BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – State Sen. Nate Boulton made a stop in Fort Madison Sunday afternoon to pitch for the governor’s seat in 2018.
Boulton met with approximately 20 people at Lee County Supervisor Chairman Rick Larkin’s house for about an hour. He talked about a variety of issues, but said the 2018 election cycle will be an election for the “Soul of the Iowa.”
State Senator Rich Taylor introduced Boulton saying that Boulton was a candidate that could win in November and doesn’t “take crap from anyone”.
Boulton is a 37 year old labor attorney and first-term senator who won his district, which includes east Des Moines and Pleasant Hill, in 2016 with 60% of the vote.
“I think Nate being nice and young will attract those young independents,” Taylor said. “I think out of all of our candidates, and we have some good candidates, but I think Nate’s the one that can win in November and we have to have a candidate that can win against, well, I think we know who that will be.”
“If you can’t get fired up about this kid, you’re not going to get fired up about anyone.”
Boulton grew up in southeast Iowa in Columbus Junction whose father was a worker at Bandag in Muscatine.
“I’m proud of my southeast Iowa upbringing and I know what I want to do with that law degree. I want to fight for people like my parents and grandparents.”
Boulton spent time before being elected litigating against the Branstad Reynolds Administration at the Iowa Supreme Court over issues of mental health facility closures.
“We stepped in when they shut down the mental health facilities in Clarinda and Mt. Pleasant. They shut those down with no vision to replace those lost services. We had people die as a result of that.
He also, along with a group of attorneys, challenged the administration when they shut down a juvenile home in Toledo, Iowa, a lockdown facility for adolescent at-risk girls and challenged a decision to close Iowa Workforce Centers.
“That was in 2012 when it was the hardest because they had just appointed three supreme court justices. The administration got out the veto pad and shut down those facilities and the funding for the facilities.
“They shut those down to underemployed Iowans who needed those services. They didn’t just veto the funding, but vetoed the restriction on the funding and we scored a unanimous supreme court decision. So I’m here to tell you the Branstad-Reynolds machine can be defeated and we will do it again in 2018.”
Boulton said public schools have been defunded for the past seven years in a row, the administration went into counties who had lifted the minimum wage and lowered it back down.
“This is an agenda that is hurting Iowa and Iowans,” he said. “I was proud to stand with Rich Taylor and other senate Democrats and fight this every step of the way.”
He said that without education reform we run the risk of teachers leaving the state. A discussion with teachers held after the collective bargaining bill was passed, had teachers asking Boulton how they undo what had just been done.
“We have to look at getting and keeping the best and brightest into that profession. We have to be competitive and if we don’t have a system that prioritizes education we’re going to see teachers leaving for other states. We need to fully fund education and make sure we can recruit the next generation of teachers into this state. That’s an Iowa value and it should be our first and foremost priority.”
Boulton said Iowa is a national leader in renewable energy and that’s starting to show results. He said 1/3 of the state’s energy comes from renewable sources, but he said 50% should be a goal in Iowa by 2025.
“We need to be ready to make that transition. We can invest in rural and midsize economies in this state, not in individual private companies with millions of dollars for short-term limited goals.”
He said Governor Kim Reynolds has been visibly trying to distance herself from the Branstad administration as the election cycle heats up.
“She was a full partner in creating this mess. She was right there by his side and we’re gonna make sure that Iowa voters don’t forget about that,” he said.
“I think this election is about the soul of our state. We cannot let this hurtful agenda be carried on after the 2018 election. We won’t want this to carry on because they’ll finish everything they’ve started, collective bargaining, IPERS, workers compensation, they’ll finish everything they’ve started.”