Congresswoman Cindy Axne says the attack on the U.S. Capitol a year ago highlights the need to ensure free and fair elections.
“Our democracy is fragile,” Axne said yesterday. “…We need Americans to understand that to protect it is really important for all us.”
Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, spoke with reporters following a forum in Clive. She said U.S. Senate passage of a voting rights bill “is the key priority right now.” In August, Axne voted for the House bill that would restore federal oversight of states with a history of voting discrimination and make it more difficult for states to close polling places.
“We have a big election coming up, midterm elections,” Axne said, “and unfortunately across this country we have seen too many states put in voter suppression laws.”
Axne said she’s very concerned by a recent Washington Post survey indicating a third of Americans believe violence against the government is sometimes justified. She also cites a National Public Radio poll that found nearly two-thirds of Americans believe our republic is at risk of failing.
“We are the beacon for light and hope for democracy in the world,” Axne said, “and when a large portion of our population says: ‘I don’t think we’re going to see a safe election the next time,’ we’ve some things to work on.”
Axne was in Washington, D.C. a year ago, but was not in the Capitol when rioters breached the barriers. Axne said more must be done to secure the building. She also said the work of the House committee examining last year’s riot is critical.
“Understanding how people were so enticed to literally attack our Capitol is important for us to know,” Axne said. “It means there is something in the American culture that said: ‘This is o.k.'”
Republican Congresswoman Ashley Hinson of Marion has issued a written statement on the one year anniversary of the Capitol attack, thanking Capitol Police for their bravery that day. “I strongly condemn the violence on January 6th, — the events of that day were horrific,” Hinson said. “Those who broke the law should be prosecuted and held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”