Leann Jacobsen focuses on small town Iowa in campaign

Chris Anderson

In a quickly changing world, many in rural America are feeling left behind and are facing hardships in today’s political and economic reality.

Leann Jacobsen is running for Congress in Iowa’s 4th District, hoping to stand up for Iowa’s struggling rural communities and to help revitalize them.

Jacobsen decided to run out of a deep appreciation and love for small town Iowa. After moving to Spencer eight years ago, Jacobsen said she fell in love with the scenery and the people.

“I love small town life and the absolute beauty of the area,” Jacobsen said.

However, Jacobsen saw another side of rural Iowa. What she saw was struggling families, closing businesses and young people moving away in search of better opportunities.

It was issues like these that led her to run for Spencer City Council, later winning on a platform of revitalizing the small town. This same message of helping out these often overlooked communities is what is driving Jacobsen to run for Congress.

As a Democrat, Jacobsen is fighting an uphill battle. Iowa’s 4th District is heavily Republican and the current incumbent, Rep. Steve King, has been in office since being elected in 2002.

Jacobsen will also have to compete against her Democratic primary challengers, JD Scholten and Paul Dahl.

Regardless, Jacobsen is going forward with her bipartisan message of “politics over people.” What she means by this is setting aside partisan politics and focusing on giving the people of Iowa what they need.

“If there’s a good idea, I don’t think it matters whose idea it is,” Jacobsen said.

When it comes to her Republican opponent, she feels this area is exactly where King falls short.

“I’m not concerned with Steve King. I think he is an embarrassment and is not focused on what concerns people of this district,” Jacobsen said. “After 15 years of Steve King not doing anything I think people are ready to show him the way out.”

What Jacobsen sees herself bringing to the table is a mixture of experience, results, and common sense that makes her someone Iowans can trust.

Jacobsen is an Iowa businesswoman who has held many positions including serving on the Spencer Hospital Board and as president of the Technology Association of Iowa.

When it comes to revitalizing rural Iowa, Jacobsen said the way forward is attracting new businesses and keeping current ones to provide good paying jobs and opportunities to Iowans.

As a businesswoman herself, she feels government should be doing more to ensure quality of life for the nation’s workforce in order to provide a well-educated, healthy labor force.

One way Jacobsen would like to see this done is by improving healthcare in the U.S. She would like to see a system where healthcare is treated as a right and not a privilege for those who can afford it. She also feels that completely scrapping the ACA, or Obamacare, is not a good way forward.

“There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this and I respectfully disagree with the way republicans have been trying to change this law,” Jacobsen said.

Admitting she is not an expert, Jacobsen feels that healthcare providers should be brought into the conversation more.

“I’m not sure what the answer is, but any idea that gets 100 percent of Americans healthcare coverage, no matter where they live, needs real consideration,” Jacobsen said.

Another important part of her platform is ensuring the education of Iowa’s workforce. She would like to see public schools granted better protections and invested in more heavily.

When it comes to higher education, Jacobsen admits something must be done about rising tuition costs.

She shared that she would support programs that allow recently graduated students to work off their college debt, similar to programs where federal employees are forgiven of student loans.

Jacobsen also feels that a community and a nation is stronger as a whole when it’s people are educated.

“Those people who want to learn and want to have an education, let’s help them be successful,” Jacobsen said.

One other line Jacobsen draws between herself and Steve King is her support of Iowa’s immigrants. She expressed that she felt sadness when hearing of President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA.

“I think we absolutely have to find a path to citizenship for young people,” Jacobsen said.

Despite stark ideological differences that exist between herself and Steve King, or most people of differing party affiliation, Jacobsen feels there are many priorities Iowans share.

She shared that she is looking forward to finding these priorities and looking for solutions to revitalize struggling small-town Iowa.