Loebsack rallies support in Fairfield
A dozen volunteers from the Democratic headquarters in Fairfield took a break from recruiting fellow voters Saturday afternoon to support U.S. House of Representatives incumbent Dave Loebsack at Johnny’s Place to hear the congressman speak.
Loebsack, a Democrat, is running for a fourth term representing Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District seat against Republican challenger, John Archer. If re-elected, Loebsack said he’d continue to work on behalf of the middle class.
“We need to expand the middle class — that is the bottom line,” he said.
He said he’d continue to strengthen education in rural areas, the mental health system, services for veterans and the economy.
He addressed comments Archer made during a May 2 interview with KROS Radio in Clinton, in which he referred to 50 percent of the American population as “a real weakness,” because of their reliance on “government handouts.”
Loebsack compared Archer’s comments to those made by presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a private fundraiser, in which he said 47 percent of the population couldn’t be convinced to take “personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Archer backtracked when asked to clarify his statements, said Loebsack. He said the only program Archer openly opposed was the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps.
“No explanation added up to 50 percent,” said Loebsack. “He’s talking about veterans, people with Social Security, Medicare, and the Women, Infants and Children Program. These folks are not weaknesses, they’re strengths.”
Loebsack said the government should have responsibility to those who have served in the military, and who have paid into Social Security.
“I’ll fight for 100 percent of people,” said Loebsack.
During Archer’s visit to Fairfield Oct. 26, he said Social Security needed reform, but was not in favor of cutting the program. He said the current number of citizens on food stamps was problematic and said he’d eliminate fraud in the program.
Loebsack said education is the backbone of job creation and economic development. He said access to a good education was key to achieving “the American dream.”
If re-elected, he said he’d focus on access to broadband in rural areas, which he said was crucial for community colleges as well as businesses.
“Small business can’t be successful without broadband,” he said.
Loebsack admitted facing difficulties in recent years working in the minority in Congress, but said he was still able to help pass legislation, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, providing military better access to education after service.
“I’ve been crossing the aisle for six years, and I’ll keep doing that,” he said.
Full-time volunteer, Michael Kincaid, who recently retired from his position as a chef at Best Western Fairfield Inn after 14 years due to a physical disability, said Loebsack’s personal story appealed to him.
Loebsack grew up in poverty in Sioux City with a single mother who struggled with mental illness. He credited support from teachers and community members along with hard work for overcoming hardship and achieving success. He now resides in Mount Vernon with his wife, where he serves as a professor emeritus at Cornell College.
“He’s a down to earth guy; he came from limited resources, and I did too,” said Kincaid. “He works for more common people.”
Chairwoman of the Democratic office, Susie Drish said she’s had twice as many volunteers at the office than in 2008.
“This year is really positive,” she said. “More people are engaged.”
She said people in Fairfield trust Loebsack because, “he hasn’t lost touch with Iowan people.”
While she believes the majority is behind him, she and other volunteers want to make sure everyone makes it to the polls by Tuesday, to ensure their support counts.