If you’re going to run for Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat once he retires in 2014, one of the best things to have is an endorsement from a former U.S. Congressman.
That’s what U.S. Congressman Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, got when he made a campaign stop at Playa Margaritas Mexican Restaurant April 4. Braley is the U.S. Representative for Iowa’s 1st Congressional district.
“If we want that tradition to continue, we certainly do,” said former U.S. Congressman Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa. “Who could do it that I could think of, and I know a lot of people, and I kept coming right back to Bruce Braley. ... He is the real thing. I have a lot of faith in Bruce Braley.”
Boswell and his wife Dody were at the campaign event, which was attended by approximately 30 people.
“I’m just a small-town boy with a big dream, and that dream is to serve in the United States Senate,” Braley said.
According to Braley, there will be 12 keys to victory for the Democrats in 2014. He discussed a few of the necessary steps to the Democrats retaining the U.S. Senate seat.
Braley said the first key is to get help, because a campaign is only as strong as the people who believe in a candidate.
The second key is to know what is on the constituents’ minds and what needs to get done for the people of Iowa.
The third key is to get to work right now for the U.S. Senate race.
“It’s already been ranked the seventh most competitive Senate race out of 33 in the 2014 cycle,” Braley said.
Jim Garrett of Creston, the state legislative director for the United Transportation Union (UTU) in Iowa, attended the event and read a letter from the union. The union has endorsed U.S. Sen. Harkin and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack in the past.
The UTU has merged with the Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation (SMART) union.
“From your support of health coverage for all, to defense of seniors, agriculture and passenger rail, you have shown your heart is in progressing Iowa and America forward. SMART UTU is proud to endorse your candidacy for Senate,” Garrett said.
Hard at work
Braley was asked the question from an audience member why he was “at home, and not working on the national debt problem?”
Braley said, before he began his campaign trip, he spent time working on his Main Street Stabilization Act. The Main Street Stabilization Act gives resources to the small business development centers
“There’s 15 around the state of Iowa who are working every day to educate and equip small businesses not to fail, but to succeed,” Braley said. “Because every time one of those small businesses failed, and the first-year failure rate is alarming, there can be bankruptcies, there can be creditors who lose money, there are employees who are laid off, and that’s why I think it’s important to help small businesses in the private sector be successful.”
Braley said people don’t trust each other in Washington, D.C., which is a concept that is foreign to him growing up in Iowa.
“That’s why it starts one member at a time trying to build relationships of trust. That’s what I’ll do as a Senator,” Braley said.
Braley gave specific examples of how building trust works because he recently got three bills passed in Congress while serving in the Democratic minority. One of the bills was to help Lennox Manufacturing in Marshalltown, which is in his district.
He also introduced a bill called the Plain Language Act. The act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, but a senator from Utah held up the bill in the Senate.
Braley spent an hour with the Utah senator going through every concern the senator and his staff had to come to a compromise.
“I want you to know that I am somebody who takes these responsibilities seriously,” Braley said. “I don’t see the private sector as the enemy. I think we need to be working with the private sector to create jobs, put people to work, expand the economy and reduce the deficit.”