While the four presidential hopefuls attracted the most attention at last night's "Wing Ding" in Clear Lake, some big Iowa political news preceded their pitches. Kim Weaver delivered her first major speech as a Congressional candidate in the fourth district. Given the smooth delivery, I would never have guessed she hasn't run for office before.
After telling the audience a little about her background, Weaver talked about some of her key issues: protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; supporting the middle class; raising the minimum wage; fighting to change a "predatory" student loan system; supporting women's access to health care; immigration reform including a pathway to citizenship; clean water and environmental protections. The packed house frequently applauded, especially loudly when Weaver said, "These are some of the things I stand for. What I stand against is Steve King." Iowa Democrats love to hate King. Weaver argued the seven-term incumbent "doesn't represent Iowa values," citing his offensive comments about immigrants and votes against Katrina aid and even a Farm Bill (because he thought it contained too much hunger assistance).
Weaver's campaign is online at WeaverforCongress.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Her website contains brief statements on most of the issues her stump speech covered. After the jump I've posted her announcement video and excerpts from her official bio.
Taking on King is a daunting task for any Democrat. The 39 counties in IA-04 contain 119,020 active registered Democrats, 176,515 Republicans, and 174,355 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State's office.
I was born in Des Moines and graduated from Roosevelt High School. Then I traveled all the way up the road to Ames where I got a major in communications from Iowa State.
After college, I got married and settled in Sheldon. I raised three amazing children as a single mom and my kids are continuing our families' Iowa tradition. My youngest son is a junior at Iowa State, my daughter is a second year medical student at the University of Iowa, and my oldest son played football at MIT (yes they really have a football team!) and now works with biofuels in Waterloo.
Being a single mom in Sheldon helped me understand Democratic values. Sometimes life throws you curve balls. At times I struggled to make my house payment and wondered if I could make it to pay day. Living through those experiences helped me to understand that a responsible government is there for Iowans when they need it. My professional life also affirmed my belief in democratic ideals. I started my career at Village Northwest, which is a wonderful organization that strives to provide purpose, privacy, and dignity to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. After that I spent 10 years as a DHS Medicaid case manager, helping to ensure that individuals with serious mental health concerns received appropriate care and that young children with disabilities were able to remain in their family home. I currently work for the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. I cover fifteen counties and 124 care providers in Northwest Iowa. Every day I work to protect the health, safety, and rights of individuals residing in long-term care facilities. I investigate complaints and give a voice to our seniors and their families. Working with Iowa's wonderful seniors every day has inspired me to work to protect Social Security, Medicare and to an end to all forms of elder abuse.
Both my personal and private life inspired me to fight for Democratic ideals. I am a proud AFSCME member. I got involved with the politics by making phone calls to support the recall of anti-labor legislators. Once I dipped my toe in the political waters, things happened fast. I started grassroots organizing. I knocked on doors and worked the phones for Democratic candidates like Jim Mower and Christie Vilsack. I became the Democratic Chairwoman for O'Brien County and in 2012 I co-founded a group called the SOLO Democrats. Last year I was elected to the Democratic state central committee.
Democratic ideals are central to both my personal and professional life. As democrats, we want to ensure that Iowa families can have good jobs, good education, and experience the American Dream. People in the 4th District have spent too long represented by a politician with an extreme agenda. Iowans deserve a congresswoman who is more concerned with families than fights. That is why I am running for congress.
In the coming months, I will be canvassing the 4th District. I look forward to meeting you and talking with you about what we can do to move this country forward. We have a lot of work ahead, but I have faith that if we work together, we can defeat Steve King and bring Iowa values back to Congress.
Kim Weaver's campaign announcement video: