BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Theresa Greenfield didn’t even mention her Democratic opponents for the 2020 spring primary, but went straight after Joni Ernst on Thursday to about 20 locals at a sandwich shop in Fort Madison.
Greenfield, a Des Moines business woman who is running to challenge Ernst for her U.S. Senate seat, told the group at Sub Arena that Ernst has forgotten who she represents.
“Joni Ernst is no friend to Iowa farmers. Net farm income in Iowa is down 75% since 2013. So take a minute, imagine your paycheck and cut 75% off the top and that’s the cash flow our farm and farm communities are dealing with,” Greenfield said.
“What I really want is for all of you to help me fire Joni Ernst in 2020 and put someone in the United States Senate that puts Iowa first.”
The mother of four grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota on the border with Iowa in a town of about 500.
“As you can imagine it was quite the busy farm. My parents were equal opportunity about all the hard work on the farm. I liked the hard work. It’s where I learned about hard work and I learned about hard play. We had a lot of fun.”
Greenfield said traveling the state she’s hearing five common themes. Education, Health Care, jobs, money in politics, and climate action. She said the cost of education is putting a clamp on America’s economy.
“We now have a generation of young folks with so much debt they’re not buying homes and they aren’t starting businesses. They’re living at home still and that’s a problem for our economy.”
Greenfield is President of Colby Interests, a Des Moines real estate and development firm. Her first husband died as a result of electrocution on the job in 1988. She said her husband’s union benefits and social security is what saved her family.
‘I became a widow with a baby and another one on the way,” she said.
“And I’m here to tell you, I wouldn’t be standing here today fighting for you and the opportunity to put Iowa first if it weren’t for social security and hard earned union benefits.”
She went back to school and got a degree, but said today’s America doesn’t guarantee that kind of transition to the middle class.
She said Ernst talks about cutting social security, privatizing social security, and privatizing Medicare.
“At one of her town halls she told us all she wanted to go behind closed doors to try to solve social security,” Greenfield said. “The Republican solution to Social Security is to cut it. A program that we all pay into and we agreed to support to take care of one another in our time of need.”
She said when social security started, 1 in 3 seniors were in poverty and now it’s 1-10.
She said health care is the primary concern she hears campaigning. Costs are a critical concern, but she said so is access to quality care. She said Iowa has about 49 labor and delivery units in 99 counties.
“We still have people making that 60 mile drive to welcome that new member of the family,” Greenfield said.
Greenfield committed to not taking money from any corporate political action committees. She said her campaign is a grassroots campaign targeting 620,000 active registered Democrats, and a whole bunch of inactives.
She said if every active Democrat donated $25 that would generate $15 million.
“With that we could have a real serious fight with Joni Ernst.”
She said people even in the smallest towns of Iowa talk about strange and severe weather.
“They know it’s not right and they want us to think about how we reduce our carbon footprint. We know that Senator Ernst doesn’t believe in that climate science and we know she won’t help us take any steps forward while she’s serving you in Washington, D.C.,” Greenfield said.
Greenfield announced her candidacy in June. Other Democrats who’ve thrown their hat in the ring include Des Moines attorney Kimberly Graham, Des Moines businessman Eddie Mauro, and retired Navy Admiral Mike Franken.