Voters must choose new representative for 4th District

For the first time in eight years, voters in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District will hit the polls to choose a new representative for the seat.

The race pits Democratic candidate J.D. Scholten, who narrowly lost to Republican incumbent Steve King in 2018, against Randy Feenstra, former Iowa Senator who unseated King in the primary election in February.

Ahead of the election, Mid America Publishing, which owns the Clear Lake Mirror-Reporter, reached out to Scholten and Feenstra to get their thoughts on key issues and the challenges ahead for Iowans. Identical questionnaires were sent to both candidates and their answers submitted have been published below verbatim.

The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 3.

JD Scholton

J.D. Scholten

Democratic Candidate

What is your background and what experiences will you bring to District 4?

Throughout my life I’ve always been a bridge between people whether I was playing minor league baseball in seven different countries or between urban and rural areas while I was a paralegal. But what’s best prepared me to serve in Congress is how we’ve campaigned. Last fall, we held town halls in towns of under 1,000 people and the past two months, we’ve traveled to all 374 towns in Iowa’s 4th district on the Every Town Tour and listened to folks across the political spectrum. I will bring accountability, accessibility, and civility back to Iowa’s 4th district.

What made you decide to seek this position? 

Like many Iowans, I moved away for a few years to chase dreams elsewhere, but during

Thanksgiving of 2016, my Grandma Fern told me to come home and take care of the farm. When I moved home, I saw the utter lack of opportunities and the devastating state of the farm economy with multinational corporations raking in record profits while squeezing out our farmers. I’m running for Congress to fight for the people who get dirt under their fingernails like our farmers, teachers, nurses, and truck drivers. I believe that Iowa’s 4th district can be the epicenter for 21st century resilient agriculture, which can be the start to creating good-paying jobs and thriving communities.

What issues impacting Iowa do you hope to address?

We need affordable, accessible health care for all Iowans. I don’t take any donations from pharmaceutical or insurance corporations or the managed care organizations that have destroyed our Medicaid system -- so they won’t be pulling my strings in Congress and I will hold them accountable. My goal is a universal health care system, but it will take steps to get there including a robust public option, offering a Medicare buy-in for those 55 and older, protecting folks with pre-existing conditions and helping small businesses provide coverage to their employees. We also must protect and expand Social Security and Medicare and allow Medicare to negotiate and bring down prescription drug costs.

If elected, how do you plan to represent District 4 residents and Iowans in general on a national level?

I’ve been called the only federal candidate talking about the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921. This law was critical for Iowa farmers because it led to the creation of GIPSA, an office that ensured competition and protected farmers from unfair, monopolistic practices. Unfortunately, this office has slowly been stripped of its power and now farmers have a harder time alleging these unfair practices and bringing lawsuits to court. I plan on introducing legislation to modernize GIPSA and ensure that our farmers have a level playing field and the opportunity to stay on their land, make a dime, and pass it onto the next generation.

How do you plan to help your constituents navigate the ever-changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Instead of continuing to needlessly bail out corporations, we should focus on the people of this country and increase testing, contact tracing, PPE, and funding for Iowa hospitals that are beginning to be overwhelmed. We also need a long-term vision for how to jumpstart our economy once we’ve contained and controlled this virus. For decades, we’ve heard from both sides about the infrastructure upgrade needs. Let’s finally prioritize our nation’s infrastructure from fixing roads and highways to upgrading water and wastewater pipes to create jobs and grow our economy.

Randy Feensta

Randy Feenstra

Iowa’s 4th Congressional District 4 Republican Candidate

What is your background and what experiences will you bring to District 4?

I have a background in both the private and public sector, beginning my career with the Foreign Candy Company, where I eventually worked my way up to Head of Sales, and then moving on to become Hull City Administrator, then Sioux County Treasurer, and eventually a State Senator. Through this experience I’ve learned what works in business and how to apply that to government: delivering for taxpayers like they’re customers.

What made you decide to seek this position?

We need a proven, effective leader who can deliver results for our district in Congress. I have done this in the Iowa Senate where I passed the largest income tax cut in state history, eliminated the grain bin tax, helped first time farmers, and balanced the budget. I have proven I can deliver results for Iowans and will do the same for them in Congress.

What issues impacting Iowa do you hope to address? 

We have to take care of our farm families and rural main streets. Right now, they’re faced with an array of challenges out of their control. We need a seat on the agriculture committee to ensure their voices are heard in Congress. In the Iowa Senate I delivered results for our farm families by eliminating the grain bin tax, helping first time farmers, and expanding consumption of ethanol and biodiesel in our state. I will do the same thing in Congress.

If elected, how do you plan to represent District 4 residents and Iowans in general on a national level?

By taking to Washington what’s worked for us here: pragmatic, effective leadership that brings people together over common goals and delivers results that have a positive impact on peoples’ lives. That’s what I did in the Iowa Senate when we passed the largest income tax cut in the state’s history and balanced the budget, and that’s what I’ll do in Congress too.

How do you plan to help your constituents navigate the ever-changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

We must balance the health and safety of Iowans along with along with the livelihoods of Iowa families. We must ensure that workers are kept safe and make sure we keep our economy moving. I will help my constituents navigate these challenging times by listening to their needs and delivering results for them in Congress.

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