Iowa candidate models how Democrats can win back working-class voters

09/22/2017 08:01 am ET

Don't look now, but recently announced candidate for Iowa governor, Cathy Glasson is quietly showing Democrats how to lead and how they can win back rust belt states like Iowa.

After traveling the state for the last few months listening to Iowans, Glasson announced her candidacy for Iowa governor stating, "Listening to Iowans has only strengthened my commitment to fight for a $15 minimum wage and union rights. I’ve heard too many stories about Iowans who can’t get the health care they need. People who are just one emergency away from being wiped out. It made me more determined to support Medicare for All."

Glasson is running on a bold, progressive platform and recognizes that many working class people want someone authentic who will stand up for them. In a state which voted for Obama in both 2008 and 2012, Iowa now has a Republican governor and a Republican majority in both the Iowa House and Senate. This decimation of Democratic elected officials might be a signal to the Democratic Party that they need to refocus on the needs of working class people.

"That’s why voters have lost faith in politicians who just tinker around the edges because they’re afraid to be bold and make big changes. I’m doing this because I’m tired of seeing politicians pretend like they care while they keep rigging the system against working people," Glasson said.

Her bold message seems to be resonating nationally, as the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a million-member organization, recently endorsed Glasson, stating "As of one the first gubernatorial candidates to campaign on Medicare for All, Cathy is the model for all 2018 candidates. By showing Democrats how popular Medicare for All is in Iowa, Cathy is helping make the issue the consensus position for the party in 2018 and 2020," said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of PCCC.

However, Glasson also stated she won't back down if the Medicare for All bill doesn't pass.

"If a national Medicare for All law doesn’t pass, I will fight for a publicly-administered, single-payer, universal health care system right here in Iowa. The best path to universal single-payer coverage would be Medicare for All—a nationwide plan that builds on an existing program. But if corporate lobbyists and sell-out politicians won’t do the right thing, then we have to lead the way," said Glasson.

Locally, her progressive message is also gaining momentum, as Mike Carberry, one of the highest-ranking elected officials in Iowa to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016, has also announced he is endorsing Cathy Glasson.

“After the disastrous legislative session that decimated workers’ rights, voters’ rights, and education funding, and left the state in a financial hole, Cathy Glasson and her populist policies are the answer Iowans need to prosper again,” Carberry said. “Free community college tuition is an issue that only Cathy Glasson is addressing in the way Sanders does. It can be a significant economic driver for Iowa to regain its economic standing, and Glasson is the one to deliver it,” said Carberry to PVI.

In a state where 76% of water bodies tested as polluted or partially polluted, Glasson is making climate issues a top priority and has pledged with 350.org to refuse donations from the oil, gas, and coal industries. Glasson says "We don’t have to look beyond the past couple of weeks to see that climate change is already having a serious impact. My heart goes out to folks on the Gulf coast recovering from devastating hurricanes, and those in the Western states that have been ravaged by wildfires. We’ve seen our share of floods in Iowa. It’s absolutely critical that we change course immediately, and shifting our energy system is a key part of that. We’ve seen big agriculture and big oil have a stranglehold on the Governor’s office in Iowa. It’s time to break free from the corporate lobbyists to protect our water, land and air. You can’t stand up to them if you’re bought and paid for by their campaign money."

Glasson has also come out against a recent decision to build an Apple data center in Iowa, which will receive more than $200 million in tax credits. She states, "Corporate tax breaks have gotten out of control in our state, and now our budget is in crisis. In less than a decade, we’ve literally doubled business tax breaks to the tune of $600 million a year, with no accountability for making sure those tax breaks actually lead to new, good Iowa jobs or better pay for the hundreds of thousands of Iowans making less than $20 an hour. The majority of business tax breaks go to large, profitable corporations. At a time when we are starving our public schools of desperately-needed funding and jacking up tuition at our state universities, it’s simply wrong that the working people of Iowa are subsidizing wealthy corporations with their tax dollars. It truly is corporate welfare."

Glasson concludes by explaining, "I’m running for Governor because when I see people hurting, I can’t just sit back and watch. Iowans are ready for a Governor who won’t put party and politics over people. My name may be the one on the ballot, but it’s not about me—It’s about the hundreds of volunteers who are building this movement to give every Iowan a fair shot."

If the Democratic Party wants to win back working class voters, Glasson is laying the groundwork as an ideal progressive candidate to model.

Video of Glasson’s campaign announcement can be seen below:

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