LOEBSACK: Liz Mathis will better represent the 2nd District

Jaci Smith | Globe Gazette >

Iowans respect leaders who understand their struggles, advocate for a better Iowa, and stand up for what’s right and fair. That is exactly the type of leader Liz Mathis has been, as a journalist, a nonprofit leader and a legislator.

As a former member of the U.S. House, I was disheartened to see freshman Congresswoman Ashley Hinson take credit for a project that will be funded by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that she not only voted against — but slammed — calling the bill “Washington Gamesmanship and Spending at Its Worst.”

My number one priority while in Congress was creating jobs and expanding Iowa’s economy — and infrastructure is the cornerstone for economic and job growth. Rebuilding roads, bridges, locks and dams are critical for Iowa farmers, businesses and industries to move their grain and products to market and fix supply chain issues that are driving inflation.

An investment in infrastructure is an investment in the American worker. My bipartisan Workforce Development bill was signed into law a few years ago, kicking off the apprenticeship movement. It brought federal funds to Iowa for community colleges and local businesses to develop job training programs. It was a jumpstart to build the skilled workforce we would need when an infrastructure bill passed with long-overdue funding required to fix broken roads and bridges.

This bipartisan infrastructure bill that Congresswomen Hinson voted against will bring an historic investment into Iowa that will not only create thousands of jobs, but will help us retain talent and attract new business to the state. That is a solid bill that is reinvesting Iowa taxpayer funds directly into projects here; all for the greater good of Iowans.

I have traveled across several congressional districts and listened to Iowans, and they want and need this infrastructure bill. Farmers have concerns about rundown rural bridges over which they haul their grain. These are the same broken bridges our kids’ school buses use every day. I can tell you that fixing infrastructure is key to economic growth and safety.

The infrastructure bill, like other bills the freshman congresswoman will need to review and vote either for or against, may have aspects she likes and other aspects she dislikes. But voting no and sending out a statement claiming credit for only the parts she likes is dishonest.

As a member of Congress, I saw all too often how elected leaders can succumb to the pressure of their leadership and take votes that hurt the people they were supposed to represent. Iowans do not look kindly on this.

Senator Grassley and I came together many times on legislation that was best for Iowans — despite aspects of bills we couldn’t agree on. The important thing was finding common ground for solutions, not playing party politics. And it wasn’t always easy. There is not a “maybe” vote in Congress, you are either “Yay” or “Nay.” Ashley Hinson voted against the infrastructure bill, and she has to own that.

At the end of the day, a congressperson must assess the bill on their desk and decide what is most fair for their constituents. When it comes to fairness, that is where you’ll find the greatest contrast between Rep. Hinson and her challenger, Senator Liz Mathis, who I have endorsed to be the next representative for Iowa’s 2nd District.

Northeast Iowa deserves a seasoned, well-rounded representative who has demonstrated that she will reach across the aisle to get things done. In her 10 years in the Iowa State Senate, Liz Mathis has proven herself to be that kind of legislator.