Democratic State Senator Launches Run for Governor

By James Q. Lynch, Reporter

State Sen. Jack Hatch meets with reporters at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance on Wednesday, May 29, 2013, to answer questions on the exploratory committee he has launched to look into running for governor in 2014. (Liz Martin/KCRG-TV9)

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By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - It may be Sen. Jack Hatch’s first campaign for governor, but not the Des Moines Democrat’s first campaign against Gov. Terry Branstad.

And he’s won the previous four, Hatch said this morning in announcing his formal entry into the race for the 2014 Democratic nomination for governor.

“I’ve done battle with Gov. Branstad on getting money for children and children’s health programs and welfare programs,” he said. “I’ve done battle with him on environmental programs and economic development programs.

“I’ve fought these battles before and won against Terry Branstad,” he said. “These are going to be battles that I’m not going to let him get away from.”

Branstad has not had to answer for his choice to side with large, out-of-state corporations that create low-pay jobs and his failure to address the needs of ordinary Iowans, Hatch said in Cedar Rapids on the first day of a four-day announcement tour of the state.

Hatch, 63, a Des Moines builder and developer who has served more than 22 years in the Iowa Legislature, is the second Democrat to enter the race for the party’s nomination. Rep. Tyler Olson, 37, of Cedar Rapids kicked off his campaign earlier this summer. Another Democrat, former legislator Bob Krause, 63, has formed an exploratory committee.

Branstad, 66, has not officially declared his candidacy. He said Monday that he would stay out of the Democratic contest, but was critical of Hatch’s voting record.

“He’s voted against a lot of things that we think are critically important to grow this state’s economy,” Branstad said. “But my role is not to get involved in the Democratic primary. Let the Democratic primary voters decide who their candidate should be. I think there’ll be plenty of time once the primary is over to discuss the issues.”

His campaign, however, wasted no time in welcoming Hatch to the race with a “guide to Iowa” for the Connecticut native as he travels “outside of his Polk County comfort zone.”

“From the largest tax cut in Iowa history, more Iowans working than ever, … the largest investment in Iowa’s schools and our children ever, a balanced budget with a fully-funded rainy day fund, or working to increase rural Iowa’s broadband access, Branstad and Reynolds are building Iowa for the future,” said campaign manager Jake Ketzner.

The Branstad campaign also highlighted the fact Cedar Rapids metro unemployment has dropped from 6.8 percent to 4.9 percent, and Branstad’s property tax plan, signed in Hiawatha, is the largest tax cut in Iowa history.

Iowans should not be impressed, Hatch said. The tax cuts will go to commercial property owners, not seniors on fixed incomes, he said. The improving economy and lower unemployment are parts of a national trend and, in Iowa, due largely to a healthy agricultural economy.

Branstad has failed to see there is an economic insecurity in Iowa, Hatch said.

“We are one paycheck away from not having enough to pay for our food,” he said. “That’s still real and that’s something Gov. Branstad has not approached. My experience allows me to see some of the insecurities our economy is giving families of Iowa quicker and in more depth.”

Olson also welcomed Hatch to the contest, saying he looks forward to a “spirited debate about my vision to put Iowa on a path to the next 30 years of innovation and expansion.”

However, Hatch said there are more immediate concerns.

“We all care what drinking water is going to be like 30 years from now, of course,” Hatch said. “But we’ve got people who need paychecks today, people who are losing their jobs today.

“Those are the people who need the help. Those are the people who need a voice,” Hatch said. “The people who need it the most are the people who this campaign is really about.”
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