Meet the candidates: Fred Hubbell runs for governor


Taylor Hagie/Iowa State Daily

Fred Hubbell, 2018 Democratic candidate for Governor of Iowa, speaks with a supporter in the free speech zone on Oct. 23. Hubbell supports labor unions and hardworking men and women in the labor union, lowering tuition, weeding out tax credits, exemption, and deductions where costs to the state outweigh benefits and much more.

Talon Delaney

Democratic challenger for governor, Fred Hubbell, is in a tight race with Republican Governor Kim Reynolds. If elected, he’d be the first Democratic Iowa Governor since 2011.

Hubbell has been vocal on the campaign trail about his commitments to higher education funding, renewable energy and returning Medicaid control to the state.

Hubbell gained Iowa fame as a successful businessman throughout the decades, including serving as a chairman for Younkers during the 1980s. He also served in the public sector with the Iowa Power Fund, where he helped lead Iowa towards investments in renewable energy.

More money for Iowa’s universities

Despite his history in business, Hubbell voiced his willingness to tax corporations in order to fund higher education.

“We need to stop wasteful tax giveaways and put that money into education,” Hubbell said. “[K-12] classes are getting bigger and different programs are getting squeezed. We need to invest in K-12 again.”

He criticized Reynolds along the campaign trail for her “fiscal irresponsibilities” concerning public education funding. He blamed her budget planning for university tuition increases, the likes of which have been seen at Iowa State. Hubbell promised that higher education funding would not come at the expense of middle class taxpayers.

“We won’t need to raise taxes much if we stop these wasteful giveaways,” he said. “And if we do giveaways, it’s going to be for the Iowa middle class.”

However, this doesn’t mean tuition would stop increasing. David Andersen, assistant professor of political science, said public education has been underfunded for so long that a decrease in tuition rates under Hubbell’s policies would be unlikely.

“At best we’d see tuition rates freeze,” Andersen said. “We’ve been underfunded all 6 years I’ve been here. It would be a step in the right direction, but I don’t see tuition costs ever going down.”

Andersen also weighed the positives and negatives of giving businesses higher taxes.

“The benefit would be more money to invest in higher education,” Andersen said. “But you also make it harder for businesses to turn a profit.”

Andersen also pointed out there could be social backlash from Hubbell’s constituents if he raised taxes for any demographic, even for the extremely rich.

“What we’ve seen in the past 40 years is anytime taxes are raised people feel like their taxes were raised, even when they weren’t,” Andersen said. “Historically, when someone raises taxes the voters punish them in the next election.”

Committing to renewable energy

Hubbell also wants to expand Iowa’s renewable energy economy. He’s blamed actions taken by Reynolds, like Senate File 2311, which he said diminishes business incentive to invest in green energy.

“Earlier this year the Governor signed a bill that takes away incentives to invest in renewable energy,” Hubbell said. “The more solar power we use means less coal and natural gas being burned.”

Hubbell also wants to move towards renewable energy for the sake of job creation.

“In 2009 there were around 1,500 jobs in wind energy,” Hubbell said. “Now there’s more than 9,000 jobs. We currently have around 1,200 jobs in solar and I think we can get that number around 3,000 or 4,000.”

Controlling Medicaid and the budget

Hubbell has been vocal about his commitment to reverse the privatization of Medicaid, and has been critical about Reynolds initiatives to take Medicaid control away from the state.

“The Medicaid costs are rising faster than they were before because of privatized medicaid,” Hubbell said. “[Reynolds] says it is working fine, it is not. It is getting worse and we need to do something much different.”

Hubbell said his history in the private sector give him the credentials needed to balance the state’s budget. He’s often criticized the $127 million dollar budget, and said it came as a result of slashes to public education.

“I’ve been managing and balancing complicated budgets for 30 years,” Hubbell said.

He also said Reynolds can’t account for where the surplus came from.

“That is not fiscal responsibility,” Hubbell said. “People need predictability and good fiscal management. Every time we look at the numbers they are different.”

Proper funding for mental health

Hubbell said he doesn’t think Reynolds effectively dealt with Iowans suffering from mental illness, and said one of his first efforts would be passing legislation to deal with this issue. He said that Reynolds efforts been nothing more than “nice words.”

“The governor’s bill has a lot of nice words in it, that’s why a lot of people voted for it,” Hubbell said. “But there is no funding, no action: nothing has changed.”

Hubbell thinks it’s important to make legislative change that Iowans can afford. He said local governments don’t have the funding to help these people. As governor, he said he’d make sure the state provided local governments with the necessary funding.