Nate Boulton, Iowa gubernatorial candidate, holds meet and greet in Ames


Devyn Leeson/ Iowa State Daily

Nate Boulton talks to a crowd of Ames voters at a meet and greet.

Devyn Leeson

Nate Boulton, one of six democratic gubernatorial candidates for governor and current state Senator from district 16, held a meet and greet in Ames to promote his candidacy.

Boulton, now on his fifth campaign stop in Ames, was accompanied by his colleague in the Senate, Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames.

As a labor rights attorney and someone who grew up in a working class, union family, Boulton was praised by Quirmbach as someone who fights for working Iowans.

“I am proud of Nate,” Quirmbach said in reference to his Boulton’s time in the Senate fighting for union rights. “Look to when Nate fought for 40 hours against the collective bargaining bill. If you want to know someone’s character, if they are going to stand up for you, for your right as firefighters; as teachers; as public workers, to have a seat at the bargaining table: his work told me exactly who he was.”

Along with his focus on working Iowans, Boulton outlined his plan for Iowa compared to Kim Reynolds, the current governor of Iowa.

This plan included strengthening unions, increasing the quality of education, ensuring mental health care and improving labor conditions.

“Reynolds didn’t increase Iowa wages by 25 percent like she and Branstad promised,” Boulton said. “They had complete control of government and with it, they actually reduced the wages for working Iowans.”

Boulton used this point to pivot to his strategy to beat reynolds if he were to win the June 5 primary.

“We don’t win just by talking about the bad things [Republicans] did,” Boulton said. “We win by talking about what we could do with the same opportunity. This is a fight for the soul of our state and this next election will have long-term consequences.”

Ending privatized Medicaid, improving mental health care, prioritizing education funding, investing in a renewable energy based economy and adding value to crops exports were what Boulton said he would do differently if he had the same opportunity as Governor Reynolds.

One crowd member asked Boulton how he would have made the recent tax overhaul different in the state.

“The tax cut blew a $1 billion hole in next year’s budget,” Boulton said. “That is unsustainable.”

Boulton’s fiscal plan would focus more on addressing corporate tax credits and giveaways, he said.

More specifically, Boulton criticized a deal made with Apple he said will cost the state $20 million to build a data center when he says they would built the center regardless.

Another thing Boulton said he would do is have what he described as a fairer tax plan.

“Half of the recent tax cuts go to the 2.5 percent wealthiest in the state,” Boulton said. “That is irresponsible.”

When asked if he would consider raising taxes, Boulton said the state was in a position where they could fund all of the programs they need by reducing tax credits to wealthy corporations.

According to a recent Des Moines Register poll, Boulton is currently 11 percentage points behind the front runner of the Democratic primary, Fred Hubbell.

Boulton says he is confident he can still win the primary, which is 14 days away.

“We feel great about our chances,” Boulton said. “With one more debate and that poll saying 74 percent of voters could still change their minds we believe we are in a strong position.”

Boulton went on to say he is different than the other candidates because he has legislative experience and is a “new leader” he believes the voters are looking for.

Both Quirmbach and Boulton told the crowd to vote early but be aware of the new voter ID laws and the new law ending straight party voting, an option allowing someone to check one box to vote for all candidates of a specific party.

Their solution to this was to “vote down the ballot” or go through all of the boxes and take the time to vote in all races.