‘The number one job of a governor is to raise wages’: Iowa Democratic governor candidate Cathy Glasson
SCENE: About a dozen volunteers crowded into a small office space off Des Moines’ Fleur Drive on a recent Tuesday night as Michael Fasullo, organizing director for the Cathy Glasson campaign, coached them about how to talk to first-time voters.
Ask them about their issues, he said, asking them what they’re passionate about.
“Universal health care,” they called out. “Everybody in, nobody out,” someone else chimed in, mirroring Glasson’s campaign trail rhetoric.
The volunteers were well-versed on the issues Glasson has been highlighting on the trail — things like free community college, debt-free public education, an at least 4 percent increase to state aid for K-12 schools and getting rid of Iowa’s “right to work” law.
Before they dispersed across the office, into the halls and onto the balcony to start making calls, Glasson rallied her troops.
“Together, we can actually achieve this if we keep looking forward,” she said, her voice rising with passion. “And don’t let anybody tell you we can’t do this, because that’s not the truth. What doesn’t get us to where we want to go is staying in the middle and being safe. Because that doesn’t achieve a bold, progressive agenda and vision for Iowa.”
EXPERIENCE: Glasson is president of SEIU Local 199, a North Liberty-based union representing nurses, health care workers and school support employees. She’s a registered nurse and previously worked in the intensive care unit at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
MAJOR ISSUE: Well-paying jobs. Glasson has called for a $15-an-hour minimum wage to be phased in over three years and then tied to inflation. She said the change will jumpstart local economies and support Iowa families struggling to make ends meet.
“I believe the number one job of a governor is to raise wages and improve the standard of living for all Iowans,” Glasson said at an April 26 candidate forum hosted by the Dallas County Democrats. “And Iowans are ready for big bold ideas to turn our state around. They’re ready to rise up for a $15 minimum wage, and we need to get there fast. Because anyone who works full time should never live in poverty.”
DISTINCTION: Glasson has built a base of support among the state’s more progressive voters and organizations, many of whom supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during his 2016 Iowa caucus campaign. In addition to raising the minimum wage, she has pushed for universal health care through a “Medicare for all” plan.
“I’m a bold progressive, and Iowans are ready for change,” Glasson told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board. “Status quo politics and policies in this state have not helped Iowans achieve the level of economic security that they should have. And moving to the center and status quo establishment politics as usual is not the way to get there.”
Glasson has called on Iowans to “rise up” and to press for bold change.
“We need to say, ‘What do we want and how are we going to get it and what do we deserve?'” she said. “Not, ‘What are we going to settle for?'”
WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Glasson pointed to her manicured pink fingernails, adding she had them done to support Planned Parenthood.
“There’s usually dirt under them,” she said, noting her passion for gardening and being outside.
“My husband’s more the vegetable gardener. I do more like shrubs and bushes and plants and I like to move things around,” she said. “I love that. To me, that’s the way I relax and just be myself.”