CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – Monica Vernon is looking to make the move from city council woman to congresswoman. Vernon is challenging first-term congressman Rod Blum in Iowa’s first district. She started her political career on Cedar Rapids city council during the icy winter of 2008.
“I remember thinking we can get through this. We worked with citizens all over the community, clearing the streets, and I thought ‘oh we’re going to have the greatest summer ever,” Vernon said.
Just a few months later, the flood of 2008 happened and most of her first term was spent bring the community back from disaster.
“We worked one on one with so many homeowners and small business people. The government didn’t even have programs for as many small business people as were hit in this community, so we helped create that,” Vernon said. “The beautiful library we have today, our convention center, which is used all the time, the NewBo City Market, the Amphitheater, those are all things I worked on. I also worked to bring back the Paramount Theater and CSPS, and a lot of other things that people have come to rely on for their life in Cedar Rapids.
With last month’s flooding, many people question what kind of measure will be taken to prevent another disaster. Vernon said she has a plan for that.
“We know that it’s not if, it’s when there will be more flooding. Not just in Cedar Rapids, but all up and down the Cedar River and all of the rivers that run through northeast Iowa,” she said.
Vernon plans to work together with other members of congress on who face these issues in effort to push for a federal match for flood damage. Vernon said she’s more focused on getting things done than focusing on labels. That’s one of the reason for her 2009 switch from republican to democrat.
“When the flood happened, we didn't ask people if they were republicans, or democrats, or independents. We said, let’s all work together and get things done. That's how I've always conducted my life. That's why I’m really ready to go to the U.S. congress,” Vernon said. “People like me who’ve been on both sides of the isle, who really care more about our state, and our region, and our country, and about getting along. I think it’s a perfect background. I feel really strongly about making progress for all the people right here in northeast Iowa.”
Vernon plans for congress are based around improving the economy. She wants to improve wages and get more support for small businesses. She plans to help working moms, invest in children, and make sure Medicare and social security are always a promise for seniors.
“We have to invest in people. We know when we do, they do better, our economy does better, and we all do better. I think it is key we do best in our kids,” she said. “I’m really into cutting red tape for small businesses. I’m really into equal pay for equal work. I think that no one who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty, and we need to make sure social security and Medicare are there, and I’m going to work really hard on that.”
Vernon said she’s the kind of person that sees a problem and rolls up her sleeves to fix it.
“I will never stop working for this district, and I think I’ve demonstrated that on all different types of things.”