The first congressional district includes the cities of Marshalltown, Grinnell, Waterloo and Congressman Blum’s hometown of Dubuque.
“I’ve lived the American Dream,” Blum says. “I’ve started a business, a business that went public, that employed 325 people.”
Cedar Rapids is also in tbe first district and that’s where Democratic challenger Monica Vernon lives.
“I’ve always been a working mom,” Vernon says. “My husband, Bill, and I raised three daughters while I built a small business, a market research business.”
Vernon was elected to the Cedar Rapids City Council in 2007. In mid-2008, historic flooding hit the city.
“You really see the good, the bad and the ugly about our state government and our federal government in coming back from disasters like that,” Vernon says. “And right then I decided: ‘Someone has to go upstream,’ and so I began on my trek.”
In 2014, Vernon finished second in the Democratic Primary for Iowa’s first congressional seat. A few days later, Vernon became the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.
Blum first ran for congress in 2012, losing in a Republican Primary. In 2014, Blum won the seat despite the Democratic Party’s voter registration advantage in the district. Blum’s a member of the conservative “Freedom Caucus” in congress.
“We need to cut the highest corporate tax rate in the world, while eliminating corporate welfare and crony capitalism,” he says. “We need to reduce our deficit and balance our budget. We need to fully exploit American energy resources and we need…lawsuit abuse reform.”
Vernon opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership. Blum says we need more trade to boost ag exports, but he hasn’t yet read the details of the TPP.
Blum opposes the nuclear deal with Iran. Vernon supports it.
Vernon would vote to raise the federal minimum wage. Blum says it’s a state issue.
Flood protection for Cedar Rapids is a key issue in the district. Vernon says she’d “squawk” more about federal foot-dragging on the Cedar Rapids flood wall if she were in congress. Blum says congress cannot “earmark” money for the project, so Iowa’s congressional delegation just has to “plead and beg” with bureaucrats to change their rules and finance the flood wall.
Check back tomorrow for Radio Iowa’s profile of the major party candidates in Iowa’s second congressional district.