As Senate District 14 candidate Dick Schrad (D-Knoxville) continues to knock on doors for support throughout the new district, he's been hearing several concerns from voters.
Schrad, former Knoxville city manager, is campaigning for the Senate seat against Republican candidate Amy Sinclair of Allerton. The area is currently served by Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Red Oak.
The new district is made up of Clarke, Decatur, Lucas and Wayne counties, most of Marion County, except for the Pella area, and a small portion of Jasper County.
One of the concerns Schrad has heard has been about having enough employment in Iowa, especially in the rural areas. Citizens are also concerned about businesses being able to thrive, let alone survive, in the economy.
Keeping public schools open and vital has also been a concern for rural Iowans, said Schrad.
However, one of the biggest concerns he's been hearing goes beyond issues like jobs and the economy.
"At least the folks I talk to... they aren't so much interested in what my strong positions are," he said. "I think most folks are more interested in whether or not the people in Des Moines will listen to them. Folks want people elected who will listen to them. I'm not campaigning on a strong idealogical basis."
As he travels around, he notices voters are also experiencing voter fatigue.
"The political campaigns so far have made people weary and a little wary," said Schrad. "There have been a lot of changes and counter changes and a lot of conversation taking place through the media. I get some sense that people are just tired of it."
Education is a priority
Schrad said one of his priorities will be ensuring Iowa remains home to a good public education system. He said funding early childhood literacy is "especially critical."
"If we don't spend the money up front, it costs us all later," he said.
Schrad said youths should not have to suffer from lack of educational resources because they live in a rural area.
"We should level the playing field so to speak in education," he said. "That means making more resources available in rural Iowa."
Schrad said he's not a fan of consolidating schools and transporting students long distances. However, he feels there are opportunities for sharing and joint programs.
He supports helping youths not only prepare for college but the workforce, as well. He said he supports community colleges and feels they need more resources, like funding, provided to them.
"I'd like to see a lot more resources available to community colleges, especially when they work in conjunction with high schools," he said.
For more information, visit www.dickschrad4senate.com.