Vilsack, King race could be decided by Ames


Photo: Emily Harmon/Iowa State Daily

The race between Christie Vilsack and Steve King to represent the 4th district in Iowa may be decided by the votes of college students. 

Thaddeus Mast

This year’s race to Congress between Christie Vilsack and Steve King could be decided by college students in Ames.

“There was a political scientist from Drake University who was recorded in a National Public Radio series, and he said Story County, and specifically the college town of Ames, could determine the outcome of the race,” said Madeline Becker, senior in political science and the president of Cyclones for Vilsack.

The fight for the 4th district in Iowa is starting to heat up as the two candidates take to debates. Their policies showcase the different directions they feel Iowa and the country need to go.

“Iowa State has some of the highest debt in the country, and Congressman King has supported cutting programs that would help keep education more affordable,” Becker said. “For example, he supported the Ryan budget, which would cut Pell Grants for students already struggling to pay for school, where Christie has promised to support the Pell Grants and has also pledged to stand by all measures that would make college payment more affordable to all struggling students.”

While King does want to cut Pell Grants in the budget of Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan, he feels the best way to help college students is after graduation.

“The biggest thing to help students pay off their debt is to find and create jobs,” said Jimmy Center, the communications director for Steve King for Congress.

King plans on doing this through a four-point plan.

“The first point would be the 100 percent repeal of Obamacare,” Center said. “A recent Ernst and Young study said that Obamacare is going to cost Americans 710,000 jobs. For young people in Iowa and this country Obamacare is an enormous detriment to their growth and, after they’ve graduated, entering the workforce.”

“Obamacare” is the National Health Care Act, which will give health insurance to every American and allow students up to the age of 26 to stay on their parent’s insurance but will require taxes to function. Vilsack is in favor of this act.

The second point of King’s plan is to “balance the budget, which would give them the predictability and stability to create jobs and reinvest profit,” Center said. “The state of Iowa has a law requiring a balanced budget, just like the congressman is proposing at the national level. The third point is to learn to harvest all forms of American energy. The last point is to create economic opportunities through economic certainties.”

Sam Roecker, communications director of Vilsack for Iowa, does not believe King’s plan will work.

“Steve King has had 10 years in Congress to take action on that, focus on job creation, support education, and he hasn’t done that,” Roecker said. “He went to Congress to make a name for himself, pushing his own agenda.”

A favorable election for Vilsack will be historical for women politicians in Iowa as it has never had a female member in its Congressional delegation.

“As a female, I’m disappointed that Iowa has yet to elect a female to Congress, and I think Christie would be a great first female candidate,” Becker said.

As Nov. 6 gets closer and closer, this Congressional race will no doubt be on the radar for both political parties, especially since Ames, a traditionally democratic stronghold, will now play a strong role in the election.

The next debate between these two candidates will be Sept. 17 in the Franklin County Forum.