Matt Milner3 hrs ago
OTTUMWA — Cathy Glasson brought her vision for Iowa to Ottumwa on Friday, focusing on economic issues she believes will brighten the state’s future.

Glasson, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Iowa governor, voiced support for a three-year series of hikes to raise Iowa’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, saying the Iowans she has spoken with are “fed up” with stagnant wages.

“Two-thirds of the jobs in our state pay less than $20 per hour. Half of those pay less than $15 per hour,” she said.

While raising the minimum wage has long been a goal for Iowa Democrats, the effort to use local governments to pressure the legislature failed. The legislature passed a law prohibiting local governments from raising the minimum wage above the state’s level. The move rolled back several localized increases, including one in Wapello County.

Glasson wants to use $15 per hour as a starting point, indexing future wage increases to inflation once that level is reached.

Glasson also pointed to her union background, urging the audience to support her efforts to protect collective bargaining rights. She said the “misleadingly-named” right-to-work law is an immediate target.

The issue is personal to Glasson, who drew on her experiences with collective bargaining. “I risked my job to lead the organizing of our nurses. I then went on to lead organizing of nurses at three other Iowa hospitals,” she said.

Glasson drew a crowd of about 40 people, a solid turnout for an event scheduled at the end of a Friday workday. She told the audience not to listen to rivals for the Democratic nomination who back “watered-down, Republican-light policies,” though she did not mention any by name.