Iowa gubernatorial candidate Nate Boulton spoke to a crowd of about 20 people Thursday night at the Fairfield Senior Citizen Center.
Boulton, a Democratic State Senator representing northeast Des Moines, spoke about growing up in the small but ethnically diverse town of Columbus Junction. He talked about how immigrants have contributed to his town and the state. He spoke about his attorney practice, which specializes in worker?s compensation, personal injury and labor law.
?I?m proud to represent people wrongly fired for their ethnicity, age or disability,? he said.
On the issues
Boulton said he was disappointed in a number of things done during the Branstad and Reynolds administrations, such as stopping five counties in Iowa from raising their minimum wage. He said the administration has not spent money well, either.
?They have us running through our rainy day fund even when our state?s unemployment is at a 17-year low,? he said.
He talked about how the state should ?double down? on renewable energy. He spoke about water quality, saying he had introduced legislation to fund the water trust fund established in 2010 to provide a three-eighths cent sales tax for clean water and recreational projects.
He said he opposed the Republican Party?s effort to reform the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System.
?When they talk about IPERS reform, they?re not talking about making it better,? he said.
After he spoke, Boulton took questions from the audience, a few of which touched on collective bargaining for public sector unions. He said there was no reason to pass the changes to collective bargaining in Chapter 20 of the Iowa Code that the Legislature passed in 2017.
?Before the Chapter 20 bill, very few cases went to arbitration because both sides [unions and management] had reasonable positions with contracts that were good for both of them,? he said.
A member of the audience asked Boulton for his thoughts on school vouchers. Boulton said he did not like the issue being framed as one of ?school choice,? because in his mind, parents have the choice of sending their children to private school or homeschooling them right now. The question is whether the state should subsidize the decision, he said.
?We don?t apply that concept to other areas,? he said. ?You don?t get to say, ?I don?t have to pay for the parks because I don?t go to the park; I go to the golf course.? Or, ?I haven?t called the police this year, so I should get a rebate.??
After Boulton?s speech, a few members of the audience shared their thoughts on what they had just heard. Steve Presley said he appreciated Boulton?s avowed support for organized labor. Like Boulton, Presley said he was not fond of school vouchers that he believes drain money from public schools.
?I?m undecided on who I?ll vote for in the governor?s race,? Presley said. ?Nate is young, and he?s got a lot of excitement and energy.?
Presley said he also liked candidate Fred Hubbell.
Dennis Wegner told Boulton he?d like the Democratic Party to become ?truly pro-choice,? in the sense of supporting women who wish to carry their unwanted pregnancies to term. He said the party is too quick to support abortion.
?We should tell women that if you want to carry your pregnancy to term, we will give you the resources necessary to pursue adoption,? Wegner said. ?I wished the Democrats used the word ?adoption? more in their rhetoric.?
Wegner said he likes several other candidates, but that he likes Boulton the most because of his ?energy and charisma.?
David Sands described Boulton as ?articulate and knowledgeable,? and lauded his work as an attorney.
Sands said he?s looking forward to attending the Democratic Party?s caucuses Monday night. The issues that most concern him are industrial agricultural practices, air and water quality, and mental health.
?I?d like to be chosen as a delegate,? he said. ?I want to be part of the process.?