Who am I?
I have served in the state legislature for 25 years, served as the House Democratic Minority Leader from 2003 – 2006 and as Speaker of the Iowa House from 2007 – 2010 before stepping down from leadership in 2011. During my time in the legislature, I have a proven record on progressive issues, leading successful efforts to raise Iowa’s minimum wage, increase teacher salaries to the national average, expand the use of alternative energy, establish a program that enables seniors to remain in their own homes longer and extend health care coverage to 40,000 Iowa children. I was able to pass an LGBT Civil Rights bill and protected the marriage equality ruling when it came down from the Iowa Supreme court.
I was born and raised in Dubuque, the ninth of ten children. My father was an officer in CWA Local 7110 while working for U.S. West and AT&T and my mother stayed home to raise the family and was active in the Dubuque community.
Why am I running?
I have dedicated nearly a quarter century of public service in the Iowa House to standing up for what I felt was the right thing to do – from defending the rights of workers to organize, to ensuring women make their own health care decisions, to making sure gay men and women can marry. It hasn’t always been easy, and I’ve received my fair share of hate mail, but I’m proud of the progress we’ve been able to make for Iowans during my time in Des Moines.
I’m running for Congress because I believe that with the right kind of leaders our country can get back on the path to progress for all Americans. What we don’t need are more finger-in-the-wind politicians in Washington. We need proven leaders with the backbone to stand up to the special interests and political games and say “enough.” Iowa has been fortunate to send strong leaders to Washington, from Tom Harkin to Tom Vilsack to Bruce Braley. These true progressives have helped bring much-needed Iowa commonsense to our nation’s capitol. As your Congressman, I will add my voice to theirs and work hard every day to remind Congress that Iowans, and Americans, are counting on them to do the right thing – not the easy thing.
My three major policies focuses are continue to grow for the middle class, protect our seniors, and expand education in this country.
We must raise the minimum wage to $10.10. This is the fastest way to bring struggling American families up to the middle class and is a good move for our economy. We must also protect jobs here in America. Trade policy like TPP is the wrong policy to do that.
In Congress, I will continue his commitment to maintaining the dignity of Iowa seniors by opposing any effort to privatize or cut Social Security – including chained CPI that would slow the growth of benefits overtime – and work to cut waste and fraud in the Medicare system to preserve its solvency for generations to come.
As Speaker of the Iowa House, I led efforts to raise teacher pay and expand universal preschool to all Iowa four-year olds. In Congress, I will make sure teachers have a seat at the table when education policy is being crafted and vote against efforts to cut early childhood, public and special education funding so all students are given the support they need to succeed from day one.
My DFA Values
I have been fighting for those very same values for 25 years. My record speaks to those values and it is with those values that I am running for Congress. We need to make sure all Americans have the opportunities to succeed. That means have a good paying job, being able to provide for their family, having quality and affordable education to available to them and their families, and the ability to be treated equally no matter who they are.
As Speaker my policies embodied these values; raising the minimum wage, passing the LGBT civil rights bill, creating universal preschool for all 4 year olds in Iowa, and expanding healthcare to cover more people. These are the policies I have already supported and will continue throughout this campaign and in Congress.
My Campaign is People Powered!
Our campaign is based in the grassroots. To this date we have the largest amount of individual donors from Iowa supporting our campaign in this race, we have 14 labor unions endorsements and a nearly 1000 public endorsers.
But this outreach has just begun. We have started building the teams of volunteers we need to be successful in the primary and general election. Meeting with volunteers, hosting house parties and having phone banks to reach out to primary voters. I strongly believe that our grassroots outreach will be one of our greatest strengths come June.