By Molly Hunter
Sen. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, a candidate for the Iowa Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination, spoke at a Hawkeyes for Boulton launch event at Cortado on Wednesday afternoon.
Emiliano Martinez, a University of Iowa Latinx constituency student senator, is the primary organizer of Hawkeyes for Boulton.
“What got me more excited than anything during my finals week was watching Nate Boulton’s video where he talked about who he was and what his vision for Iowa was going to be about,” Martinez said.
Workers’ rights and education were at the forefront of Boulton’s remarks on Wednesday.
“We saw this year an aggressive agenda that only sought to hold back and take away from those people who do make our economy run in Iowa,” Boulton said.
Iowa Professional Firefighters trustee Brandon Pflanzer said Boulton stands for Iowa’s working families.
“[Firefighters] stood with labor under the attacks during the last legislative session,” he said. “A lot of senators stood with us, but nobody stood taller than Nate Boulton.”
Boulton recently received the endorsement of the Iowa Professional Firefighters, which represents more than 1,600 firefighters across the state. The Iowa City chapter is home to 58 firefighters, Pflanzer said.
Boulton also noted that state budget cuts affect Iowa’s college students.
“[Gov. Kim Reynolds] is telling us … there’s been no impact on services because of the budget cuts,” Boulton said. “But we’re seeing it at public universities, like the UI. They’re talking about a 7 percent tuition hike [per year] over the next five years.”
Boulton said not just public universities are under financial pressure.
“The whole system is taking a step back. We actually had some of our public universities competing against our private colleges and community colleges for funding in the Legislature this year,” he said. “Our state has never done that. We have never tried to pick winners and losers in education.”
“I think a lot of students have a ton of interest in Nate as a candidate,” Martinez said.
University of Iowa sophomores Samuel Eck, Jordan Miller, and Austin Wu attended the launch to learn more about Boulton.
“Ideally, I’d like a real left candidate,” Eck said. “Someone who supports high minimum wage and helping out the worker [and is] super green.”
Miller, meanwhile, said that for him, education is an important issue.
“Especially [with] the college hikes that were just proposed, hopefully, he’s going to talk about that,” he said. “That affects all of us here.”
Wu said he’s looking for a candidate who will take a strong stance and work toward clear goals.
“I’d like to see a stronger left-wing candidate, stronger support for labor unions, affordable tuition rates, higher minimum wage,” Wu said.
Martinez said many students are showing a lot of interest in the gubernatorial primary.
“There is so much energy on the campus for political action right now, getting involved, being an activist, doing the real work and getting stuff done,” Martinez said. “All the candidates are great, but I’m running for Nate because he’s going to be a champion in Des Moines.”