Finkenauer said farmers are concerned about the trade war and worried about getting financing for the next growing season.
“This is hitting our state so hard,” Finkenauer said. “The president and this administration decided to use our farmers and workers as poker chips they are willing to bet.”
Blum said farmers tell him times are tough, but they’re willing to look long term.
“‘We are willing to hang in there with the president,'” Blum said is the general consensus among farmers. “…If knows how to do anything, it’s how to negotiate good deals, so I believe we’re going to see a 20 year period of prosperity for our farmers, starting next year.”
The GOP tax plan that passed congress in December was another flash point during the hour-long forum.
“The tax cuts are working. We have more people than ever. Wages are up. Tax home pay is up,” Blum said and Finkenauer replied: “83 percent of it is going to the top one percent and corporations.”
During the course of the debate, each defended the sources of their campaign contributions. The debate moderators also asked each candidate to respond to questions about their personal finances. Finkenauer, as a state representative, failed to disclose when she took a job as state director of “Make It Work,” a non-profit group that lobbied for equal pay laws. Blum, as a member of congress, failed to report his ownership stake in “Tin Moon” — a company that helps firms with FDA violations bury that news in Google searches.
Finkenauer criticized the “fake testimonial” a member of Blum’s congressional staff recorded for one of Blum’s companies. Blum replied that he works 70 to 80 hours a week being a congressman and didn’t know anything about the testimonial. The audience laughed and cheered during this exchange between the two candidates.
The partisan sections also cheered their candidate when Finkenauer, then Blum commented on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The two candidates at various points touted the importance of bipartisanship, but each also blamed the other party for being more interested in scoring political points than in advancing policy.
“I’d love to see bipartisanship on every single bill,” said Blum, who is seeking a third term in the U.S. House. “It’s hard to get, though, when the other party’s political strategy is resist, resist, obstruct.”
Finkenauer has been a state representative for the past four years and could be among the youngest women ever elected to the U.S. House.
“With the votes we have seen from Congressman Blum, Washington has changed him,” Finkenauer said. “We deserve better.”
Tonight’s forum was broadcast by KWWL TV and held on the University of Northern Iowa campus.