Theresa Greenfield, Democrat running for U.S. Senate


Theresa Greenfield stopped by Alluvial Brewing in Ames in July to discuss her “Small Towns, Bigger Paychecks” plan with brewery owner Elliot Thompson.

Mallory Tope

Theresa Greenfield is a Democrat running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Joni Ernst. Greenfield grew up on a family farm in Iowa and worked with her four siblings on the farm. Greenfield and her sister helped the family crop dust business.  

Greenfield put herself through school with the help of financial aid and part-time jobs. She was widowed at the age of 24, with a 13-month-old son and another on the way. She relied on Social Security survivor benefits to help keep her family out of poverty. 

Greenfield lives in Des Moines with her husband Steve, and she has four grown children.  

Why should college students vote for you? 

So much is at stake in this election. Everywhere I go, Iowans know it’s time for a change in Washington. The best part is when we flip this seat, we flip the entire U.S. Senate. And if we flip the Senate, we can make progress on the biggest challenges hurting us today. While Sen. Ernst denies climate science, I support taking urgent climate action. I will also fight to make sure that LGBTQ+ Iowans have equal rights and opportunities and take concrete actions to address racial disparities in housing, health care, policing, education and so much more.

What would you like the Senate to do about COVID-19? 

I’ve put out three plans to put our working families and small businesses first during the fight against COVID-19. I’ve called for more paid sick leave for workers, more expanded unemployment benefits and direct payments, relief for small businesses and help for state and local governments. I also called for a statewide mask mandate to prevent further spread of this deadly virus and to get our economy back on track. 

Frankly, I’ve been frustrated with leaders at the state and federal level that we haven’t gotten transparency or clear guidance about how to combat this pandemic. We all want to go back to normal, but the only way we can get there is by listening to and following the advice of public health experts.  

Would you pass the $2.2 trillion stimulus package or have a stimulus package to help Iowans?  

I recently released a new plan called “Back On Our Feet,” outlining what Washington needs to do to keep Iowans safe, get through this pandemic and regrow our economy. We need to help Iowans return to work and safely reopen our schools by following the guidelines of public health experts to slow the spread of this virus. The plan prioritizes putting workers first and taking urgent steps to regrow our economy, including urgent economic relief to small businesses, another round of direct payments for families and expanded paid sick leave.

Are there any issues or legislation you would like to prioritize and see passed? 

I’m fighting to protect and expand access to affordable quality health care, lower the cost of prescription drugs and create more good-paying job opportunities. But instead of solving these problems, politicians like Sen. Ernst are corrupted by massive donations from their corporate Political Action Committee [PAC] donors, leading our government to work only for the biggest corporations. 

We can change that by getting big money out of politics. I’m not taking a dime of corporate PAC money, and my plan for ending political corruption includes banning corporate PAC money, banning dark money, overturning Citizens United and banning members of Congress from becoming lobbyists.

Are you planning on supporting any legislation to minimize college debt? 

Yes, I believe every Iowan should have the opportunity to get the education and skills they need to get a good job and follow their dreams. But right now, nearly 70 percent of college seniors are graduating with debt. When I went to Iowa Lakes Community College, I got a job at Pizza Hut and made enough money to pay tuition, buy my books and even get a beer on Friday night. That’s not possible anymore, and we need to change that. 

I support making community college debt-free, expanding Pell Grants and working with unions and technical colleges to expand apprenticeships and skills training programs so folks can earn while they learn. We should also offer student loan relief to farmers by implementing forgiveness programs specifically designed for students studying agriculture.

What are your plans to help rural Iowa farmers that have been struggling due to COVID-19 and bankruptcy? 

I grew up rural, and I’m a product of the farm crisis. When the farm crisis hit, farm families like mine were in ruin. Now, Iowa’s farm economy and biofuels industry are hurting again. Even before this pandemic, farm bankruptcies are at an eight-year high, and net farm income is down 75 percent since 2013. 

My plan focuses on ensuring that Iowa farmers have a fair shot to compete around the globe, protecting markets for farmers and creating good-paying jobs by investing in and growing Iowa’s biofuels industry. 

I’m also focused on expanding rural opportunity by creating good-paying jobs across Iowa. To do this, we need to make it easier for small businesses to get access to capital, boost apprenticeships and skills-training programs to set folks on the path to good-paying jobs. We should invest in a robust infrastructure plan to rebuild our crumbling bridges and expand high-speed rural broadband.

What else would you like to accomplish in the Senate? 

Health care is always the number one issue I hear about when talking with Iowans. Our families are worried about higher costs, losing their coverage, keeping rural hospitals open and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

In Washington, I’ll work with anyone to make sure we all have access to the care we need. I’ll fight to protect our Medicaid expansion, create a public health insurance option that folks can buy into, cap drug costs and allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies to bring down costs. And I will always protect our earned benefits like Medicare. All Iowans should have access to quality health care, no matter where they live or how much money they make.

 For more information on Greenfield and her campaign, visit