By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian
---- — In the span of four days two political candidates vying for the same United States Senate seat visited Appanoose County.
David Young, Republican, on Tuesday and Bruce Braley, Democrat, on Friday both made the trip to Centerville to make the case why they would be the best candidate to fill the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Tom Harkin.
Harkin announced he was not going to seek another term in the Senate, where he will have served since 1984.
Young, 45, toured Lee Container Tuesday. Braley, 55, held a “Meet and Greet” Friday at the Drake Public Library where approximately 25 attended.
Young and the Daily Iowegian connected on Thursday afternoon for a telephone interview while he was on his way to campaign in Osceola in Clarke County.
Young said Appanoose County was the 85th county he had visited on his way to go to all 99 Iowa counties.
Some people might know Young. He was Sen. Chuck Grassley’s chief of staff for seven years.
And Young is looking at those seven years to make the case he has seen Washington up close and knows what ails our government and knows what it’s going to take to fix it.
“I’ve seen the beast of Washington up close,” Young said. “I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work. And what doesn’t work is what we’re doing right now.”
Young’s campaign released what he calls his “Better Budget Principles” as a blue print to begin to fix our federal government.
• Zero Based Budgeting — “force government agencies to appear before Congress and justify the funds they are requesting” and tell the public what programs they plan to fund.
“I think taxpayers need to know where their money is going,” Young said. “So we can kind of ferret out and vet out what they want to spend their money on.”
• Sunset Legislation — require all federal laws, regulations and programs have a sunset so they can be analyzed as to their “relevance and efficiency and saving taxpayer dollars.”
“And if it doesn’t work and it’s ruining our economy and families then ditch it,” Young said. “Call a law a loss sometimes.”
• Full Federal Audit — require every government agency submit to an audit so taxpayers know what and where their money is being spent. This would increase “transparency and trust, while curbing costs from waste, fraud and abuse.”
• Generational Accounting — will require the Congressional Budget Office to look at the long-term — not a 10 year — impact of legislation on future generations before it’s brought to a vote before Congress.
• Flatter, Fairer, Simpler — rework the 73,000 page tax code and make it pro-growth that is permanent so American families can keep more of their money and businesses can make long-term plans to grow and create jobs.
“I think about anything is better then what we have right now,” Young said of the current federal tax system.
Young said a side benefit of making the tax code permanent is that it would reduce the power of the Internal Revenue Service.
• Balanced Budget Amendment — require Washington to do what 49 states do ... submit a balanced budget every year.
• Full Repeal of Obamacare — “replace it with free market principles that drive down costs and preserve the high quality of American medicine.” If Congress passes a law requiring American’s to abide by, then Congress too should be required to abide by it, Young said.
Young said his seven “Better Budget Principles” are solutions he can win with come the mid-term election in November of 2014.
“I understand the problems that Iowans face,” Young said. “I know the issues and I’ve got the courage to lead on these issues that are tough. And I have solutions.”
Rep. Braley granted the Daily Iowegian 15 minutes of his time prior to his “Meet and Greet” Friday at the Drake Public Library in Centerville.
During the interview Braley talked about his accomplishments as a Representative, why he deserves your vote in November of 2014 and what he hoped to gain by the visit.
“Talk a little bit about my background,” Braley said about his “Meet and Greet” visit. “Where I came from and why I want to run for the Senate seat.”
Braley said he deserves your vote in November of 2014 because he can be “a strong and effective voice for the people of Iowa.”
Braley said while in the House he has forged bipartisan friendships that has helped him get legislation passed.
“I work very hard to develop friendships and personal relationships with people on both sides of the aisle,” Braley said. “And that is incredibly valuable in trying to work together to solve difficulties. I’ve had to deal with Republicans to get every piece of legislation passed that I’ve got passed.”
Braley’s campaign issued what are four principles he will bring to voters during his tour: Bring people together; strengthen the middle class; stand up for veterans; and create economic opportunity.
Braley said he has strengthened the middle class with his “The Populous Caucus” designed to focus on economic issues, put people back to work and create good paying jobs.
Braley said he stood up for veterans when he helped a Dubuque veteran keep his home from foreclosure during the recession and the bill he authored — the Andrew Connolly Veterans’ Housing Act that extends a grant program to help injured and disabled veterans retrofit their homes after they return from combat — which was signed into law by President Barack Obama.
“And it’s a good example of how federal tax dollars used wisely can take care of our veterans and their families,” Braley said of the Andrew Connolly bill.
Braley said he has helped to create economic opportunity with his “Back to Work” act designed to give employers tax credits if they hire an unemployed workers and if they keep that worker for one year they get an additional tax credit.
“It was enormously successful in Iowa,” Braley said. “There were 100,000 employees hired that next year who would have been eligible for that credit.”
The advantages are many, Braley said, because now those unemployed workers are paying state and federal income taxes and contributing to Social Security and Medicare.
Plus it gives that person a sense of well-being.
“It gives you the dignity of having a job,” Braley said. “So it’s a win-win type of economic opportunity. And those are the types of things that I think can be bipartisan solutions, short-term in nature, to try and encourage employers to hire unemployed workers and get them back in the job market.”
Braley is a Washington insider now in his fourth term in the U.S. House serving Iowa’s 1st District since 2006. District 1 covers 20 counties in eastern and east central Iowa.
Braley said he doesn’t expect to face a Democrat opponent in the June 2014 primary.
“So I’ve worked really hard to try and develop a broad base of support within my party and avoid having to run in a primary,” Braley said, noting he has endorsements from Tom Harkin, Tom Miller, Mike Fitzgerald and Chet Culver.
Braley said he has covered 2/3rds of his 79 county tour to introduce himself to the residents who do not reside in his 20 county district.
Braley is married and has three children.
Young is not married.