Hart: Democrats want to put people first

Lieutenant governor candidate visits FD

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
State Sen. Rita Hart, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, speaks Tuesday evening at the Webster County Democratic headquarters, 1605 First Ave. N.

Iowans want somebody in the state Capitol to care about them, and that’s what a Democratic governor and lieutenant governor would do, state Sen. Rita Hart said Tuesday evening in Fort Dodge.

Hart, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, spoke to about 40 people at the Webster County Democratic Party headquarters, 1605 First Ave. N.

She said that she and Fred Hubbell, the Democratic candidate for governor, will ”put people first.”

”People are looking for a change,” she said. ”They’re looking for somebody to care about them and put the priorities back into the Statehouse that belong there.”

At the top of the Hubbell-Hart list of priorities is ending the private management of the Medicaid insurance program for poor and disabled Iowans, the candidate said.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
State Sen. Rita Hart, center, the Democratic nominee for for lieutenant governor, greets former state Sen. Daryl Beall Tuesday evening at the Webster County Democratic headquarters. Brenda Angstrom, the Democratic nominee for Webster County treasurer, is at left.

”The first thing on Day One that we’re going to work on is to turn around this privatization of Medicaid and get it back under state control,” Hart said. ”We’ve seen too many people suffer too much. It’s time to get that fixed.”

While a Hubbell-Hart administration would begin working on Medicaid on its first day, it would not roll out a new plan immediately. In an interview following her speech, Hart said the decision to have managed care organizations oversee Medicaid was made too quickly and without enough input from patients and health care providers. She said she and Hubbell want to avoid that mistake.

”What we want to do is to go carefully and make sure that we’re listening to all the stakeholders that understand this Medicaid system the best and then gradually bring back those populations under state control,” she said. ”We want to move on that in a calculated and careful way.”

During the interview, Hart also criticized the tax cut approved this year by the Republican-led legislature and GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds, saying it mostly benefits the wealthy.

”This tax plan got a lot of attention, but the reality of it is that it benefits the people at the top of the scale more than it does the average Iowan,” she said. ”Fred and I have a vision — we want to have a tax system that’s fair, that floats all boats, that truly helps Iowa move forward and reflects the priorities that Iowans have.”

Hubbell and Hart have proposed a plan that lowers tax rates for middle-class people and small businesses, while eliminating corporate tax breaks that don’t produce new jobs or investments.

People at Tuesday evening’s event also heard brief speeches by Niki Conrad, the Democratic candidate for Webster County supervisor in District 4; Webster County Attorney Darren Driscoll; Brenda Angstrom, Democratic nominee for Webster County treasurer; Jake Thompson, candidate for state House District 10; and John O’Brien, candidate for state Senate District 5.