State Representative Todd Prichard is formally entering the Democratic race for governor this morning with an appearance in his hometown of Charles City. He’s also proposing “free” community college tuition for all Iowans as the centerpiece of his campaign.
“An educated workforce allows employers to grow and it attracts employers to come to the state and it commands high wages,” Prichard said during an interview with Radio Iowa.
Prichard calls it the “last dollar” scholarship.
“Once a student has applied and been accepted to community college and they’ve gotten their aid package, this plan would cover the unmet costs of going to community college,” Prichard said. “It basically means free community college. It’s something that Arkansas has done recently.”
The state of Arkansas is spending about $8 million on its program this year. According to Prichard, the State of Iowa cannot afford to lag behind other states when it comes to preparing a skilled workforce.
“We have to make investments in the education system, in our workforce,” Prichard said.
Prichard’s proposal of “free” community college would only be available to Iowa high school graduates or Iowa residents returning to school for a degree or technical certificate.
“You’d have to commit to stay in Iowa for three years after your completion of the degree or certificate program,” Prichard said. “And we would give priority to programs that are identified as high-demand, critical-need type programs or skills.”
Prichard, a 42-year-old lawyer, was a company commander in the Iowa National Guard and served about 16 months in Iraq. He’s been a member of the Iowa House for the past five years. After his 9 a.m. news conference at a coffee shop in Charles City, Prichard will make stops in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines.
A handful of other Democrats are considering a candidacy or have formally launched campaigns to compete for their party’s 2018 nomination for governor.