IA-Gov: Notes on the final Hubbell-Reynolds debate

Governor Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell debated for the third and last time today in Davenport. Too bad not many viewers are likely to tune in at 8:00 am on a Sunday morning, because the discussion was yet another study in contrasts. For those who prefer a written recap, I enclose below my detailed notes. Click here and here for Bleeding Heartland’s analysis of the first two Hubbell-Reynolds debates.

As during the second debate, journalists kept the candidates on topic and within the time limit, so kudos to moderator David Nelson of KWQC-TV6 and panelists Erin Murphy of Lee Enterprises, Forrest Saunders of KCRG-TV9, and Jenna Jackson of KWQC-TV6.

Both candidates recycled many talking points from their first two meetings. My impression was that Reynolds performed about equally well in all three debates, while Hubbell improved each time. For instance, after Reynolds noted that Iowa had moved up in mental health rankings three years in a row and was now rated sixth in the country for mental health, Hubbell pointed out that the study the governor cited covered the years 2013 through 2015. That was before the Branstad/Reynolds administration closed some mental health institutions and privatized Medicaid, which has led to worse care for thousands of Iowans.

For those who prefer to watch the replay, KCRG-TV posted the video in a single file, which is the most user-friendly option. You can also find the debate on KWQC-TV (with closed captioning) and WOWT-TV’s websites, but you will have to watch a series of clips, with advertisements before each segment.

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Please, for the sake of the nation (and my heart, body and soul)

Laura Hubka chairs the Howard County Democrats, is vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Disability Caucus, and is the first district liaison to the party for the Veterans Caucus. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I decided to go to Obama.org just to check it out after looking at one of President Barack Obama’s posts on Twitter (my heart jumped and sank at writing that last statement). It was full of videos from the campaign in 2008. Almost all of it from Iowa. Young people, music, chanting and all the excitement of what could be. The hope, the change, the light in the peoples faces. I had to fight back the tears.

I feel like something inside me has faded. A light inside me is dim. I am afraid that the winds of change from 2016 have blown out my candle. I keep trying to light it but it is like lighting a wet wick. I can’t seem to find a hot enough fire. My heart literally aches.

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IA-01: Republicans really are writing off Rod Blum (updated)

With just seven weeks remaining before election day, “No Republican organization has put money toward TV ads that could benefit” U.S. Representative Rod Blum in Iowa’s first Congressional district, Barbara Rodriguez and Brianne Pfannenstiel reported for the Des Moines Register on September 17. Their analysis of television air time data from Kantar Media showed that groups supporting Democratic challenger Abby Finkenauer “have spent or reserved more than $1.2 million for airing political ads” in IA-01. Blum’s campaign has placed $129,000 in television ad buys, and no GOP-aligned groups have indicated plans to advertise in the district.

In many battleground Congressional races, candidates run mostly positive tv ads, while outside groups pay for the hatchet jobs. That normal division of labor won’t be available to Blum. He will have to cover the cost of any negative ads about Finkenauer from his own campaign funds, leaving less money to make an case for himself on the air.

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Iowans are health care voters

Sue Dinsdale of the Iowa Citizen Action Network reports on efforts to mobilize Americans who need quality, affordable health care, with protections for pre-existing conditions. -promoted by desmoinesdem

After watching U.S. Representatives Rod Blum (IA-01), David Young (IA-03), and Steve King (IA-04) vote time after time to repeal their coverage, Iowans understand that it has never been more important for lawmakers to stand up for our right to health care. And as one poll after another shows, health care will play a significant role in this year’s election.

Because of the urgency surrounding this issue, across Iowa and across the country, there is an aggressive mobilization effort underway in all 50 states by Health Care Voter in order to hold Republicans feet to the fire for their efforts to undermine and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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Grassley, Ernst join new GOP shell game on pre-existing conditions

Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are among ten U.S. Senate Republicans co-sponsoring a bill that purports to protect health insurance coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

There’s a catch: the legislation would require insurance companies to sell policies to people with pre-existing conditions, but it wouldn’t stop them from excluding coverage for those very conditions.

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Rest in peace, Leonard Boswell

Former U.S. Representative Leonard Boswell passed away on August 17 at the age of 84. He had long battled a rare cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei. Boswell publicly speculated in 2015 that exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War could have caused his abdominal tumors. According to a former staff member, a link to the powerful herbicide was later confirmed. In a recorded message to Iowa Democrats last year, Boswell said his doctors agreed that his disease stemmed from getting “pretty well soaked” while flying a crop-duster mission.

Surviving two tours of duty as an assault helicopter pilot in Vietnam was itself beating the odds. Boswell received numerous honors for his actions in that extremely dangerous role.

Following 20 years of military service, Boswell became a cattle farmer in southern Iowa. First elected to the Iowa Senate in 1984, he served three terms in the legislature, the last as Senate president. He was well-liked in Democratic circles. When I met him briefly during the 1994 campaign (he was the lieutenant governor nominee on a ticket with Bonnie Campbell), he seemed to have a larger-than-life personality.

After winning an open U.S. House seat in 1996, Boswell represented parts of central and southern Iowa in Congress for sixteen years. His proudest legislative accomplishment was sponsoring the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, which President George W. Bush signed in 2007. Though he belonged to the conservative “Blue Dog” caucus, Boswell voted for the major legislation of President Barack Obama’s first term, including the economic stimulus bill and the Affordable Care Act.

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