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Tama County Democrats hear from governor, congressional candidates

November 12, 2017
By Allison Graham - The News-Herald ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Health care, immigration, education and taxes were some of the topics discussed by Iowa Democratic gubernatorial and congressional hopefuls on Saturday evening. Candidates gathered at the Tama Civic Center for a spaghetti supper sponsored by the Tama County Democratic Party.

Attending the supper were three of the eight candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor including Nate Boulton, Jon Neiderbach and John Norris. Also attending was former Iowa State Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, who spoke on behalf of Dr. Andy McGuire who is also making a bid for the governor's office. Other candidates include Cathy Glasson, Fred Hubbell, Gary Wells and former Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn.

One U.S. Congressional candidate, Thomas Heckroth, also made an appearance on Saturday. Heckroth is one of four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination and the opportunity to challenge Republican House of Representatives incumbent, Rod Blum. Heckroth was last to speak to the crowd gathered at the Civic Center and he delivered thoughts surrounding the idea of an economy that values work over wealth.

Article Photos

Members of the Tama County Democratic Party gathered to hear from gubernatorial, congressional candidates at a spaghetti supper on Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Tama Civic Center. Gubernatorial candidates Nate Boulton, John Norris and a representative for Dr. Andy McGuire along with 1st District
Congressional candidate Thomas Heckroth were present.
News Herald Photos/Allison Graham

First to speak was Jon Neiderbach. Neiderbach was the Democratic nominee for Iowa State Auditor in the 2014 elections. A first-generation Iowan, Neiderbach found his way to the Hawkeye State in his late teens. He attended Grinnell College. It was there he met his wife, a 6th generation Iowan. He fell in love with both his now wife and the State of Iowa.

Neiderbach expressed that Iowa needs to be bold saying "We've lost our focus on working families." Neiderbach recognized the need for more mental health access in the State. He proposes legalizing cannabis to bring in more funding for things like mental health.

Next to speak was John Norris. Norris is a fifth generation Iowan who was raised on a family farm in Montgomery County. Norris graduated from Red Oak Community High School. From there he attended Simpson College and later the University of Iowa College of Law.

Earlier in his career, Norris worked for former Senator Tom Harkin. Norris chaired the Iowa Democratic Party following Governor Vilsack's win. Norris coordinated Vilsack's first cabinet and staff. Vilsack later appointed Norris to Chair the Iowa Utilities Board and chief of staff at the US Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. President Obama appointed Norris to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Then President Obama appointed him to represent the United States on agricultural policy at the United Nation/s Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program in Rome, Italy.

Norris now co-owns the State Public Policy Group.

"I care passionately about the future of this State," said Norris. He went on to express that immigration is the heart and soul of the State. "We don't lift ourselves up by bringing others down."

He and his wife live in Des Moines with their three sons.

Nate Boulton was the final gubernatorial candidate to speak on Saturday. Boulton was born and raised in Columbus Junction. He attended Simpson College and later Drake University Law School. Boulton who was elected to the Iowa State Senate in 2016, was the only sitting member of the House or Senate to speak in Tama on Saturday. He represents District 16.

If elected governor, Boulton plans to fight for quality job growth, rebuild the proud quality of life in Iowa and restore funding for Planned Parenthood.

Boulton was the only candidate to speak directly about the former Iowa Juvenile Home that was shuttered by the State in 2014 as well as former State facilities in Clarinda and Independence that all now sit empty.

"Those places are shut down but they are still there and the need for their services is still there. It's very frustrating to see that that is going on. We have the facility in Eldora but we don't have anything for girls. The frustration is that often there isn't anywhere to send someone who needs that level of supervision and care and at a critical time in their lives. I mean we're talking about going down a very dark path the rest of their lives if we don't catch and correct with supervision and intervention." said Boulton

Boulton is the youngest candidate seeking the governor's office at this time. He is quick to point out however that at 37 he is older than former Governor Terry Branstad when Branstad got his start in Iowa politics.

Primaries will take place June 5, 2018 and general elections occur on November 6, 2018.



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