Mike Franken, Democratic candidate for the United States Senate, says Iowa needs three things: country over party, people over politics and to vote incumbent Republican Senator Chuck Grassley out of office.
“We deserve something more than a senator elected for life,” Franken said as he campaigned in Oskaloosa.
Franken is running against Grassley, who has served eight terms in the Iowa House of Representatives, three in the United States House of Representatives and is currently serving his seventh in the United States Senate.
Franken believes it’s time for a change.
“We deserve a strong, clear voice in Washington with a jaw of steel and a heart on fire to do what’s best for you every waking day. That’s not hard for me,” said Franken, who served in the United States Navy for 36 years and holds the rank of Admiral.
“On 9/11, 20 years ago, I was the captain of a ship, and we received a message saying ‘Our country’s been under attack.’ I called the crew together and said ‘Stop what you’re doing. Our lives will never be the same. There’s been an incident. We shall now be part of the solution.’ Twenty years later, I have that same sense for the life of Iowa, for the soul of Iowa, a new path,” Franken said.
Going into this year’s election, Franken says he wants to be “part of the solution” for several problems he sees in Iowa.
“It’s not a political decision or a political position to want Iowa to be ‘the education state’ like it used to be,” Franken said. “We can regain that when we vote in leaders who consider education to be right and proper for the next generation of Iowans.”
Franken also discussed mental healthcare for Iowans, saying that when individuals or families struggle to get care, the current system represents a “failure to lead at the very highest level.”
Franken advocated for a “brother’s keeper, sister’s friend” mentality for Iowa and United States politics, saying that it would mean protecting everyone’s civil rights — including the right to abortion.
“It means protecting a woman’s right to choose. It’s a human rights issue that women have an equal right to men. In their most private moments, the physician, partner or family member should be part of that decision, and not a constitutional lawyer, Chuck Grassley or the federal government standing in that delivery room,” Franken said.
Franken wrapped up his speech with a call to action.
“I know Iowans are no strangers to meeting the moment. And frankly, I think history is doing it again. We feel the animus in society. Small town Iowa — if somebody asked what’s the biggest issue, I would say it’s the dissension … The church pew becomes awkward. The coffee clutch. Ballgame. You can’t have that in society. We need to change that.”