Our Congressional Race
With the election just a few days away, I’m sure y’all have pretty much made up your minds about the presidential race, but I’d really like you to take a peek at our congressional race here in the Fifth District. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to Rob Hubler’s campaign against incumbent Steve King (R), and the differences between the two of them are stark.
Rob Hubler joined the United States Navy in 1962, a year after graduating from high school in Council Bluffs. He graduated from both the Nuclear Power School and New London Submarine School while in the Navy and worked as a Nuclear Plant Operator. He received the Good Conduct Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal before receiving an honorable discharge in 1969.
A civilian again, Mr. Hubler returned to Iowa and enrolled at Parsons College in Fairfield. He was editor of the student newspaper and graduated with honors in 1971. That same year the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce named him their Man of the Year.
Throughout the 70s and 80s Mr. Hubler worked for various political campaigns, learning the ins and outs of the political process.
In 1989 he followed his father’s footsteps into the ministry by enrolling at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. After graduation he was minister of congregations in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and California.
In 2000 Mr. Hubler retired from the ministry to care for his ailing father in California. He was also a caregiver for an aunt in a nearby town who was suffering from leukemia. At that time Mr. Hubler was an instructor for severely disabled children at the Training Education and Research Institute. After his father and aunt passed away Mr. Hubler continued to teach at the Institute for several years before returning home to Iowa in 2006. He challenges incumbent Steve King.
Congressman Steve King attended college in Missouri, dropping out in 1970. In 1975 he founded King Construction, an earthmoving company. In 1996 he was elected to the state legislature and served one term as a state senator.
In 2002 Iowa went through a redistricting, which led to a four-way race in the Republican primaries for the United States House of Representatives for this district. Mr. King won with 30% of the vote, well under the 35% needed by Iowa law to continue his race. A nominating convention was convened. Mr. King won on the fourth ballot.
In the six years Mr. King has represented economically depressed western Iowa, he has only gotten one resolution passed, recognizing that Christmas is an important holiday for Christians. That’s all.
In the last six years Congressman King has voted to increase his own pay six times. He now earns nearly $170,000, almost $15,000 more than he did when taking office. According to Simply Hired, that puts Mr. King in the top 1% of the rich in his hometown of Storm Lake, IA, where the average male earns $27,321 working full-time and the average female earns $20,869.
Mr. Hubler, conversely, has vowed never to vote for a pay increase for himself if elected, and if given a pay raise he promised to give the money to charity.
Congressman King has had numerous opportunities to show his support for the troops, and has largely failed. He voted against expanding the military’s TRICARE program to Reservists and Guardsmen, thus denying tens of thousands of our troops insurance, while also voting to give United States President George Walker Bush enhanced rights to send yet more troops to Iraq. Mr. King also voted against giving a $1,500 bonus to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He did vote for the New GI Bill — after voting against it twice previously.
Mr. King also stated recently that foreign-born spouses of military personnel should be denied U.S. citizenship should the soldier die. “A soldier, man or woman, could get drunk in Bangkok, wake up in the morning and be married, as will happen sometimes in places like Las Vegas or Bangkok, be killed the next day, and the spouse who was a product of the evening’s celebration would have then a right to claim access to come to the United States on a green card.” This prompted a former president of the Reserve Officers Association of Iowa to say: “What a cheap, venal thing to do — to paint the widow or widower of a military service member as a slut from the street. But that is beside the point. This is a man [Steve King] with very little honor. He wraps himself in the flag at every opportunity, and yet has chosen to malign the loved ones of deceased service members. Steve – why don’t you just make these widows and widowers give back the flag that was draped on the coffin while you are at it? That would be another one for you to wrap yourself in.”
Another example of Mr. King’s failure to support the troops happened right here in Iowa. A bipartisan group of Iowa lawmakers drafted a letter saying that the National Guard should be represented on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thus ensuring that our Guardsmen and women would have a voice on the national level. Mr. King was the only lawmaker that failed to sign the letter.
It seems to me that Mr. King might have a yellow ribbon on his SUV, but his votes and statements prove that he has little respect for our men and women who have given so much to our country.
Mr. Hubler, on the other hand, spent seven years in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and understands the sacrifices our servicemen and women have made. He has repeatedly stated that he would support measures to help our soldiers and veterans get the assistance they need.
In 2007 Senator Chuck Grassley (R) of Iowa put together a bipartisan effort to increase the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by 25,000 children. Congressman Steve King was the only member of the delegation to vote against the bill — thus denying 9,000 children here in the Fifth District health insurance. His rationale? According to the Dubuque Herald:
‘”Any bill that allows American taxpayers to pay for services to illegal aliens has to be stopped,’ King proclaimed. Apparently, King’s concern is that checking a recipient’s Social Security number is part of the process for them being accepted into the program. And since undocumented workers might have phony numbers, he contends SCHIP is designed to provide services for illegal aliens. Never mind that Americans routinely use Social Security numbers to identify themselves.”
In other words, Mr. King would deny health care to 9,000 children in his own district on the fear that ONE child of an illegal immigrant might benefit.
Mr. Hubler, disagreeing with Mr. King’s vote, sent a letter to Mr. King inviting him to debate on the subject. Mr. King declined to debate.
I watched Mr. King speak at a rally this fall. I noticed that he only answered questions from people who were holding identical-looking pieces of paper. It turned out that Mr. King and his staff had given prepared questions to a few people in the audience — questions Mr. King had answers to. If a person didn’t have a piece of paper, Mr. King didn’t call on them, as that person might ask a question he couldn’t handle.
That same day I saw Mr. Hubler spend half an hour talking to a small group of students on the sidewalk, explaining the issues, taking care to explain his position, answering questions — even though the students were too young to vote. He then spoke with a group of people having a picnic. It was obvious that unlike Mr King, Mr. Hubler had nothing to hide; he answered every question asked that day openly and honestly.
Mr. Hubler as repeatedly asked Mr. King to debate him on the issues. Mr. King has denied every request, refusing to engage in an open debate with his opponent. This has led to occasional sightings of people dressed in chicken suits holding signs saying “Real Men Debate,” and causes a lot of people to wonder just what Mr. King is hiding.
An Open-Ended Conclusion
I could go on for quite a while on the issues, but I’ll simply say that Mr. King does NOT reflect my value system when he votes against sending aid to victims of the Katrina disaster, or when he votes against funding levees in here in Iowa that could have prevented the flood damage that happened earlier this year. When Mr. King votes to give big oil companies tax breaks while they make record profits it breaks my heart a little — especially as some parts of the 5th District have 20% of the population living under the poverty line. When I hear that we’re paying over $1,200 a month to lease a brand-new SUV for Mr. King to drive, it upsets me.
In his six years in Congress, Mr. King has accomplished very little — and absolutely nothing that affects or benefits me, my family, or my friends here in Sioux City.
Mr. Hubler is a college educated veteran, an ordained minister, and worked with severely disabled children. Mr. King pushed dirt around with a bulldozer.
Mr. Hubler has vowed to refuse any pay raises, while Mr. King has voted six times in six years to increase his own pay.
Mr. Hubler is a veteran who has promised to support veterans’ rights. Mr. King has repeatedly voted against supporting our troops.
Mr. Hubler supports expanding health care for children, while Mr. King actually voted against helping children.
I’m asking you to please consider taking a close look at Mr. King, and consider a vote for Mr. Rob Hubler on Tuesday. Please.