Vote for Huddleston

EDITORIAL

BY ART CULLEN

Iowa cannot afford another couple years of unimpeded one-party rule. The state is hobbled by a coronavirus and is headed for a fiscal train wreck under the fumbling leadership of Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature, entirely controlled by the Republican Party. The Medicaid system is a mess — 90% of Iowa hospitals are dissatisfied with the privatized system rolled out by Gov. Terry Branstad and implemented by Reynolds. The governor conspired with federal and meatpacking officials to slow down COVID-19 testing in food processing communities and expose workers to unsafe working conditions. Our higher education system is in imminent risk of implosion. Our surface water is polluted and rural areas are bleeding people and prospects.

Iowa was better off with divided government. One-party rule is killing this state.

We are old enough to fondly remember Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, working closely with Senate Republican Leader Jeff Lamberti to create the Vision Iowa program that gave so many cities a new lease on life, including Storm Lake. It leveraged more than $2 billion in new investment in our state. That’s what happens when practical people are forced to work together. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal, a brilliant politician, was able to keep Branstad from some of his worst political excesses.

The best chance the state has for balance is for Democrats to recapture control of the House of Representatives. Reynolds has two more years in office, and the Senate might be out of reach. But just a few seats can flip the House, which would bring some sanity and stability back to the Statehouse.

That’s why you should vote for Sara Monroy Huddleston for the Iowa House. The Storm Lake Democrat is running for the second time against Rep. Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake. Huddleston is a former 12-year member of the Storm Lake City Council. She would be the first Latina elected to the legislature. Huddleston is cheerful and friendly, and works hard. She is a native of Mexico who earned her US citizenship. Huddleston earned a degree from Buena Vista University while rearing her daughter with husband Matt. For many years she was the only voice for Latinas in Storm Lake, and has inspired service in others who now serve on the city council and school board.

She will be a strong advocate for education and health care.

Worthan is a reliable Farm Bureau vote. He takes his job seriously. But we can’t think of anything he has done to really help Storm Lake. He considered lake dredging a luxury. He scoffs at efforts to improve water quality. He does what he is told. That’s fine if you want the Raccoon River to reek with pollution, or if you don’t care that Iowa State University is a subsidiary of Koch Industries and Bayer Chemical. But that’s one reason that Sac County is wisping away, because of the indifference, and it holds Storm Lake back from progress.

Huddleston knocked on every door in BV and Sac counties last time around. She got no help from the party in Des Moines. She won’t this time, either. Worthan easily defeated her. But when you consider the catastrophe that the Reynolds Administration is running, which treats Storm Lake and immigrant workers as collateral damage of a broken and cynical food industry, voters might pause to reconsider. Sara Huddleston could be a voice for those workers, for teacher aides who get paid too little, for an unemployment system that works. She could be a voice of moderation in what has become a shrill civic discussion. Mainly, if just one of the chambers were to turn blue, our state would benefit from a more productive politics. We know how to do it. Vilsack and Lamberti showed us how. Four more years of a GOP freight train and Lord only knows how sorry our affairs will lay.

Give Sara Huddleston another chance to serve. She is earnest. Everything she has done she has earned. She is the American Story. She would bring us credit as a representative, and she has the ability to restore comity in the capitol. She is not a fighter. She is a problem-solver. She worked with battered women. She knows what it is like just trying to survive. We need that perspective now more than ever. Sara Huddleston is a good friend and a proud Storm Laker who deserves your vote no matter your party.

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