Johnson County Democrats held their annual fall BBQ today, and the speakers included Congressman Dave Loebsack, and the two announced Senate contenders: Tom Fiegen and Bob Krause.
Details after the break.
The BBQ was held in Hills again this year, and there was a good crowd on hand. As always, the meal was a Neuzil pork sandwich. (Yum!)
I arrived just after Krause had started to speak, but I don't think that I missed much. He was the former director of the Democratic Veterans Caucus, and he talked a lot about Grassley's poor performance on veteran's issues. He mentioned his support for a public option, which got big applause. Krause also called for increased spending on education, calling it “mental infrastructure”.
Tom Fiegen closed the event with a speech that stressed three priorities: education for everyone, healthcare for everyone, and ending financial piracy. He linked these issues to his own family situation: his children's college loans, and his mother's medicare prescriptions. But the big applause line of the night was his call to end financial piracy. He mentioned sub-prime mortgages, and predatory credit card lenders, but he really lit up when he got to Wall St. He said, “Last year Wall St. held the U.S. economy hostage, and demanded a $750 billion dollar ransom to let it go.” While the big banks were getting bailed out, local banks were going under, and he said that for the first time in his career, he doesn't have anywhere to send clients who are in financial trouble. (Fiegen is a bankruptcy lawyer.) This was red meat for the crowd, and I'm glad that some Democrats are picking up on the issue.
Congressman Loebsack spoke between Fiegen and Krause. He talked about increased funding for the VA during the last two years, and some specific project for VA facilities in Iowa. He also got an amendment passed that for the first time, provides pain management for veterans. His big news was the the House healthcare bill includes changes to Medicare reimbursement rates, that will treat Iowa more fairly. This issue had been a stumbling block to his support of a public option, but now he is 100% on board. He was especially proud of the role that the House has played in moving the national debate towards a public option, when the Senate was very reluctant to consider it.
I'm sorry for the short report, but John Deeth was there, and also a reporter for the Iowa City Press Citizen, so they will probably have stories out by tomorrow. When he left, Congressman Loebsack said that he was on his way to Muscatine,and I hope that someone will post a diary about the Muscatine County BBQ.