Republicans hear local, state candidates at fundraiser

Lt Gov Adam Gregg

Enthusiasm ran high at a Greene County Republican fundraiser/campaign rally Oct. 9 at the Grand Junction Community Center. About 125 persons attended the event, including several county and state candidates.

Lt Gov Adam Gregg was the headliner, but he spoke first rather than last, noting that as often as possible he likes to home at his children’s bedtime. He represented Gov Kim Reynolds and himself, both incumbents running for election to their respective offices for the first time.
According to Gregg, ”All the easy problems are solved long before they ever make it to the governor’s office. When you sign up for a job like governor or lieutenant governor, you’re signing up for the tough problems.” He named as examples the tornadoes of July 19, and learning last January there would be no health insurers offering insurance on the individual insurance market as “tough problems.”

“The question on Nov. 6 is ‘who do you to take care of those tough problems?’ There’s no doubt in my mind that person is Gov Kim Reynolds,” Gregg said.

He claimed that Reynolds has accomplished every goal she announced in the Condition of the State address, including measures for more mental health services and job training. He mentioned tax reform, and reminded the audience that “there wasn’t a single Democrat who wanted your taxes to go down.”

He boasted of U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of Iowa as No. 1 state in the nation and named some of the rankings that went into that calculation. He also noted Iowa’s unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, an 18-year low for the state and the second lowest in the country.

“None of that opportunity and success happens on its own,” Gregg said. “It takes experience and leadership at the top. It takes the kind of leadership Gov Reynolds has provided during her time as lieutenant governor and as governor.”

He then exhorted the audience to elect Republicans up and down the ticket.

After Gregg’s departure, county chair Roger Olhausen introduced county candidates.

Incumbent supervisors Dawn Rudolph and Tom Contner made brief remarks. Rudolph said that as a farmer and former mayor of Scranton she understands the problems town and rural residents. She said the board of supervisors spends tax dollars wisely, and that progress has been made in in the areas of mental health and public health. Contner introduced himself and said Rudolph had “summed it up” for him, too.

Candidate for county treasurer Katlynn Gannon Mechaelsen told of her activities as a student at East Greene High School and  at AIB College of Business, where she earned bachelor degrees in accounting and business administration.

She told of developing a work ethic and perseverance as part of the farm family of Hugh and Denise Gannon. “I’ve never steered away from a challenge. I always hit everything head on, with focus and determination,” she said.

Mechaelsen is the youngest candidate for county office. She said her generation, the Millennials, isn’t regarded as being “the greatest at hard work,” but said she would work hard every day.

She told of being diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 20 and the treatments she underwent. She has been healthy for three years and that the experience helped her find a sense of purpose and a desire to give back to the community that was so supportive of her.

She promised to “give 110 percent every day,” and said she wants Greene County to thrive and grow so her children will want to come back.

Phil Thompson

Phil Thompson, candidate for the Statehouse from the 47th District, did not give biographical information, perhaps because he’s well known to most of those at the fundraiser. He spent most of his time encouraging the audience to knock on doors, talk to friends, and to contribute money “to get a good, positive, conservative message out there.”

“The other side is working very hard and they’re motivated. We’ve got to match that energy. We’ve got to match that amount of charisma,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he’s not “hitting on every door. I’m trying to talk to people with commons sense that are patriots that know in their heart they’re Republicans and they should turn out to vote for Republicans.” He said the Republicans can’t take the election for granted; there’s too much at stake.

Senator Jerry Behn is not up for re-election but he made brief comments. According to Behn, the 2017 legislative session passed 26 bills that would help Iowans or job creators, and the 2018 session passed another 32.

He said it’s “absolutely vital that we keep Gov Reynolds on. And, if we don’t elect Phil Thompson, if we don’t have a majority in the house, they can’t pass those bills. If we don’t have a majority in the Senate, we can’t pass those bills.”

“We’ve made such progress, we don’t want to take a step back,” Behn said.

Sec of State Paul Pate

Paul Pate, incumbent candidate for secretary of state, first served in that office from 1994 to 1998. He operated his family-owned asphalt company, and then was elected again as secretary of state in 2014.

He said in those four years he worked with the legislature for voter ID laws and he changed office procedures to fast-track business filings. He said a record number of new businesses have registered as LLCs through his office.

Pate was the first candidate to speak specifically about his opponent. According to him, liberal super PACs and Democrats (including President Obama and Hillary Clinton) are “buying off” Democratic Deidre DeJear with donations because of the secretary of state’s role as commissioner of elections. “They want to buy off the umpire, the referee,” Pate said.

Pate said Democrats across the country are aggressively targeting secretary of state races, and that DeJear will receive $1 million in Super PAC money.

He said the media has misrepresented the new voter ID laws, and that if he is not re-elected they’ll be rescinded. He criticized the Polk County district court judge who ruled the new law is not necessary because there is no voter fraud. On appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court, Pate’s office was allowed to continue rolling out the new law for this year, but “sidetracked” on the absentee ballot portion of the bill.

Jeremy Davis

Jeremy Davis, Republican candidate for state treasurer, spoke last of the candidates. He farms in eastern Iowa and works for the National Pork Producers Council. He was tapped in early June by Gov Reynolds to run for the state treasurer position.

He said he’s running because he sees a lack of transparency in how the state treasurer’s office operates. He said Iowans can find online the state’s check ledger and see $7 billion in state spending, but the budget line the expense is being taken from and supporting documentation for the expense is not posted.

Davis wants the budgets of the Regents universities to be available publicly also. He said the University of Iowa’s total budget is $6 billion. “If we’re talking transparency and we’re talking sunshine laws, it’s time we make our whole state budget and all our state finances truly transparent to the people of Iowa,” he said.

He criticized incumbent state treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, a Democrat, for promoting the Iowa 529 Plan (college savings), saying he was in violation of the new state law prohibiting statewide elected officials from utilizing taxpayer dollars for self-promotion. Davis claims that Fitzgerald’s promotion of the 529 Plan is self-promotion and calls into question his integrity.

He said as state treasurer he would “call out every elected official, if you’re doing something wrong or unethical with our state’s finances, because every Iowan deserves elected officials to do things the right way every time, and all the way through their term of service.”

He also said the state treasurer should have dialog with taxpayers about how state money is spent.

The final speaker was Cody Hoefeort, co-chair of the Republican Party of Iowa. He also worked to motivate and energize Republicans for the Nov. 6 election.

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