Hubbell Starts Off General Election In Oskaloosa

Iowa Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Fred Hubbell speaks to supporters and interested individuals at Smokey Row on Saturday morning.

Iowa Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Fred Hubbell speaks to supporters and interested individuals at Smokey Row on Saturday morning.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The town square of Oskaloosa, and the friendly confines of Smokey Row have hosted many candidates that seek higher office. Nearly every presidential candidate over the past decade has made the stop.

The race to serve as Iowa’s next governor started off for Iowa Democratic Nominee Fred Hubbell as he got his bid underway at the iconic coffee shop on Saturday morning.

Mahaska County Democrats Chair Eric Palmer introduced the quartet of guests that included former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and his wife Christine. At Hubbell’s side was his wife Charlotte.

Christine was the first to speak, where she reminisced about the support the Hubbells had given the Vilsacks when Tom was running for governor of Iowa. “They’ve been supporting us in everything we’ve been doing, personally, politically for the last 20 years. So we’re here today and will continue to be with them for the next few months as we return the favor.”

Tom was next to speak, saying it was good to be back in Oskaloosa and “a lot of the friends that I served with.”

“I said earlier, the only time I didn’t like coming to Oskaloosa was when Mount Pleasant played football against Oskaloosa.” The crowd laughed at Tom’s joke. “Usually it didn’t turn out well for us.”

“Very happy and proud to be supportive,” said Tom of Hubbell’s campaign to become governor.

Tom Vilsack said he believes this is the most important election for Iowa in the past 50 years. “Coming from a guy who ran for this job several times.”

“I think the future of this State, and the future of our children and our grandchildren who live in this state, is at stake,” added Vilsack.

Vilsack outlined a few points of why he doesn’t believe Iowa’s current governor, Kim Reynolds, would be the best choice in November.

Vilsack said that the state of Iowa has a problem with income, struggling farm economy, financing education, and access to healthcare.

Charlotte Hubbell, the wife of Fred, was the third individual to speak.

Charlotte said that part of the reason the quartet was in Oskaloosa was to help rally all Democrats and interested voters behind her husband Fred.

“The real race begins now,” said Charlotte.

Fred Hubbell made a seven and a half minute stump speech to nearly 80 supporters that had gathered inside of Smokey Row.

Hubbell referenced a “blue wave” because he feels there is official mismanagement, extremely misguided priorities of the Republicans in the legislature.

“Now it’s time to become united,” said Hubbell to voters who a week ago let their primary feelings known. “Not just united as Democrats. We need to unite as Iowa.”

Hubbell held a gaggle with reporters after his meet and greet, where he addressed such items as Medicaid reform and mental health care, comfortable voters, and rural school funding.

With Medicaid reform, Hubbell says he would terminate the current contracts with the administrators of the current Medicaid program in Iowa.

The privatization of Medicaid in Iowa has been a controversial change in the way Iowa administrates its program. The program went from being DHS administered to being administered by private companies.

“You start hiring people back into DHS,” said Hubbell of the next step. “Get new leaders who are actually committed to doing what is right for the citizens of our state.”

On the issue of mental health in Iowa, Hubbell pointed towards this past December memo which states that he believes, “Iowa is ignoring a growing mental health crisis largely due to Governor Reynolds’ mismanagement.” Hubbell’s plan then states, “there is no single solution to solving the problems for each community.”

Hubbell believes that more long care, acute beds at the state level mental health facilities isneed, along with making sure the funding is in place to make that happen is imporant.

Community-based treatment services are something else Hubbell says needs to happen, as well as help train local law enforcement on crisis intervention “so they can figure out if it’s not really a crime, or it’s a small crime, they can divert them away from a jail, and emergency rooms.”

For rural schools, a large portion of their $6,000 per student goes into transportation costs, allowing more urban schools to ultimately spend more money on other programs for their students.

Oskaloosa News asked Hubbell how he intends to get voters to change their mind in leaders when they don’t feel uncomfortable at this point.

Unemployment is low, but Hubbell says that for the past four years, Iowa has been as low as 49th in personal income growth. ” I think that people are pretty frustrated their incomes are not going up. And yeah, we have a lot of jobs, but they’re not good enough paying jobs.”

Hubbell believes that minimum wage remains too low.

Hubbell also believes that Iowan’s are not happy with their schools. “The school class sizes are all getting much bigger.”

“A lot of schools are cutting back on their band instruments or even having a band,” said Hubbell. “Kids are spending too much time on buses.”There is a lot of anger and frustration about the quality of our schools.”

Addressing that disparity, Oskaloosa News asked Hubbell about busing costs, and how he would direct funds to help rural schools afford the transportation costs.

In Iowa, each school district receives $6,000 per student, and there are different pots that money is split up into. Schools like Oskaloosa or EBF may spend dollars per week on transportation while urban schools may spend just pennies on the dollar for transportation each week per student.

The rural districts then end up shorter on dollars for the district to provide educational opportunities, because of the heavy cost of transportation, compared to urban schools.

Hubbell says he wants to change how the funding formula is handled. “I want to say, let’s put a minimum amount in each bucket [per student], so each category gets some funding. Then let the local school district decide whether they want to put extra into this bucket or extra in that bucket based upon their needs because schools are so different all across Iowa.”

Oskaloosa News asked Hubbell if rural schools should have extra funding to help cover the transportation costs. “I think we need to look at the overall school funding formula. We’ve been giving every school the same amount per student all across the state for a long time.”

“Does that really make sense,” said Hubbell in response to the question if the increased cost for transportation was ultimately giving each student equal opportunity. “We need to have more flexibility and we need to look at how do we help the schools that are falling behind. Are we just going to push them out and make them consolidate, or are we going to actually try and get them a little bit of extra revenue.”

Posted by on Jun 10 2018. Filed under Local News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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