These November elections are huge. And yet, many of us don’t care. Only about half the fourth period government classes knew who our two U.S. senators were. But, for the first time, some of us have a vote, and all of us have the opportunity to voice our opinions and to maybe influence others.
Some seniors have the opportunity to vote in the upcoming elections. And while virtually everyone knows the two presidential candidates, there is another very important battle going on in the state of Iowa. The senate race between Republican incumbent Charles Grassley and Democratic challenger Patty Judge. While the presidential election is greatly important, so is the race for Senate and high school students need to be informed.
Four years ago, in the 2012 presidential elections, along with 2014 Iowa U.S. senate race, no current student could vote and most of us would be unaffected by the policies made by the legislature. It’s now 2016, however, and along with some of us being able to vote for an Iowan senator, the majority of us will be affected by who is elected. Senators get terms of six years so by the time the next spot opens up, we will be in our 20s and will probably be living on our own. That’s why even if you can’t vote, you should care.
Something to consider…
Politics are so fickle. One week Jimbo, for example, will be up eight points in the polls, the next moment, Susie-Q will have taken the lead by three. Things change, candidates change, ideals change. We, the people of the United States, even change. Throughout my short time in this world, I have always been fascinated by politics.
But, my ideas have flip-flopped like a seesaw. From third grade up until 10th grade, I considered myself a Democrat. I sincerely believed that the values Democrats fought for were the best for our society. However, I have changed since third grade. I started to stop being so stubborn and start to listen more to other arguments. I started to believe more in the economic policies that Republicans vouch for. Am I a Democrat still? Nope. Am I a Republican now? I’m not sure.
If you are a Democrat, just try and listen to what Chuck Grassley has to say, and ditto for Republicans and Patty Judge.
Charles Ernest Grassley was born on Sept. 17, 1933 in Hartford, Iowa. After his high school graduation, Grassley attended Iowa State Teachers College (modern day University of Northern Iowa) where he got his Bachelor of Arts in 1955.
After his time at Iowa State Teachers College, Grassley started to become more and more interested in politics, at one point he even studied toward a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Iowa. His first public office was representing parts of Butler County in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1959 until 1975. After that, Grassley took the leap to the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1981. In 1980, Charles successfully defeated Iowa Democrat John Culver to gain one of the two Iowa senate seats in the U.S. senate. To this day, Grassley has never lost a public election. Chuck Grassley is a lifelong Republican.
I have met Chuck Grassley once, but it had an impact. The summer after fifth grade, I was at a Boy Scout Convention in Boone. One of the speakers there was none other than Grassley. My dad used to be a news reporter for KCCI and had met Grassley many times before, so he took me backstage to meet him.
I had no idea what to think of Grassley, I had never even seen a picture of him. But, we walked up to him, and he smiled, greeting my father, and looked down to me. “And, you must be Geoff’s son then!” he said. I nodded and my father nudged me to tell him my name. For a couple of minutes, we talked about me and about Boy Scouts. Never once did politics come up. Afterward, I thought to myself, “Wow, what a nice guy.”
One of the great things about Grassley, is that he doesn’t force politics into a topic. He wants to get to know the people of Iowa not force them to listen about why he is such a good senator. He actually cares about Iowa, and he has shown that time and time again through his voting records, and the fact that he takes the time to visit every one of Iowa’s 99 counties each year. And, despite being a Republican, he tries his hardest to work with Democrats in order to get things done. Grassley is true Iowa nice.
What Chuck is about…
Tax incentives to make higher education more affordable
Lower Marginal Taxes and limit tax hikes
Find solutions to make healthcare more affordable
Continue to fight against illegal drug trafficking
Promote renewable energy and expand Iowa wind energy production
Oppose amnesty and Increased border measures
Support overseas allies and continue to build foreign trust
Now, to the challenger; Born in 1943, Patty Jean Poole Judge lived her entire adolescence in southern Iowa. After high school, she attended Iowa Methodist School of Nursing, receiving a degree in nursing.
Judge didn’t enter Iowa politics until the 1990s, being elected to the Iowa State Senate representing the 46th District (She served until 1998). In 1998, still as an Iowa State Senator, Judge successfully ran for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and was re-elected in 2002. In 2006, Judge became the running mate for Iowa gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver, who was elected as the 41st Governor of Iowa. Judge served as Lieutenant Governor until 2011. Patty Judge is a lifelong Democrat.
What Patty is about…
Expand and support Iowa agriculture
Rights of all Americans are protected and work to pass Employee Nondiscrimination Act
Limit corporations influences in politics
Increase airstrikes against ISIS
Control and Limit Super PAC spending
Expand preschool access in Iowa
Make post-high school education more affordable
Increase minimum wage
Something of note…
The main argument Patty Judge is using is that Chuck Grassley has stopped working for the people of Iowa. But to understand that, we have to rewind back to February 2016. The political world was shocked when longtime Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died.
It is up to the President to appoint Supreme Court Justices when a vacancy appears and the Senate (controlled by Republicans) didn’t like this because they feared Obama, a Democrat, would appoint a liberal justice who for years to come would carry out liberal agendas. Even though it is constitutionally Obama’s duty to appoint a new justice, Republicans argued that since his term is nearly up, it should be left to the next president to appoint a new justice. And, when a president nominates a new Justice, it is up to a Senate Judiciary Committee to see if the candidate should be appointed… and Chuck Grassley happens to be the head of that committee. So, Grassley has held firm that the committee will not allow Merrick Garland (Obama’s pick) to be considered which has angered many Iowans statewide. This has become Patty Judge’s pitch against Grassley
Yes, the Merrick Garland debacle has become a bit of “disgrace” (if you will) for the Grassley campaign, but don’t let it blemish what Chuck Grassley has been able to achieve for Iowa.
Polk County Democratic Chairman Tom Henderson talked about how Iowa political insiders think the Supreme Court Controversy will affect the Grassley/Judge race. He talked about how many Democrats (and Iowans alike) don’t think Grassley is doing his proper job. “The Merrick Garland ordeal has really helped energize the Democratic base,” he said. “Not only are Democrats critical of Grassley, now Independent voters are starting to lean Democrat.”
The Bottom Line
This Iowa senate election is huge. Thirty-four U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs. Republicans currently control the Senate, but many races are wide open. “If Democrats get four seats, the senate is tied. And, If Clinton wins the White House, Tim Caine would act as the tiebreaker, and Democrats would control the senate. With four or five wins Democrats win the Senate outright,” Henderson said.
Henderson also talked about why millennials should care (and about why they should go Democrat). “This is the first time millennials get a say. Democrats will address more issues important to the young generation: education, higher wages and college debt.”
For ourselves and for our society, maybe start to care about this election.