Iowa Gubernatorial Candidate Stresses Progressive Change


Union activist Cathy Glasson announced her bid for Iowa Governor on Sept. 19 in Cedar Rapids, saying she entered the race, “Because I’m sick and tired of seeing the working people of Iowa get beat up.”

The Republican leadership of Kim Reynolds and her predecessor, Terry Branstad, has caused many of the ills plaguing the Hawkeye State. Republican legislators controlling state government have passed legislation attacking workers, from gutting collective bargaining for public sector unions to abolishing county-level minimum wage increases, all within the last year. As they conspire in more attacks, Glasson is working with a broad movement to unite working people in a push for long-term progressive change.

“The number one job for a governor is to raise wages and the standard living for the people of Iowa,” Glasson said.

Glasson has worked as an intensive care nurse at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for over 20 years. As a “frontline nurse,” Glasson led the effort to organize fellow nurses into a union, which prevailed. She went on to organize workers in three other hospitals and was elected president of her union. She does not rest on her laurels, but continues joining workers on the streets, as she did this past Labor Day supporting the Fight for $15.

With her candidacy, Glasson stresses the lessons drawn from the labor movement. “Unions are the only way working people can move forward.”

Glasson is the first Iowa gubernatorial candidate to support a living hourly wage of $15, universal healthcare and combatting climate change. These are just a few of the positions that not only distinguish her from Reynolds, but also from her Democratic challengers. Glasson does not shy away from the word “Progressive,” saying that “nipping around the edges of core issues goes nowhere.”

“By staying in the middle, nothing changes in the everyday lives of Iowans,” Glasson said.

The Republican leadership in Iowa is partly a reflection of the personalities represented in the US Congress. Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican career politician who has bamboozled voters of both parties into thinking he cares about Iowa workers, made headlines with his statements supporting the GOP Tax Bill, claiming workers spend “every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

Glasson responded to Grassley’s claim statement by stating, “The senator is out of touch with working people, out of touch with what’s going on in Iowa.”

Another person out of touch with reality is US Rep. Steve King, who said, “Diversity is not our strength,” just one of many “King-isms” fomenting bigotry among his constituency. His admiration of European Far-Right nationalists and support for draconian immigration laws makes him one of the most dangerous ideologues Iowa has ever produced. Despite this, Reynolds allows King to serve as her state co-chair of her campaign.

“I believe diversity is our strength,” Glasson said. “We need to be united, not divided.”

Glasson opposes the fever nightmares of King and his ilk. At a DREAMER rally outside of a town hall meeting hosting Sen. Joni Ernst (R), Glasson said, “Every Iowan deserves to pursue their dreams and live their life to their full potential. We must fight back against the attack on Dreamers. To threaten their future by taking away their DACA status — to pull the rug out from under 800,000 young people who are working, going to school, serving in the military and as first responders — is wrong.”

Glasson’s campaign has received endorsements from progressive groups such as Iowa CCI Action PAC, Iowa Action, Our Revolution and the Democratic Socialists of America (Iowa City). According to an Iowa CCI statement, “Cathy Glasson is a different kind of candidate, running on a promise to govern in a very different way.”

The candidate has received individual endorsements from union members belonging to AFSCME, ATU, BLET, CWA, IBEW, IUP and UAW. She has been endorsed by the National Nurses United, the largest union of professional nurses in the US. Honored by their support, Glasson said, “Nurses in the NNU are leading the fight in our nation to make health care a right for all, not just a privilege for the wealthy few.”

The Glasson campaign has been engaging with everyday Iowans, to excite them into raising their voices to create a drastic change in how their state is being governed. The positive feedback from potential voters at town hall meetings has boosted her confidence in how her message is being received.

“It’s been amazing,” Glasson said, “exceeding our expectations in building this movement.”

Glasson’s message reflects the message of working people who refuse to accept corporate looting and create positive change in 2018 and beyond.

“It’s not about me,” Glasson said. “It is about the people of Iowa.”

Mike Kuhlenbeck is a journalist based in Des Moines. Email

From The Progressive Populist, Febuary 15, 2018

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