Democrats say Republican congressional candidate Brad Zaun of Urbandale is “insensitive” for complaining earlier this year about flood victims who seek government help.
Zaun made the comments four months ago during a forum in Des Moines. “What has been forgotten is personal responsibility. We’ve lost that as a country,” Zaun said. “We expect when there’s a flood or something that’s going on, the government to come in and help us.”
Zaun is challenging Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell in November and Zaun’s comments were posted on-line Tuesday by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Sue Dvorsky chimed in, too, saying Iowans believe there is a role for government when natural disaster strikes.
“Brad Zaun, talking about personal responsibility is where they need to go when their house gets washed away,” Dvorsky said during an IowaPolitics.com forum this morning. “…People in this state do not believe for a minute that the people in Manchester or Cedar Rapids are standing there with their hand out, waiting for some kind of government…to come down and save them, but they’re looking for partnership.”
Boswell, the Democrat Zaun hopes to unseat, issued a written statement this afternoon, calling Zaun’s comment about flood victims “insensitive and out-of-touch.” Boswell accused Zaun of having a “long record of repeatedly voting against helping Iowa’s families, small businesses, and farmers in the aftermath of the 2008 floods.” According to Boswell, Iowans pay taxes with the “expectation that when a disaster strikes” they’ll get some help from the government to rebuild their homes and businesses.”
Zaun is in Washington, D.C., and this evening he issued a written statement about the remarks he made in late March. “My statements have been taken out of context by the liberal hit machine in DC.,” Zaun said in the written statement. “…Shame on Congressman Boswell and his liberal friends in DC for using people’s recent tragedy to attempt to score cheap political points. This specific display of politics is example of why Leonard Boswell will be retired this Fall.”
Boswell and the four other men in Iowa’s congressional delegation issued a joint statement Tuesday, urging the Obama administration to speed up damage assessments in Iowa so federal disaster aid can be distributed more quickly. The group of two Republicans and three Democrats in Iowa’s congressional delegation co-signed a letter, complaining about red tape that delays the delivery of federal disaster aid.
(This story was updated at 6:45 p.m. with Zaun’s statement.)