“I think there’s no time like the present,” Monica Vernon says. “I’ve always been a person that if I want to do something, which in this case is make progress for Iowans, I get at it early. There’s no sense in pulling the covers back over yourself or pushing the ‘ignore’ button. If I see a problem, I jump right in.”
Vernon was the Democratic Party’s nominee for lieutenant governor last November. Last June she finished second in the Democratic Primary in Iowa’s first congressional district.
“The congressman elected in this district has already shown himself to be a Tea Party obstructionist with his very first vote,” Vernon says. “I think that handicaps Iowans when you go against your own speaker who came in here and raised money for you. I don’t think that’s an Iowa value of loyalty or working together with people.”
First-term Republican Congressman Rod Blum of Dubuque joined Republican Congressman Steve King in an unsuccessful revolt against House Speaker John Boehner. Vernon says that will hurt Blum’s ability to work effectively for Iowa.
Vernon says her own 2016 campaign effort is enhanced by the contacts she made while campaigning statewide in 2014.
“I’ve had so many people reach out to me after the General Election Day in November and ask me: ‘What are you doing next?…Whatever you do, I’m going to be with you,'” Vernon says. “…By getting out early, all of those people with all of their enthusiasm are joining right in.”
Vernon, who is 57 years old, has been a member of the Cedar Rapids City Council for eight years. She was one of five Democrats who ran for northeast Iowa’s congressional seat in 2014. Vernon got 23 percent of the vote in that primary, then a couple of weeks later the Democratic Party’s nominee for governor asked Vernon to be his lieutenant governor running mate.