During my internship at the Times, I was able to cover then Democratic candidate Patty Judge, who was making a run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Judge met supporters at the Scott County Democratic Headquarters in Davenport, Iowa. She kept to Democratic issues, among them calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour and removing the cap on Social Security taxes for the wealthiest in the nation. She also said that the nation needs to garner the will to tackle the environmental issues, from clean air and water to the global issue of climate change.
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By Thomas Geyer and Anis Shakirah Mohd Muslimin
Earlier this year, Patty Judge believed she would not take on U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in the November election.
“At one point, I decided I wouldn’t do it because it is a big commitment,” said Judge, 72, a Democrat who is a former Iowa lieutenant governor and former Iowa secretary of agriculture.
But after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Grassley, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that he would not hold hearings on President Barack Obama’s choice to replace him, and that he intended to leave the vacancy until after there is a new administration.
“I knew that was so wrong. I just felt I could not be quiet. There comes a time where enough is enough and the Supreme Court issue was the tipping point for me,” Judge said.
Judge held five meet-and-greet events Friday, beginning in Decorah and ending in Davenport, where she spoke to about 50 supporters at the Scott County Democratic Headquarters.
Judge kept to Democratic issues, among them calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour and removing the cap on Social Security taxes for the wealthiest in the nation. She also said that the nation needs to garner the will to tackle the environmental issues, from clean air and water to the global issue of climate change.
Among the issues she was asked about was student loan debt.
Judge responded by chastising the government for charging interest rates between 6-7 percent on student loans when the interest rate for home loans is 4-5 percent. “The government is making money on the backs of young people,” she said.
Students are coming out of college “saddled with six-figure debt,” she said. People just moving into the workforce will not be able to find jobs in Iowa that pay enough to allow them to “buy a car, buy a house and start a family.
Judge also said that the Affordable Care Act, known often as Obamacare, needs some tweaking to make it work better for insurance companies, health-care providers and consumers. But the biggest thing that would help, she said, would be to give the government the power to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs with drug manufacturing companies.
“The drug companies have a right to recover their investments in research and design,” Judge said. “They are entitled to make a profit. They are not entitled to gig us.”
Judge added that she understands the frustration of people who see that the nation has not come out of the 2008 recession as well or as fast as everyone was hoping.
She said she sees a lot of people frustrated with the government in general.
“People have a right to be frustrated,” she said. “They feel their government is not working well for them.” That is one thing Judge said she hopes to reverse if elected.
If elected as a freshman senator, she hopes she is placed on the agricultural committee where she can help write a new farm bill that would provide farmers with a better safety net.
Judge said she is going to run a tough campaign against Grassley and would like the opportunity to debate him.
The election is Nov. 8.