmother was born in Mt. Ayr. My dad was one of 11 siblings born in Des Moines. He was a Marine, later a bridge-builder, and mom was a clerk at the phone company. Neither of them went to college but had good union jobs and worked hard to give my brother and me a solid working-class upbringing.
I’ve been working since I was 14: in a dry cleaner, as a waitress, store clerk, and housecleaner. I worked my way through college. I wanted to help people for a living so I went to law school, paying my own way and taking out student loans. I still have student loan debt. Now I work as an advocate for abused or neglected kids in court.
Living in rural Iowa and raising my son, I watched as the furniture, clothing, shoe stores, and other businesses on the square closed after fast-food chains and mega-stores moved in.
I’ve watched farmers struggle with increasing costs while being paid less for crops, with fewer companies from which to purchase seed and being treated unfairly as our current president enacts tariff after tariff, harming family farms. Iowans want and deserve a level playing field and a real chance at thriving small towns and thriving cities.
I’ve watched medical insurance premiums, mine included, rise to the point that families are paying more for medical insurance than for housing. Many simply can’t afford insurance anymore. Medical care costs of a serious illness are bankrupting families and forcing them to spend their life savings. It’s not right, that in the wealthiest nation on earth, this is happening.
In my work as the guardian ad litem and attorney for kids of participants in Family Treatment Court, I’ve watched the opioid and meth epidemics rip families apart and damage our communities. I’ve seen veterans return from service, experiencing trauma, and not receive services quickly or locally enough.
Iowans deserve better. As I mentioned above, Senator Ernst campaigned on a promise to “make ’em squeal” in Washington D.C. and get rid of corruption, but the only people squealing are Iowans harmed by her votes. I support major campaign finance reform and sweeping anti-corruption legislation to return our government to The People. We must get Big Money OUT of politics. No more politics as usual.
I’m running for U.S. Senate because the government should truly be “by the people, for the people.” It should work for the benefit of the majority, not the small number of wealthy. I’m not worried about them. They’ll be fine whether they have 50 million dollars a year income or 40 million. But I am worried about the rest of us.
We need Medicare for All, farmers to be treated fairly, good jobs all over the state and a level playing field so monopolies can’t destroy farms and small towns. Iowans need clean air and water, a justice system that treats everyone fairly and equally, and good public schools that provide the same high-quality education to all children, regardless of whether they live in Clive or Creston. We need representation in the U.S Senate that isn’t bought by corporations, drug companies or any special interests.
My goal is to be the best senator money *can’t* buy. Please join me in a movement For the People, By the People of Iowa.
Theresa Greenfield grew up on a family farm, where she and her four siblings learned the value of hard work and self-reliance. Her father Derald encouraged his daughters to do everything the boys did on the Greenfield farm, and at 16, Theresa and her sister began helping with the family crop-dusting business, meeting with farmers to negotiate terms, and mark out fields while Derald was in the air lining up his plane for the next job.
When the farm crisis of the 1980s hit rural families like Theresa’s, she did not give up on her dream to attend college. With the help of financial aid and multiple part-time jobs, she put herself through school. Theresa married and as she and her husband were expecting their second child, he was killed in an accident at his job as a union electrical worker. Theresa set out on a path to provide for her two boys as a single mom.
Theresa worked as an urban planner and then joined Rottlund Homes, where she rose quickly through the ranks and soon moved to Des Moines to lead the company’s Iowa Division. Today, she serves as President of Colby Interests, one of Des Moines’ oldest family-held real estate and development companies. She lives with her husband Steve in Des Moines and together they have four grown children: Tanya, a media specialist; Nick, a horticulturist; Phil, a healthcare consultant; and Dane, a soldier in the U.S. Army.
Now, more than ever, Iowans need more leaders like Theresa in the U.S. Senate: a farm kid with farm kid values whose get-it-done attitude will help get things done for working families — from investing in education, to making it easier for small businesses to thrive, to cutting healthcare costs.
Eddie J Mauro is a business owner, father, coach, community volunteer and former teacher who is committed to working hard to improve the performance of our government and empower people.
Additional links to resources about the candidates would be welcome in the comments.
UPDATE: On Monday, Aug. 26, Michael Franken announced his intent to run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Iowa. View his launch video here.