The two major party candidates who hope to represent Iowa’s second congressional district are squaring off over flood recovery plans for Cedar Rapids. Democrat Dave Loebsack from Mt. Vernon says he’s spent a lot of time over the past two years fighting for more money for flood recovery, even when it means going up against his own party.
“Last summer, when the leadership in the House was attempting to take money away from long-term flood mitigation, a second bunch of money from HUD, about $311 million, I resisted that very strongly to get that money put back in,” Loebsack said. The two-term incumbent says he’s pushing for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to invest in flood protection on both sides of the Cedar River.
Loebsack’s challenger, Republican Marianette Miller-Meeks, agrees with the city’s plan for flood protection, but says working on government funding isn’t enough. The Ottumwa resident says small businesses in Cedar Rapids are not able to navigate the system.
“They are having difficulty in accessing resources and money,” Miller-Meeks said. “And the strings attached the money that they have – has made it very difficult for them. Some of these businesses have already left the Cedar Rapids area and more are leaving in other areas as well, too.”
Miller-Meeks says a congressional representative needs to spend more time with business owners, not just assume that work on Capitol Hill is getting back to the district. Both candidates made their comments on the Iowa Public Radio program The Exchange.
Loebsack and Miller-Meeks will meet for a debate tonight in Cedar Rapids. It’s scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at Betty Cherry Heritage Hall at Mount Mercy University.