By Madeleine Neal
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell, a University of Iowa law school alumnus, was a former chairman of Younkers and president of Equitable of Iowa and also served as an interim director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development.
The Daily Iowan spoke with Hubbell about his top campaign issues and his priorities and using his experience to bridge the gap between party lines.
Hubbell on why he’s running for governor:
“Well, you know, I’ve been around Iowa for a long time, and I’ve always been able to be proud of Iowa because it was pretty much a moderate state; supported people, whether they were a Democrat, independent, or Republican, the government tried to do a good job for people — tried to support growth across the state and showed respect for people, both in and out of government. But over the last two years, I’ve seen that this governor and the Legislature have no idea how to manage the budget, and they talk about their priorities, but they put the money in completely different places, and where they’re putting it is causing our budget challenges, which is significant …”
Hubbell’s private sector experience:
“There are a few things that I try to emphasize — one is my experience. Ever since I graduated from law school at the University of Iowa, after that, I went to work in business for quite a few years. I stopped being a lawyer and went to work at Younkers and was the chairman of Younkers during the 1980s farm crisis; then [I] helped steer that business through the farm crisis, then to become much more successful. After that, I ended up becoming the CEO of Equitable Life Insurance Co. of Iowa for a good number of years and its successor company — a large public company … So I have a lot of private-sector experience leading large organizations.”
Hubbell’s public-sector experience:
“After that, [former] Gov. [Chet] Culver [D] asked me twice to work for the state — first for the Iowa Department of Economic Development, he asked me to take over that and be the director of that department because we had a film-tax-credit scandal in 2009, and it looked like it was going to cost the state a couple hundred million dollars. So he fired the director and asked me to come in and take over and work for the Attorney General’s Office to resolve the scandal, which we did — we got it down to less than $25 million. But more importantly, we refocused the efforts for economic development …”
Hubbell and the Iowa Power Fund:
“…Then also in 2007 to 2010, Culver had me take over as chair of the Iowa Power Fund, which was a four-year effort to invest and save money and retract money from out-of-state, to invest in renewable energy, renewable fuel, wind, and solar all across Iowa, which we did. So I have a lot of experience in both private sector and public sector, actually getting results for people, moving our economy along with focusing on renewable energy, renewable fuels, and helping businesses and communities be more successful.”
Hubbell on what makes him a unique candidate for governor:
“I’ve never been a candidate before — I’ve never been a politician; I’ve never run for office. All the nonprofit experience I’ve had, which is four years’ worth of that kind of work plus the private sector and the civic activities I’ve done. I’d never experienced people asking anybody whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat and trying to divide people along those lines. It seems like it’s only in government people get hung up on being Republican or Democrat, and I want to try to bridge that gap and be a governor for all Iowans.”