A vote for stability

EDITORIALS

BY ART CULLEN

Hearty congratulations to Mayor-elect Mike Porsch, and Councilmen-elect Jose Ibarra and Dan Smith, on their victories Tuesday in city elections. Our gratitude goes to the several other candidates who offered their public service to the voters. They all are good people who want the best for Storm Lake. And, a shout-out to Al Clark, who moved to Alta from Cedar Falls and won the Alta mayor’s race. It’s great to see someone dig in to his adopted hometown.

We were impressed with a couple facts in the Storm Lake election:

• Porsch won big over a friendly, funny and smart John Crampton.  Porsch’s long service on the city council recommended him well. Everyone in town knows him as a humble, moderate person who is the definition of steady-as-she-goes. That he won so big tells us that the voters want familiar and steady, not necessarily any big change in direction. Porsch makes people feel welcome and comfortable. He offers experience and wisdom to the council. Likewise, Smith was perceived as a laid-back, friendly guy who is mainly interested in promoting Storm Lake to a wider region. He also has questions about housing and how to improve Storm Lake. We have known Smith all our lives. He listens and thinks and tries to find middle ground. It is in his nature. He is not a fighter, and he is not stupid. Everybody knows that, and that’s why he got elected. The voters told us they want people who get along to get the job done.

• Jose Ibarra is a young man who ran to put a voice for immigrants on the council. He was by far the highest vote-getter among the council candidates. He worked it hard, and he turned out Latino and Asian friends who want that voice as well. Good for him. We have missed Sara Monroy Huddleston, a Latina, on the council. We appreciate Emilia Marroquin’s service on the school board, and especially her support for Dreamers. It is good that a young Latino like Ibarra is stepping up and staking a claim in Storm Lake. It will encourage more people to serve, just as Huddleston and Marroquin have inspired people. It tells us that The City Beautiful is mindful and supportive of immigrants and is ready to move forward with them.

As we said Wednesday, Storm Lake is well positioned to move forward. We have a new city administrator who is flexible, creative and accessible to the public, we have a new person in charge of public works who will improve our streets, we have a solid public safety department that is recognized nationally for serving a diverse community. We have needs, like better housing, in which the city can play a significant role. We have endured a few budgets recently that increased property taxes and reduced services, but we hope next year will be firmer with a new finance director. We need to plod straight ahead and not lurch in any one direction. Continue to make Storm Lake a prosperous, safe, tolerant and clean community. That’s what voters suggested Tuesday.

Trump boomerang hits

Voters across the country rejected fear and boorishness in an anti-Trump boomerang that may portend a wave in the 2018 mid-term elections. It was especially evident in Virginia, where the Democratic lieutenant governor with a slight Southern drawl from the rural area of the state trounced the racist campaign mounted by the Republican in a campaign that mimicked Trump’s. Voters said they had enough of that hate and division, where Dreamers were deliberately conflated with gangbangers.

The main concern of voters, rural and urban, in Virginia in exit polls was health care. In Maine, a purple state with a rabid Republican governor, voters easily approved of a Medicaid expansion for the working poor in the wake of Congress’ failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Health care was the big issue in Tennessee, where a bunch of Bernie Sanders acolytes took seats in the legislature. And in New Jersey, the Democrat blew out the Republican lieutenant governor to the loudmouth Chris Christie to succeed him as governor.

Iowans should take note of this. Gov. Terry Branstad made a mess of Medicaid with his effort to take it private. His successor, acting Gov. Kim Reynolds, will be saddled with it. Many voters here are outraged that nursing homes are closing, health care providers are getting stiffed on payments from insurance companies, that AmeriHealth insurance pulled out as one of three providers, and that patients are being denied service or their medical relationships are being interrupted. In a geriatric state, health care policy has big consequences. It provides any number of Democratic candidates with an opening. Already Fred Hubbell of Des Moines has been having a field day.

Voters said “Enough!” to division and derision. They are fed up with hating on immigrants. That was the entire message of Republican Ed Gillespie in the rout he suffered. They are mortified by the mistreatment of the innocent children of undocumented immigrants. Iowa voters are not that different. This, too, is a state that favors consensus and unity over putting people down. You never know, if the wave becomes a tsunami maybe Steve King’s nose won’t be long enough to breathe through it.