Editor’s note: This is a personal endorsement. The views expressed in this editorial are my own and are not necessarily those of PVI’s writers, contributors, or editors.
By: Brian McLain
I had high hopes for the 2018 gubernatorial race. Things looked so very promising in the beginning.
Then… nothing… Just more of the same.
Every opportunity candidates had to address issues, they seemed to dodge. Whether it be the $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, or other progressive topics and issues, no candidate ever seemed to give a definitive answer. There was no vision for Iowa that I could discern beyond getting a Democrat back on Terrace Hill, which as we know from the era of the Big Lug, that’s not a good enough fix for Iowa’s ills. I couldn’t help but feel disheartened. Then last May I caught a glimpse of Cathy Glasson in her first exploratory video.
I was shocked and amazed. It is so very rare to see a candidate come right out of the gate and lay it all out on the table. She immediately addressed some of the key problems facing Iowans and took strong, bold stances on what she would work toward. She gave a vision for Iowa that was unabashedly progressive and had the guts to put it out there at the very start. Cathy became (and remains) my frontrunner.
As the race progressed, it became clear that Glasson was shaping the conversation. Every candidate had their own plan for a $15 minimum wage, though some were less appealing (or believable) than others. At every forum and in every speech, she spent little time on fluff and small talk and focused specifically on the issues and where she stood. Does this sound familiar to anybody?
She has been an elected union leader for 20+ years and she got there by risking her job to help organize several hospitals across the state, back in the 90’s – before it was an issue to run a campaign on. Who better knows about unions than a rank and file leader? She is currently President of SEIU Local 199 and strongly advocated for making it easier for all Iowans to organize. To my knowledge, she is the only candidate that has railed against union-busting right to work laws in Iowa and made it clear she wants to find a way to repeal these laws.
Glasson has also received a number of endorsements from well-respected, grassroots progressive organizations such as Iowa CCI, Our Revolution, 350 Action, Caring Across Generations, National Nurses United, and most recently the Working Families Party. She has also been designated a candidate of distinction by anti-gun violence group Moms Demand Action.
In an age when just about every candidate is now trying to sell themselves as progressive, Glasson truly embodies progressive principles. She doesn’t just say she’s pro-labor, she is the only candidate in the state of Iowa to ever to have a completely unionized campaign staff. She does not stand up at a podium and just talk about fighting for Iowans, she actually joins the fight, whether it be at the capitol in protest or in a strike line. When it comes to funding her campaign, she has snubbed corporate PAC money, and 80% of her 6,000 individual donations are $50 or less.
On a much more personal level, I am someone who has experienced poverty in my life. I have experienced homelessness. I have experienced scrounging up enough money to try to get the electric bill turned back on. I put aside going to the doctor or waited in long lines at free clinics to get medical care because I didn’t have insurance. No matter how hard I worked, no matter how many hours, I just could not make ends meet. The only reason my family was able to escape from poverty was that I was able to land a union job. Now I have three children who will start leaving the nest in four years. I am terrified for them. I do not want the same ills to befall them as they did me. All of our children deserve a better a better future, a better opportunity, and a better Iowa.
We need more than just a governor who will bring us back to where we were before Trump or Brandstad’s second run. Iowa needs a governor that has a bold vision. We need a governor who doesn’t make special promises, but instead sets clear goals that they intend to work toward. We deserve a governor that will fight alongside instead of against us. We deserve a governor who we can trust to work towards making the lives of everyday Iowans better. Cathy Glasson is not the only progressive in the race, but she’s exactly the type of leader that Iowa needs. She is bringing Iowans together regardless of geography, age, or party, and that’s what we need to win this November.
My name is Brian McLain. I am the Editor-in-chief of Progressive Voices of Iowa and I am proud to personally endorse Cathy Glasson for Governor.