Iowa's Future & The Governor's Race

The text below is the transcript of my endorsement of Cathy Glasson for the Democratic Nomination for Governor of Iowa, offered at the Johnson County Democrats Fall BBQ On Sunday, October 15th, 2017.  For more information about Cathy, please visit her website, Twitter, and Facebook page. ~kmf

Good afternoon Johnson County!

My name is Kurt Friese, I am a County Supervisor and proud, life-long Democrat.  Now unlike everyone else you will see on this dais today, I am not running for anything.  Not at the moment, anyway.

But I am here to offer an endorsement, and to tell you five quick reasons why I am supporting bold progressive Cathy Glasson for Governor.  Now Cathy is here tonight and she’s eager to meet you all, but she’s asked me to speak on her behalf because this is a people-powered campaign.  The idea is to organize dozens to organize hundreds to organize thousands of Iowans behind a truly progressive message for all of Iowa, and to talk to people one-on-one, in small gatherings and large ones like this, so that the people are the message.

Now you let me know if you agree.

  • Do you believe quality health care access is important?
  • Do you believe Water is Life? That water is important?
  • Do you believe workers’ rights, women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, indigenous rights, civil rights,  HUMAN rights are important?
  • Do you believe voting rights are important?
  • Do you believe Education is the silver bullet?

Then I ask you to join me in supporting Cathy Glasson.

Cathy is a nurse, not a career politician.  She offers new blood to reinvigorate the party and to listen to the people, not the patrons.  As a nurse she’s seen first-hand, too many times to count, people being forced to choose between the medicine they need and feeding their kids, between their mom’s surgery and making rent.  She’s seen the results, in painful human terms, of Iowa’s shameful position as 50th in the nation in mental health care access. Cathy knows universal single payer is the only workable option, as has been proven all over the world, and she won’t wait for the Feds, she’ll do it right here in Iowa.

Cathy Glasson knows "MNI WICONI," Water is Life.  Iowa has the worst surface water quality in the nation. That is shameful.  The data are clear – Iowa’s poor water quality is caused by nutrient runoff – 145 million Kg of phosphorous, 400 million Kg of nitrogen every year.  Cathy believes if you broke it, you bought it, and if you polluted it, you pay for it.  Also, Cathy stood with many of us here and with all of the Indigenous peoples of the world against the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines. We all know pipelines leak, and at a time when the President’s acting chief of pipeline safety is Drue Pearce, a person who owns a company that cleans up oil spills, we cannot afford to let this recklessness go on.

Cathy Glasson knows the worker because she IS a worker.  She’s a nurse who helped lead the fight to organize the SEIU chapter here at UIHC – at some points in the face of armed guards sent by management to intimidate the workers.  She went on to do so all over the state.  She wears nurse’s shoes, designed to spend a long day on her feet helping others.  She knows organized unions built the biggest and strongest middle class in human history and knows we must make it easier, not harder, to join a union.  She knows we need equal pay for equal work and a $15 minimum wage – not now, RIGHT now!

Now on the subject of voting rights: I wanna tell you a little secret that no one has told Paul Pate yet – lean in close – There is no voter impersonation fraud in Iowa (or in the US, for that matter).  And I’ll tell you another fact: a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats want to make it easier to vote and Republicans want to make it harder.  Iowa needs a governor who will encourage voter participation, who will roll back these voter ID laws, which are an unnecessary and expensive expansion of bureaucracy (which the R’s claim to oppose) – a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist.  Let’s replace it with universal registration (with an opt out), and statewide vote by mail.  Simple, effective, and affordable.

And we want those voters to be educated so they make smart decisions, and that’s why Cathy has called for universal access to post-secondary education – college or trade school – because a student’s right to that education should be no different than their right to a high school education.

To sum up: Cathy Glasson is the governor who can do all this.  But she cannot do it alone. No candidate who you see here today can.  As Cathy is fond of saying, “If you think you can do it for people, you’ve stopped understanding what it means to be an organizer.”   Now I know we well all unite behind the nominee, but I say we need a nominee who won’t deal in half measures, we need a bold progressive who will stand up for us:

  • For the mother of the diabetic child trying to choose between insulin and food
  • For the farmer who is using sustainable practices but getting blamed for pollution caused by big corporate agribusiness
  • For the worker getting her already-unequal wages withheld
  • For the senior citizen denied her suffrage because she’s never had a driver’s license and never needed one
  • For the student who want to contribute to society, not be a burden on his family

I urge you to support Cathy Glasson, a bold progressive for the future of Iowa.