The latest entrant in the race for the Iowa Democratic party’s 2006 gubernatorial nomination says it will take “big ideas” to win.

Gregg Connell, the mayor Shenandoah, says Shenandoah is a tough place to be a Democrat, with three times as many Republicans as Democrats in the southwest Iowa town.

“So how does a high-profile Democrat win every election that he’s ever run in southwest Iowa? I win the way Democrats always win because I’m a Democrat of big ideas and not only just a Democrat of big ideas, but a Democrat (who) gets things done and in Shenandoah’s case, has lowered taxes every year,” Connell says.

Connell says Democrats are the party that brought the country Social Security, Civil Rights, Medicare, student loans and minimum wage. At the state level, Connell says Democrats’ big ideas were the Iowa Values Fund which hands out huge grants to businesses and the Vision Iowa fund which handed out grants for city projects like sports arenas and museums. Connell says his “big idea” will be to make Iowa energy self-sufficient with “renewable” fuels like ethanol, soydiesel, and wind energy.

“We have completely handicapped and crippled this state and this nation as a result of our energy dependence on foreign sources,” Connell says. “What I propose is that we draw the line in the fertile soil of Iowa and that Iowa lead this nation back towards energy independence, becoming the first self-sustaining state as far as energy production.”

If elected, Connell would sign legislation requiring all gas pumps to dispense only ethanol fuel, and he would use state gambling taxes as collateral to borrow a billion dollars to build a state-owned wind farm in northern Iowa to produce electricity for Iowa homes. Connell made his comments during a public appearance this past weekend in Des Moines that featured all the candidates in the Democratic field.