Hubbell brings gubernatorial bid to Spencer

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell visits with voters at The Bear in Spencer on Friday during his “Putting People First Tour.” (Photo by Joseph Hopper)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell, a Des Moines native, met with a group of voters during a scheduled stop in Spencer at The Bear Coffee House and Wine Bar during the lunch hour Friday. Hubbell’s Spencer stop was No. 7 out of 16 for his “Putting People First Tour,” which spans four days across northwest and eastern Iowa.

“I’m here traveling northwest Iowa and the rest of our state, because if you look at the fiscal mismanagement we have going on in Iowa right now and you look at the misguided priorities this republican legislature has, my stance is they’re running our state into the ground and I’m not going to stand around and let that continue to happen,” Hubbell said.

The candidate said he can be described by his experience in the public and private sectors including time as chairman of Younkers, CEO of Equitable Life Health Insurance Company and his work as interim director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development as well as chairman of the Iowa Power Fund — and his three main values.

“(The three values are) the experience to be able to get the job done and deliver results for people, trying to unify people rather than being divisive and fighting all the time — let’s try to find common ground let’s find out what we agree on and work on that — and putting people first, leading with your heart,” Hubbell said.

Hubbell described his core focus as a candidate.

“My first priority is education and job training, that’s the future of our state, ...” Hubbell said. “(If) we’re not willing to invest in our young people … with good pre-K and much better support for K-12 and affordable college, how do we expect people to be able to get the education that we need to be able to qualify for the jobs that we need in this state? ... If we’re really going to encourage people to get the training, support that they need to fill the jobs that are available, we need to have job training at the community colleges and high schools everywhere in our state.

“The second one is health care, ... we’ve got to improve access to health care for people. Everyone deserves access to quality health care. The first thing we’ve got to do is reverse the privatization of Medicaid, it’s an absolute failure. ... Second thing we need to do is start addressing our mental health crisis all across Iowa. ... We need a youth mental health program. There is no youth mental health program in our state — none — and that needs to be addressed because that’s a growing problem in all of our schools.”

Continuing to address the topic, Hubbell said, “The other part of health care, there’s two other key components, one is we need to restore the funding to planned parenthood. Everybody deserves the right to choose their own doctor, you shouldn’t have to drive three or four hours to find somebody who’s trained in the needs that you have, ... we also need to address environmental health, there is air and water quality, water quality is a state wide issue, it’s an Iowan issue. It’s not an urban (versus) rural, it’s not an agriculture (versus) city, it’s an Iowa issue. We need to get a bipartisan, long-term funding solution to address water quality.”

The candidate’s final major focus centered around income.

“My third key priority is getting incomes rising,” Hubbell said. “... The second quarter this year, our personal income growth — personal income growth — was the lowest in the country. So clearly the economic policies that (Gov. Kim Reynolds) keeps pursuing or her budget keeps pursuing are not working. That's why we need to go back and invest in people.”

After his remarks, Hubbell fielded questions from the crowd.

“How do you see the funding sources?” asked John Goede, an attendee of the event. “You mentioned some things about corporate giveaways or changing the credits of things, do you see a tax increase? Tax increases? Gambling increase? How do you see the funding sources five years from now?”

“... The first thing I would do because I’m a very fiscally responsible person — I think that’s what a governor should be — is to pay back the debt, that should be job one,” Hubbell said. “... The second thing I would do — it’s just good fiscal management — every year you have to look at every expense and every expenditure. ... Every year you need to look at those and make sure it makes sense this year to continue to spend the state’s money that way.”

“... I told you my priorities, I told you that obviously I think some of the money is not being spent supporting those priorities, it’s for different priorities. So yes, I would take some of that revenue and divert it over to those priorities. That’s the first thing you do, is make sure you’re spending the hard earned money that we tax payers are paying in, $7 billion, properly. ... I think we can take that $7-plus billion in revenue and use that in smarter ways first before we ever start talking about raising taxes in general. If we free up $150 million a year annually, that’s a lot of money.

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