Gary Kroeger describes the values and ideas he shares with Dr. Andy McGuire, who “inherently understood that an effective governor must hear and be open to the voices from the fringes to the middle.” -promoted by desmoinesdem
Someday I’ll stop writing articles that begin with: “When I ran for office…”
Having taken the plunge in two races, a unique perspective is gained. Too many speeches to count, too many phone calls to remember, so many doors knocked, so many hands shaken, and so many endorsements won or lost. The collective weight is both exhilarating and exhausting. And in the end, even if the ultimate prize was not won, the experience validates one’s resolve, convictions, and purpose. No one, absolutely no one, gets into the ring unless they wish to do what they perceive as something good.
And so, with that in mind….when I ran for office….
I learned a lot about the process, about people in government and people within the framework of campaigning. In that context I met Dr. Andy McGuire. I don’t need to elaborate on her resume here or the fact that she is running for governor, this is, after all, a political blog site, and we should be well past biographical rhetoric. What is relevant and new, however, are the perspectives from inside the ring.
I first met Dr. McGuire in Independence, Iowa, at a Buchanan County Democratic Central Committee meeting in early 2015. I was new to a primary race for Iowa’s first Congressional district, and I was competing against Monica Vernon and Ravi Patel. We were all there to give our 10-minute stump speech and were preceded by the Iowa Democratic Party Chair, Dr. McGuire. I was immediately impressed by her energy and positive view of the work that was ahead for the party. It was a mixture of cheerleading for our values, but also, more concretely, a call to action, to galvanize our core issues and take them to the people.
I was already becoming known for a signature energy of my own, and I told Dr. McGuire after the meeting: “I think we make a pretty good one-two punch.”
Without betraying my premise regarding biographical information, I bowed out of the primary and went after the Iowa House district 60 seat. I ran both races as a proud progressive Democrat, and it certainly was no secret that I was one of the first Congressional candidates in the nation to publicly endorse Bernie Sanders.
I will always stand for the values that put people at the top of the pyramid and fight for the policies that protect working Americans, children, support education and promote health, both of ourselves and our planet. That’s a pretty wide umbrella statement, but the nitty gritty policies that lead down that path are where I, and many others, like Bernie Sanders, prefer to live.
I criticized our party for being too politically expedient and losing the blood and guts of our most coveted principles; civil rights, equality for all, worker’s rights, uncompromised environmental values, and moral responsibilities. Fairly, or unfairly, I viewed Dr. McGuire as more moderate than myself, and I aligned with others who I found to be the most progressive. In the aftermath of the 2016 bloodbath all sides can point toward the other and lay the finger of blame, and that too, will be (and is) a new undoing of our political mission as the Party of the People.
What I learned from the experience is that there is no meeting of the minds where we all agree on how to accomplish our goals, but what we can do is come to a meeting of those objectives. What we can do is come to an understanding that the answers lie in our cooperation and not in our chastisement of one another for not being exactly the same warrior.
This has been a long wind up to an endorsement. Before Dr. McGuire announced her candidacy for Iowa Governor, she asked if we could meet. We did and talked openly about our perceived differences (although there really weren’t any), and we talked about the issues, values and content of policies to steer Iowa back to where we belong.
She asked me to hold her to the fire and I appreciated the fact that she inherently understood that an effective governor must hear and be open to the voices from the fringes to the middle; to understand other sides and to answer them. That isn’t a compromise of ideals; that is the actual job of leadership.
Dr. Andy McGuire and I shared our passion for our state, our mutual concern for working families, for access to health care, farmers, mental health care inadequacies, and underfunding of public schools. We can chart a better course for Iowa, together, by holding those values to the light, and by allowing the convergence of ideas. With this shared purpose I have endorsed Dr. Andy McGuire for Governor of the great state of Iowa.
And…when I was running for office…
Editor’s note: Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts advocating for Iowa Democratic candidates in competitive primaries. Please read these guidelines before writing.
Top image: Andy McGuire at the West Des Moines Democrats picnic, July 3, 2017.