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Loebsack tours Coralville IT facility

BY PAUL OSGERBY | JULY 08, 2014 5:00 AM

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Behind the glass pane windows of General Dynamics in Coralville, Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, met with nearly 100 employees to discuss job growth and expansion.

Loebsack is vying for re-election in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. He is running against Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks for the third time.

“It’s always good for me, at least, to get to an employer that is as important as General Dynamics,” Loebsack said. “They do a great job here with hundreds of employees, who get paid fairly well and have benefits.”

The congressman visited the information-technology company’s facilities for a private update tour. He also spoke to officials about job growth and expansion.

General Dynamics deals mostly with Medicare and government financial aid for students.

Last year, Loebsack helped the company get contract from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, adding approximately 100 to 150 new jobs to the location in Coralville.

Following his trip around the building, Loebsack fielded questions behind closed doors from employees ranging across all topics of interest, such as Medicare.

“I think there was an upwards of 80 employees in there,” Loebsack said. “It was kind of a mini town hall.”

Loebsack said that the employees were particularly interested in the current dysfunction in Washington, D.C.

“Since I have been in office, I have done everything I can to work with both sides of the aisle,” Loebsack said, highlighting bipartisan efforts to get work done in Capitol Hill.

After the meeting in Coralville, he rushed to catch a flight back to Washington.

Miller-Meeks, an eye doctor in Ottumwa, has recently pushed for reforms in Obamacare and the Veterans Affairs health care.

In her previous election, in 2010, Miller-Meeks received 35 percent of votes in Johnson County, and Loebsack garnered 62 percent.

Representatives with the Miller-Meeks campaign were contacted by phone and email but did not reply to The Daily Iowan by Monday night.

Timothy Hagle, a political-science associate professor at the University of Iowa, said he thinks the race will boil down to the issues of Obamacare and the Veterans Affairs scandal in the coming months.

However, he said, there doesn’t seem to be a particularly outstanding issue.

Hagle said this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, because it is a non-presidential election season. During those years, congressional issues become highly focused on local influence.

In 2006, though, voters were heavily concerned about the antiwar sentiment and there was the emergence of the tea party in 2010, Hagle said.

The 2nd Congressional District has more voters registered as Democratics, meaning Republicans will need to work hard, especially with non-party voters.

“It’s an uphill battle for Miller-Meeks this election,” Hagle said. “But it’s gotten better for her. People have been saying that Republicans seem more excited.”

As the summer progresses, there are high voter drop-offs among those who do not identify with political parties, he said. Many feel that they understand the campaigns enough already.

After Labor Day weekend, however, commercials and other advertisements will ramp up to catch those voters’ eyes, Hagle said.


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