ANKENY, Iowa (KTIV) —
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell have finished their first debate, which gave voters a chance to compare the candidates weeks before the November election.
They are both fifth-generation Iowans fighting for the future of their state. “I’m running for governor to change its direction by putting people first,” said Fred Hubbell, (D) Candidate for Governor. “I understand the challenges that everyday Iowans face because I’ve faced them myself,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds, (R) Iowa.
Wednesday night, both addressed challenges facing Iowa in 2018. Reynolds focused on filling available jobs. “As I talk to job creators and businesses across the state they tell me without hesitation that business has never been better, and they’re optimistic about the future, but they just need workforce,” Reynolds said. “Our biggest barrier to economic growth is people, and helping people get the skills to fill the jobs that are available today, and tomorrow.” Hubbell focused on missed opportunities. “The problem we have in Iowa is to create more opportunities,” said Hubbell. “We need to create more opportunity for all Iowans. To do that, we need to have fiscal responsibility in our government with the right priorities of improving education, improving health care, and improving opportunities for Iowans to make more income.”
Hubbell also expanded on his criticism of the $2-billion tax cut passed by lawmakers, and signed by Reynolds, last Spring. But, he stopped short of saying he’d repeal it. “What I support is a tax break for middle class Iowans and lower income families in our state because they’re getting left behind,” Hubbell said.
Reynolds says her administration isn’t done. “I believe that Iowans should be keeping more of their hard earned money, and in 2019 virtually every single Iowan will see their taxes go down,” Reynolds said.
Before the tax cut was passed, Hubbell called the move “fiscally irresponsible” in the face of Chinese tariffs on Iowa commodities, and a looming trade war. “We were monitoring what was happening with trade,” Reynolds said. “And, we wanted to make sure we wouldn’t have to reverse it and increase taxes. “So, we put triggers in place that have benchmarks that we had to meet before we would implement the tax cuts.”
Hubbell insists those ‘triggers’ aren’t enough. “All the buffers she’s talking about… the woman in charge of the Republicans in the House… says those triggers are not going to work,” Hubbell said. “So I don’t have a lot of confidence in them if she doesn’t.” Hubbell says he’s afraid of more mid-year budget cuts to cover the tax cuts.
Reynolds wants Iowans to trust her. “We did it in a fiscally-responsible manner,” Reynolds said. “We did it while maintaining our priorities, and that’s the same philosophy that we’ll take moving forward next year.”
The candidates covered a lot of ground and talked about education, economic development, abortion rights, and Medicaid.
On October 17th, Reynolds and Hubbell will be on stage, in Sioux City, for the second debate of the campaign. That debate, which begins at 7:00 p.m., will be televised live on KTIV, from Morningside College’s Eppley Auditorium.