The crowd that showed up for a meet-and-greet with gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell at the office of the Johnson County Democrats in Iowa City on Wednesday evening was larger than the room could contain. It was also more than the building’s air condition could handle.
“Every time I come to this office there are more and more people,” Hubbell told the sweltering crowd. “That’s a really good sign for Democrats.”
Noting the rising temperature in the room, Hubbell kept his remarks brief. He focused on unity. Both the unity of purpose motivating Democrats in this election and the need to unify all Iowans to create change.
“Let’s be clear. This campaign is not just about Democrats. It’s about all Iowans who want common sense government,” he said. “People who’ll work across the aisle to get results for all Iowans. That’s what it’s about.”
“Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican or independent, we need better education, we need better mental health care,” Hubbell continued. “We need to get rid of the privatization of Medicaid. We need better job training. We all need that.”
Although Hubbell spoke about the importance of reaching out to independents and moderate Republicans, he also said Iowans needed to make the state into a “bastion of progressive values.”
“We need to restore collective bargaining. We need to restore funding for Planned Parenthood. We need to fix our water quality problems,” Hubbell said. “We need to invest in public education.”
“The blue wave doesn’t happen automatically, we all know that,” he warned. “We got to make that happen.”
After approximately 10 minutes, the meet-and-greet was moved outside to the pleasantly cool parking lot. The candidate repeated most of the remarks he’d made inside for any members of the crowd who hadn’t been able to wedge themselves into the office, then added, “I’m not done yet, how about you?”
“We need to raise the minimum wage. If you guys want to go higher in your county, you need that authority so you can do that,” he said, as the crowd cheered and applauded.
In 2017, the Republican-led Iowa legislature took away the ability of municipalities to set their own minimum wage, and instead impose the state’s minimum wage throughout Iowa. At $7.25 per hour, Iowa’s minimum wage is the lowest federal law will allow. That act of legislative preemption eliminated Johnson County’s minimum wage of $10.10 per hour, and still angers local Democrats.
“We need to invest in infrastructure, high-speed internet, affordable housing in every county in this state, because we’re not doing it,” Hubbell told the crowd. “You might be wondering where we’re going to get the money, and you should be.”
Hubbell explained that as governor he would stop “the wasteful tax giveaways” provided for large corporations, and use the money that saves to “invest in people and communities. That’s how we can grow our state.”
Once he concluded his remarks, Hubbell spent about 40 minutes talking to the mix of Democratic politicians, party activists and voters gathered in the parking lot.
Near the end of the hour-long meet-and-greet, Hubbell spoke to the handful of reporters covering the event. He once again focused on the theme of unity.
“We’ve already seen what happens when we have a governor who only cares about one party, and one group in that party, and that’s not good for our state,” Hubbell said. “I want to be the governor for everybody.”