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Endorsement: Bring Blum to Iowa’s 1st District

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | OCTOBER 30, 2014 5:00 AM

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The seat in the 1st Congressional District of Iowa, held since 2007 by Bruce Braley, is now open for business. The chain reaction started by Sen. Tom Harkin’s retirement has led to Braley leaving the comforts of the 1st District to campaign for a highly-coveted Senate position.

The district, occupying the northeastern corner of Iowa, includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Dubuque. Both candidates, Pat Murphy and Rod Blum, are originally from Dubuque.

Historically, the district has voted very red when it comes to congressional candidates — 37 of the last 47 U.S. representatives elected from the district have been Republicans (although, in the last several decades, redistricting has changed the geographic configuration of the district). Braley’s terms have been outliers, but the Daily Iowan Editorial Board does not believe that Democrat candidate Pat Murphy should be next.

Although both Murphy and Blum grew up in Dubuque and attended Loras College there, they couldn’t be any more different.

First off, Murphy has a large amount of experience in politics, serving in the Iowa House of Representative since 1989, which includes time spent as the speaker of the House as well as minority leader.

While Murphy boasts career politician experience, Blum was actively creating jobs in the private sector as the CEO of Digital Canal. The software company grew from five employees to 325 employees in only five years, which earned Blum the award for Entrepreneur of the Year in 1994.

And not only business but in the educational realm, Blum again has the advantage. Murphy wants to keep the Common Core standards in place, while Blum wants to repeal the Common Core to give more freedom to teachers to educate students in a manner that is flexible and accommodating. We have previously encouraged reform in the Common Core and believe state and locally driven approaches are best in this area.

Regarding health care, Blum is in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act because of its purported effect on small businesses. Blum’s experience as a CEO of a company gives him the background to know how businesses will be affected by such a measure. Small businesses are hurt by the act when they cannot afford high rates; therefore, jobs are cut to give the remaining employees the insurance.

Murphy is in favor of the the health reform and blames the lack of expansion of Medicaid for high costs. While the the act has resulted in a drop in the percentage of uninsured people, its costs must also be taken into account. A total repeal isn’t realistic, but driving the conversation toward amending the act can help fix these shortcomings.

On the issues, Blum has shown a level of pragmatic utilitarianism unlike others on his party’s ticket. With the exception of his unbridled support for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which we believe the state should take a close look at before approving, Blum seems to have a firm grasp on the issues facing his district, and his success as a CEO demonstrates his ability to manage and lead. Given its voting history overall, we believe Blum will best represent the people of Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.


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