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Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker endorses Kimberly Graham for U.S. Senate

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Kimberly Graham. — photo courtesy of Kimberly Graham for U.S. Senate campaign

Democrat Kimberly Graham picked up an important endorsement in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate when Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker announced on Tuesday that he is supporting her candidacy.

In May, Graham became the first Democrat to announce a challenge to Sen. Joni Ernst, but her campaign was overshadowed when the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) endorsed another candidate, Theresa Greenfield, on June 6. The DSCC endorsement came just three days after Greenfield, a Des Moines-area real estate executive, announced her candidacy.

“We don’t need a primary,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said about the Iowa Senate race, Time magazine reported in June. Greenfield has received other major endorsements besides the DSCC.

Walker called the Iowa Democratic Senate race “a primary contest that was already heavily skewed in favor of one candidate” in an essay explaining why he decided against a Senate run. In that essay, Walker said, “I would study all of the candidates and their platforms, and support the most progressive candidate in the race.”

Graham is that candidate, Walker said in a post on Bleeding Heartland.

Graham, who lives in Des Moines, is an attorney specializing in collaborative law, which is an approach to divorce and family law that stresses reaching agreements without adversarial court proceedings. In the May 3 Facebook post announcing her candidacy, Graham listed her top priorities.

I believe health care is a right. Our country has the money to provide good medical and dental care to all, but so far, we don’t have a majority of people representing us who have the will to get it done. We need medicare for all, now.

I believe climate change is a national security threat, an environmental health threat, an economic threat and a threat to our existence, ultimately. We need major, significant action on climate change, now.

I believe we need a higher minimum wage, affordable day care and affordable, decent housing. We need all of those to lift more people out of poverty.

I believe in equal justice for all. We need to dismantle the school to prison pipeline and ensure the fairness of our justice system. We need criminal justice reform.

I believe mega-corporations have been allowed to become far too big. They are steamrolling our small towns and running our family farms and farmers into the ground. We need to strengthen and enforce anti-trust legislation to create a more level playing field for small farms and small businesses.

Graham takes positions on “fifteen different policy areas on her website and talks about even more on the campaign trail,” Walker said in his post. “She endorses the Green New Deal and calls for a universal single payer healthcare system. She talks about racial justice and ways we can support indigenous people. She talks about education, immigration reform, workers rights and unions, rural communities and agriculture policy.”

“In a political season where candidates are rewarded for having a plan, Kimberly Graham is unmatched in this race.”

Walker contrasted Graham’s approach with that Greenfield’s approach. According to Walker, “the only information I could access from Theresa Greenfield’s campaign website [aside from a biography of the candidate] was instructions on how to donate money.” (The Greenfield site also features her campaign video, and a page to register as a volunteer.)

Joni Ernst speaks to Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker following a town hall meeting at Coe College. Friday, March 17, 2017. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Walker praised Graham’s energetic campaigning, in addition to her policy positions.

“She’s already visited 33 counties across the state, visiting eight of those more than once, stumping for down-ballot candidates at their fundraising events, listening to individuals impacted by the opioid epidemic in my community, and attending NAACP banquets, meeting with constituents who rarely get face time with candidates for federal office,” he said.

Walker said he considers Graham one of the “bold, progressive candidates … our party and our country needs.”

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We need a new way of doing business in the Democratic Party here in Iowa. We must move away from the old model where party elites steer attention and resources to the candidates they deem safe, which from my view means, candidates with lackluster policy goals, who can appeal to Republicans, and raise money from wealthy donors and special interest groups. We cannot accept a process where a few insiders anoint a candidate and decry the devolution of our politics at the same time. The process as it stands now is undemocratic, and has not even proven itself very successful.

In addition to Graham and Greenfield, Eddie Mauro and Mike Franken are also running for the Democratic nomination. Mauro is a former high school coach, who owns a commercial insurance company, and Franken retired from the U.S. Navy after an almost 40-year career in which he reached the rank of vice admiral.

“We need to repeal and replace Joni Ernst,” Walker said in the conclusion of his Bleeding Heartland post. “The best person to do it is Kimberly Graham, a candidate for the people.”


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