SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Election Day is approaching and over the next few weeks KTIV will be talking to candidates for races for the U.S House and U.S. Senate in all three Siouxland states.
The first KTIV will focus on is the race for the Iowa U.S. Senate seat. The four candidates include Republican incumbent Joni Ernst, Democratic nominee Theresa Greenfield, Independent Suzanne Herzog and Libertarian Rick Stewart.
KTIV's Al Joens talked with Theresa Greenfield, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa. You can read the full interview below:
"Ms. Greenfield, several times during the first candidate debate you described what you would do to save the Affordable Care Act if elected," said Al Joens. "When asked specifically which plan you would support to replace the ACA--if it's ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court--you again detailed your plan to save the ACA. Being as specific as you can, what plan would you support if the ACA is ruled unconstitutional?"
"Well Al, I'll tell you, health care is on the ballot this fall," said Theresa Greenfield, (D) U.S. Senate Candidate. "It is the number-one issue I hear about as I criss-cross the state or meet with people on tele-town halls. It can be small business owners that are talking about the cost of premiums. It can be individuals who can't afford their deductibles of the out-of-pocket expenses. It's seniors who are being gouged for prescription drug costs. But it's more than that. It's our rural healthcare systems, it's our labor-delivery units, it's mental healthcare, addiction care. So, everywhere I go. So, I would strengthen and enhance the Affordable Care Act and then add in a public option to make sure that we create some competition. As a businesswoman, I think that's important, leveling that playing field and making sure everyone has a chance to buy into or qualify for affordable and accessible health care. It would remove the requirement for people to be dependent on their employer-based health, which, right now, during COVID as we've watched people lose their health care, that public option helped. Whatever we do, though, we need to protect those essential services. Protections for pre-existing conditions, continuing the Medicaid expansion. It's been a lifeline for hospitals, particularly rural hospitals. Protections for, you know, prescription drugs and mental health care and maternity coverage and so much more."
"You've talked about how, after your first husband's death, Social Security benefits gave you a 'second chance,'" said Joens. "To keep Social Security solvent, what specific options would you consider... raising the payroll tax rate, changing the way the annual cost-of-living adjustments are calculated, or raising the retirement age?"
"So, what I wouldn't have done is what Senator Joni Ernst did, which is pass a tax bill that increased the debt $2-trillion and now threatens both Social Security and Medicare," said Greenfield. "We have to make sure that whatever we do to sustain Social Security for generations that we don't do it on the backs of hard-working families and middle-class families, and I'll tell you, Al, Social Security is personal to me. You know, being widowed at the age of 24, suddenly becoming a single mom with a 13-month-old and another one on the way, it was, those earned benefits, Social Security and my husband's union benefits, that kept us out of poverty, so I'm going to work to sustain it for generations to come. I want grannies in this state and across the country to know, I've got their back."
"You've criticized Senator Joni Ernst for voting for the CARES Act," said Joens. "But, you have also said you would have voted for it. Can you explain why you would criticize something that you, yourself, would vote for?"
"Absolutely, I would have voted for it, but as part of that CARES Act, Senator Ernst pushed hard for a $500-billion slush fund for the largest corporations that would allow CEOs to lay people off and give themselves bonuses," said Greenfield. "I got in this race to put Iowa first, to put hard-working families first, not to defend corporations. Sen. Joni Ernst, she sold out Iowans for her corporate donors, the kind that would receive the benefits from that kind of slush fund. Additionally, in that process, she also fought to end or not allow paid sick leave. People shouldn't have to decide whether they go to work sick, particularly in this time of COVID, or whether they stay home to take care of their families, but then maybe lose a paycheck or their job, and she fought also to not have those expanded unemployment benefits, which have been critical to our workforce. We have an unemployment rate that's the highest it's been since the Great Depression. We've got to focus on those workers, too."
"All right, Theresa Greenfield, candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa, thank you for your time," said Joens.
"Al, thank you very much, too," said Greenfield. "It's great to be here."
You can watch the other candidates' interviews by following the links below: