The actions and inaccurate statements of U.S. Rep. Steve King have helped to compound the illegal immigration problem on the southwest border, his Democratic challenger contended Wednesday evening during a visit to Fort Dodge.
"He bears some of the responsibility for what we're seeing by opposing a comprehensive immigration reform and by falsely claiming that the United States was going to give amnesty to people," Jim Mowrer, of Boone, said.
A phone call to the campaign office of King, a Republican from Kiron, was not returned Wednesday night.
-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
State Sen. Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge, snaps a photo of Kay Jensen and Jim Mowrer, the Democratic candidate in the 4th Congressional District, during a Wednesday evening event at the Webster County Democratic Headquarters, 500 Central Ave.
-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
The measure creating Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly, was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 30, 1965. On Wednesday people who gathered at the Webster County Democratic Headquarters celebrated the occasion with cake. Displaying the cake are, from left, First Assistant Webster County Attorney Jennifer Benson; U.S. House of Representatives candidate Jim Mowrer; JoDene Resseguie; state Sen. Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge; Lindsay Boeckman, the nominee for Webster County recorder; and Frank Vit.
Mowrer said he supports an immigration reform bill that's already been approved by the U.S. Senate. He said that measure would add 25,000 more Border Patrol agents and create a process for the 11 million people in the country illegally to attain legal status.
"That's what needs to be done to fix the problem," he said.
The candidate spoke on immigration reform during an interview following the grand opening celebration for the Webster County Democratic Headquarters at 500 Central Ave. About 65 people attended the event.
Mowrer, a Boone County native who was a special assistant to the undersecretary of the Army, is challenging King in the 4th Congressional District, which includes Webster County and all of its surrounding counties.
In his remarks to the people gathered at the party headquarters, Mowrer said he supports a strong social safety network that includes programs like Social Security.
"We're all better off when we help each other get back up," he said.
He said he wants to "strengthen and protect Medicare," the federal health insurance program for the elderly.
Mowrer said he's also in favor of raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour.
While he was working at the Pentagon, the candidate said he had "a front row seat for seeing how broken this Congress is."
Establishing the Army Office on Business Transformation was one of Mowrer's duties in the Pentagon. He said that to do that he had to work with congressional Democrats and Republicans, along with military officers.
"We figured out how to work together," he said. "I didn't always get what I wanted."
He pledged to bring that ability to work in a bipartisan way to the House of Representatives if he's elected.
Mowrer said one debate between himself and King has been proposed. He said that he has accepted the invitation to debate.
"The people deserve a debate," he said.
"We'll make him regret the fact if he doesn't debate," Mowrer added. "We'll make him regret it if he does decide to debate."
During the interview following the event, Mowrer said he supports a bill moving through Congress that would refrom the Department of Veterans Affairs in the wake of a scandal over the operations of its hospitals.
He said the economic sanctions imposed on Russia following its seizure of Crimea and its support of Ukrainian separatists are "very appropriate." He added that he's pleased that the European Union in now willing to impose more sanctions of its own.
Other Democratic candidates who spoke at the event included state Sen. Daryl Beall; state Rep. Helen Miller; Rod Halvorson, nominee for the Webster County Board of Supervisors; First Assistant Webster County Attorney Jennifer Benson, nominee for Webster County attorney; and Lindsay Boeckman, nominee for Webster County recorder.