Fred Hubbell at WITCC

Democratic governor candidate Fred Hubbell, of Des Moines, is shown at center during a tour of Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City on Tuesday.

Contributed photo

SIOUX CITY | Des Moines businessman Fred Hubbell toured Western Iowa Tech Community College and discussed job training programs on Tuesday, as the first stop in his tour of the state after officially announcing his campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor Monday.

Hubbell, 66, in an interview said he's using his first swing through the state to tout the need for better educational and training opportunities to create more jobs with higher income. That is part of his push to "invest in education at all levels to create skilled employees for the future, help grow small- and mid-size businesses and get incomes rising across Iowa," he said.

"We have chronic under-funding" in education, both for K-12 schools and state universities, Hubbell said.

Hubbell released a nearly four-minute video Monday announcing a formal campaign for governor. His other Tuesday events were held in Council Bluffs and Atlantic, and the tour will run through this week.

In his announcement video, Hubbell said, "I won’t sit back while the politicians sell our state to special interests. They took a billion-dollar budget surplus and gave it to corporate interests while cutting education for kids."

A fifth-generation Iowan, Hubbell has never been elected to public office. He is a well-known philanthropist and campaign donor who has been involved in multiple business ventures in Iowa, including life insurance and retail firms.

Several Democrats have announced gubernatorial campaigns to seek their party's nomination in 2018.

The candidates include state Sen. Nate Boulton of Des Moines, former Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire, former Des Moines School Board President Jon Neiderbach, state Rep. Todd Prichard of Charles City,  Coralville nurse and union president Cathy Glasson, former Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn, and John Norris of Des Moines, a former state party chairman.

Hubbell said many of the Democratic governor candidates, including himself, don't have high name identification outside central Iowa. He cited his solid leadership in both major nonprofit and business groups as something that makes him stand out from the other candidates.

"I don't see that kind of experience in the field today. I feel that is a real differentiator," Hubbell said.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, the former lieutenant governor who ascended to governor after Terry Branstad resigned to become U.S. ambassador to China, plans to run for her own first full term. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett also has announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor.

Note: An earlier version of this article said Davenport Alderman Mike Matson is a candidate. Matson has ended his pursuit of the governor position.

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County and education reporter

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