CEDAR RAPIDS | It may have been Day 1 of Kim Reynolds’s tenure as governor, but for Democrats hoping to succeed her in 2019 it was just another day on the campaign trail.
Although some offered congratulations to Reynolds on her inauguration as Iowa’s 43rd governor, hopefuls for the 2019 Democratic gubernatorial nomination were quick to criticize her and tie her to the policies of her former boss, Gov. Terry Branstad.
“With exactly one legislative session before the 2018 elections, there can be no time to wait, there can be no extended honeymoon,” Sen. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, said at a Cedar Rapids union hall Wednesday afternoon. “We will spend every day leading to and throughout this next legislative session making sure this administration listens and works for the Iowans it is designed to serve.”
Rep. Todd Prichard, D-Charles City, another candidate for the Democratic nomination, congratulated Reynolds and called on her to address the problems facing “left behind” Iowans.
“With Kim Reynolds assuming the office of governor, certainly much is expected of her as she takes over a state that is struggling from the devastating effects of the Republican agenda,” Prichard said in a statement released by his campaign. “Too many Iowans have been left behind, wages are stagnant or declining, schools are underfunded and families are struggling to provide basic care for their loved ones.”
The Iowa Democratic Party went straight campaign talking points, saying Reynolds has “pushed for an agenda that puts partisan politics ahead of middle-class Iowans.”
“Gov. Reynolds has promoted divisive social issues, while slashing funding for higher education, privatizing Medicaid, closing mental health facilities and stripping basic rights away from Iowa workers,” Chairman Derek Eadon said. “For years, Gov. Reynolds has stood by as our state’s problems have mounted and our future has been jeopardized. Instead of prioritizing job creation and the economy, she has pushed for an agenda that puts partisan politics ahead of middle-class Iowans.
“We need a governor that is willing to put partisan games aside and ensure Iowa’s future is strong,” he said. “If the past seven years are any indication, Iowans aren’t going to see this leadership from Gov. Reynolds.”
Meanwhile, at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 405 hall in southwest Cedar Rapids, Boulton, a freshman who led Senate Democrats’ opposition to collective bargaining and workers’ compensation changes, called on Reynolds to reverse those and other legislation approved by the GOP majorities in the House and Senate.
He wants her to issue an executive order forcing the state to bargain on all permissive topics of negotiation with public employee unions and meet with union representatives to “show she is willing to listen to the thousands of Iowans called to public service.”
The new name on the governor’s office door represents little change for most Iowans, according to Matt Sinovic of Progress Iowa, a liberal advocacy group.
“Meet the new governor, same as the old governor, with failed priorities, empty words and broken promises,” he said.