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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dave Loebsack - David to Leach's Goliath

(cross-posted at Progressive Wave . net [roots])

On November 7, 2006 Dave Loebsack (pronounced LOBE-sack) surprised us all. No one predicted his win. In fact, most people, in and out of the party, didn’t think Dave had a chance. This race wasn’t even on most people’s watch list. Dave ran against “the gentleman” incumbent Jim Leach. Jim Leach gets everyone’s vote: republicans, independents, and more than a few democrats. He was one of the few in his party to vote against the war in 2003, never mind that Leach did get his start working for Rumsfeld. Dave, a political science professor at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA, (located between the two most populous parts of of IA-02) has even had Leach guest lecture for his class on more than one occasion. Dave Loebsack has never run for public office. In fact, he had to be nominated for his placement on the ballot due to (allegedly) not enough signatures on his election petition! Leach has been in congress for thirty years – which, most likely, lead to his demise. Dave ran with the slogan “Dave Loebsack, our voice for change.” Another sign said, “Had enough? Vote Dave!”


I liked this Loebsack quote from the Muscatine Journal:


"I always said I could win, I never said I would win."



The race was a clean and respectful one. Neither Leach nor Loebsack would allow the normal mudslinging that we have all come accustomed to. This race was unique in money spent as well. Leach accepts no money from lobbyist, businesses, PAC money, etc. In fact, when the GOP sent out attack mailers, Leach demanded that they stay out of the race. He even went as far as to tell Ken Mehlman that he wouldn’t caucus with his party in January if it continued!! You have to respect the guy for that at least.

The unofficial results from the Secretary of State say that Loebsack was the victor by just 5711 votes; 107,097 to 101,386.

I was not in Iowa City where Dave watched the results roll in with his family and Johnson County supporters. After much GOTV work the prior three or four days, I was at the Linn County Democratic Victory Party, just thirty miles north . I can tell you that the noise generated in Cedar Rapids by staffers, and volunteers as the Loebsack-Leach returns were coming in, was overwhelming. Nothing I have experienced in this type of setting before. People had tears in their eyes; tears of amazement, tears of opportunity, tears of hope.


Since winning the election, Loebsack has been very busy! Last week he traveled to Washington for freshman orientation. During this time he did get the opportunity to speak briefly with the President, and so did his wife, Terry, a second grade teacher in Mt. Vernon Iowa. A Des Moines Register article quotes Loebsack:


"I did mention to him my desire to work with him," Loebsack said. "We didn't have much time to talk but I mentioned the war in Iraq." He said his wife, Terry, also told Bush about her son, a Marine captain and Naval Academy graduate who served in Iraq, and her daughter-in-law serving there now.

"I think he really took that to heart, there's no doubt about it," Loebsack said.



Although Loebsack is against this war and called for Rumsfeld’s resignation long ago, that was only a part of what Dave spoke about on the campaign trail. The issues of civil rights and civil liberties for all (including GLBT people), the environment, alternative fuel, retirement security, student loans, and issues that help people, especially those that need it most...those that have been neglected by our current administration...were top on his list.

And now??

Dave is ready to get started doing good things for good people in the state of Iowa, as well as all Americans across the country. He is passionate about raising the minimum wage. He also supports H.R.676, the United Sates Health Insurance Act introduced in the house by Rep. Conyers (MI-14). As a fellow educator, I am interested in how he will support education as he leaves exits that field for Washington.

I'll end with a quote from Dave. In this article from the Press Citizen, Dave sums up exactly what we are counting on from him....


"I grew up in poverty," he said. "I will never forget where I came from. I see no reason to become a Washingtonian," he said.

2 Comments:

Blogger Donnie McDaniel said...

Congrats to him!

5:50 AM  
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