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Iowa Senator, governor hopeful stumps in IC

BY MEGAN SKUSTER | SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 5:00 AM

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After formally announcing his bid for the Iowa gubernatorial seat Monday, a Des Moines businessman stumped in Iowa City, albeit in a laid-back fashion.

For Sen. Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines, a longtime real-estate developer, the campaign stop at Bob’s Your Uncle, 2208 N. Dodge St., created an opportunity to speak to the public on his decision to run for the Democratic nomination for governor as well as introducing several opinions.

Chief among Hatch’s points included alternatives to bring about affordable college education, property-tax relief for the elderly, and needed water quality improvement measures.

The event, which also focused on health care, is a part of a 22-stop statewide campaign.

Hatch, who has served in the Iowa Legislature for 22 years, was quick to judge longtime Gov. Terry Branstad, who has served several terms since 1983.

Hatch’s main goals for this tour are to introduce himself to Iowans while allowing the public to inquire about his background and experience. University of Iowa Associate Professor of political science Tim Hagle said one of the most important steps for Hatch right now is to get his name out there and try to get support from a variety of locations.

Hatch said he believes his advantage over his opponents lies in his experience, citing his position as a CEO, his previous involvement cleaning up Des Moines superfund sites, and his creation of the largest public scholarship for minority students.

Hatch outlined a few of his plans, promising to raise the minimum wage, create special economic councils, and to be smarter about government spending in an effort to promote economic development.

He proposed lowering property taxes for the elderly, many of whom could benefit greatly from living and receiving care in their own homes, but are often forced to sell their homes because they can’t afford the taxes.

Hatch also addressed the high cost of education. Instead of tuition freezes, which he sees as an immediate solution but not one that will work long-term, he proposed a new program. It would encourage more cooperation among all the universities and colleges in the state. Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, said he supports Hatch’s plan.

“The students are customers,” he said. “We need to make sure we take care of them and take care of them well. A student should have the right to say if you can’t offer me the service I need, the classes I need to graduate on time, I should be able to go somewhere else.”


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