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Jacobs pushes jobs

BY DANIEL SEIDL | APRIL 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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U.S. Senate hopeful Mark Jacobs spent Wednesday evening at the top of a local bar, surrounded by those preparing to enter the workforce and touting the importance of job growth.

“The federal government doesn’t create jobs,” he said. “But it does create an environment that makes growth in the private sector easier or harder.”

In order to foster this growth, he stressed the importance of supporting community colleges and vocational schools to “close the skill gap,” making people more qualified so they can find jobs.

“I would much rather make an investment in a person,” he said. “I think that’s where I’d like to see the emphasis and the conversation go.”

Jacobs spoke at the Airliner, 22 S. Clinton St., in an event sponsored by the UI College Republicans.
College Republicans President Quentin Marquez said he agreed with Jacobs’ points about job growth.

“There are jobs out there … that you can’t necessarily get through attending a four-year university,” he said. “He’s talking about closing the gap.”

UI senior Megan La Suer also agreed with Jacobs’ ideas for education and said it would make education more accessible.

“I believe any kind of education should have opportunities,” she said. “Community colleges are a great opportunity for people who have no opportunities [to attend a four-year school].”

Before his Senate campaign, Jacobs was the chief executive officer at Reliant Energy. His experience as a leader would help him in the political field, he said.

“You need somebody with the right skills and experience for the job,” he said.

While Jacobs said he feels his experience would be beneficial, others do not agree. Jacobs’ career will lead him to decisions that are better for big businessmen, said Jeff Giertz, campaign spokesman for Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, in an email.

“This race will be about the clear choice between Bruce Braley, who supports policies that strengthen the middle class … [and Mark Jacobs],” he said. “While Bruce Braley was fighting for Iowa students and middle-class families, Mark Jacobs was calling for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law, which would send us back to the days when Wall Street titans like Jacobs crashed our economy and made millions doing it.”

Jacobs and Braley have conflicted in the past month, after Jacobs released an ad targeted at Braley’s remarks about Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Braley later apologized for his remarks, but Jacobs said they showed his true feelings.

“I don’t think it was a gaffe,” he said. “A gaffe is when you say something you really didn’t intend to say.”

University of Iowa political-science Professor John Conybeare said executives moving into the political field might be looking for legislation beneficial to their industry.

“If they do [go into politics], I would assume that it is to further their interest,” he said. “For example, farmers in Iowa go into politics so they can get legislation that is good for farmers.”

La Suer said she was also impressed by Jacobs’ attitude and his willingness to be open.

“To me, a big thing is if a candidate will actually come up and approach you,” she said. “That means a lot to me.”


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