Dahl makes second run for Congress


Paul Dahl announced he is running for Congress for Iowa’s fourth district against Republican Steve King.

Nik Heftman

Democrat Paul Dahl has worked as a transit bus driver for Hamilton County since 2013. Dahl announced Aug. 21 that he would be switching gears to a third run for public office in the 2018 congressional race for Iowa’s fourth district.

Dahl, 53, is the third democratic candidate to announce a campaign against eight-term U.S. Representative Steve King. 

“King is fostering division,” Dahl said. “We need to unify where we can, even when there are differences.”

Dahl boasts master’s degrees in parish ministry and library and information. He’s worked as a library director, librarian and United Methodist minister. He taught at Iowa Central Community College for a semester in 2012. 

Dahl ran for Congress once before in 1994. He was defeated by Sheila McGuire. He also ran for governor in 2014, but dropped out of the race because his opponent, Jack Hatch, refused to debate. 

According to his campaign website, Dahl has challenged opponents Leann Jacobsen, a businesswoman and city councilwoman from Spencer, and J.D. Scholten, a paralegal and former professional baseball player from Sioux City, to 12 public debates. 

Dahl said that he will also challenge King to seven debates.  

“I can hit King from different angles that the other candidates can’t,” Dahl said. “He’ll look bad if he doesn’t show up.” 

Dahl’s campaign centers around restoring the vitality of the middle class. His strategy for doing that includes raising the minimum wage to $15. To achieve that, Dahl said that corporate income tax would need to be abolished. He would also reform the federal tax code to make it shorter and less dense, as he feels its density opens the doors for corporate tax loop-holes. 

“In the 1950s, people with high incomes paid 90 percent in taxes with no complaint. We did well in the 50s. Now we think 35 percent is too much for the wealthy,” Dahl said. 

In regard to education costs, Dahl said that universities are potentially paying their employees “more than they should.” He referenced University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz’s $4 million salary as an example. 

“We need to have (college) faculty focus on education and not research,” Dahl said. “I think some of them focus on research so much that they don’t do the teaching. Research is important, but we need to look at what the focus should be.” 

In July, King proposed allocating billions from Planned Parenthood and federal foods stamps to pay for President Trump’s proposed border wall.

Four Iowa Planned Parenthood facilities closed in June as a result of legislation passed last session that stopped family planning funds from going to clinics that provide abortion. 

“Planned Parenthood is needed for family planning and reproductive issues,” Dahl said. “We could potentially have more abortions now because Planned Parenthood is not there to provide family planning services.”

Dahl did not want to dub himself pro-choice, though he said that “women should have more of a say in what they decide to do,” which included abortions. 

Dahl added that health care in the United States should be non-profit. He said the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a good start. If elected, he would work to improve the ACA with Medicare for all being the goal. 

He went on to criticize the Trump administration’s proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico, calling it a “waste of money.” 

“In the book of Matthew, it says love God and your neighbor as you love yourself,” Dahl said. “I’m going to nail him on that because he is very judgmental about some of his neighbors.”

Though he dubbed King’s rhetoric judgmental, Dahl said he would not call King a racist. 

“All of us, at some point, are racist,” Dahl said. “Everybody is. King seems to believe the Caucasian race is the only one that created civilization. His view is full of bunk if you look at it historically.”

Dahl plans on spending the month of September fundraising for his campaign. He will not accept donations from businesses, unions or political action organizations. 

Look for future coverage of other candidates running for congress in Iowa’s 4th district.