By Madeleine Neal
For Democrat Cathy Glasson, Iowa’s 2018 gubernatorial race is all about boldness and progress.
“We can take back Iowa by the things that people care about — raising the wage to $15 an hour, creating good jobs that are union jobs that allow workers to have a voice on the job, universal health care; we would reduce a lot of anxiety in families about the cost of high health care and coverage if we just covered every Iowan,” Glasson said. “And we made sure that we offered a strong, solidly funded public education, minimized tuition for our universities, and then also offer free community college to students who want to use that.”
In her Iowa City campaign event in Lucky’s Market on Wednesday, Glasson said she believes Iowans from across the political spectrum can be unified.
“I just think if we have a conversation like we’ve had here, I’ve been sitting at tables with people, talking about concerns, the right and the left aren’t that different,” she said. “People are struggling no matter what party you belong to, where you live, or what you look like, and so I think if we talk about it that way versus left [versus] right and rural [versus] urban, we’d be much better off.”
Glasson’s campaign manager, Brian Shepherd, said Iowa Democrats must do a better job talking to people who are struggling financially.
“I think people were frustrated and didn’t see a clear contrast between candidates — I think there’s always this talk, especially in Iowa, about the division between people who live in cities and rural Iowans, but if I’m living in northwestern Iowa, I’m still worried about how I’m going to pay the bills, how my kids are going to go to school, farmers care about clean water,” he said. “I think we create these ideas about campaigns in our head where we dehumanize people and think about people as numbers on a spreadsheet, that’s the wrong strategy — we’ve got to really, really be concerned about every day and then actually move on that agenda.”
The division, he said, could have affected the 2016 election.
“I don’t think it was a matter of all these people ended up going to Trump, I think that people didn’t have something to vote for,” he said. “And I think that was the big problem, not just in Iowa, I think that was nationally.”
Shepherd said Glasson has what it takes to energize groups such as young people.
Rebecca Barrett, who will graduate from the University of Iowa in August, also thinks Glasson could gain a similar vote.
“I like the direction she’s taking the [Democratic] Party,” she said. “I think it’s definitely in the vein of people who like Bernie Sanders, I think it’s the future of where the party is going.”
Barrett said one of the reasons she thinks the Democratic Party failed in 2016 was that it was trying to be favored by Republicans.
“They’re trying to get as right as possible without losing their base and trying to pick up as many of those Republicans as possible, and I think we’ve seen that that isn’t working,” she said. “People see the Democratic Party as a wishy-washy party that doesn’t really have any values and that doesn’t really stand for anything, which is what I really like about Cathy. She’s not afraid to stand up for the working-class people, to stand up for what the people of Iowa really know they need.”