Ottumwa Courier: Axne Touts Accomplishments Ahead of Midterms
September 9, 2022
OTTUMWA — Hands shot up across the room when Cindy Axne asked how many people were on Medicare. A “boo” sifted when the discussion turned into the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade.
In a sense, Axne had a lot on her mind, and a lot to discuss with 61 days until Election Day.
The Democratic candidate for The U.S. House to represent Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District spoke to a group of about 25 people at Coal Palace Cafe and Books Thursday about the things her party has accomplished this summer as it seeks momentum heading into November’s midterm elections.
Axne, seeking a third term in Congress, will face Republican Zach Nunn for a House seat that both parties and campaigns have targeted. The district stretches from southwest Iowa to Wapello, Davis, Appanoose and Monroe counties, but includes several central Iowa counties as well. The two candidates are set for a debate Oct. 6.
“We’ve been working on a lot of incredible bills. For far too long, states like Iowa have been overlooked,” she said. “Oftentimes folks forget that the Midwest truly keeps this country humming along. What I want you guys to know is with me as your representative, you’re going to see that investment in your community.”
Axne touted that she was the only member of the state’s congressional delegation to vote for the Inflation Reduction Act, which will cap insulin costs at $35 and allows Medicare to negotiate drug costs for seniors. The act also gives funding to modernize the Internal Revenue Service for better enforcement and operations support, and contains significant climate provisions that are popular with the younger part of the electorate, Axne said.
“Young people know how important this is for their future, and many of us have wanted to act on that. We’ve worked on bills, but nothing of this magnitude,” she said. “We’re investing in climate in a way that’s smart. It’s creating jobs, it’s building more energy here. It supports our own national security.
Axne cast a vote for the CHIPS Act, which will build semiconductors for vehicles in the U.S., creating jobs and reversing the adage that “all we heard for decades was jobs being offshored,” she said.
“We’re recycling jobs in this country, and we’re going to bring these jobs back here,” she said. “The wealth needs to be shared throughout this country. These are the jobs that will allow that to happen because they’re good-paying and provide good benefits.”
Axne also was dismayed by some Republican stances, particularly Nunn’s, about eliminating a woman’s right to choose with the overturning of Roe vs. Wade. Nunn, who originally said during a primary debate that he was pro-life with no exceptions, recently wrote an op-ed in the Des Moines Register that exceptions for rape and incest should be carved out.
“I think folks are coming to the realization that the Republican Party will take away rights, they will absolutely take away rights,” Axne said. “My opponent said I don’t support police. Are you kidding me? I’m the co-lead on multiple bills, including my Invest to Protect Act, while he wrote a bill to literally fine Iowa police officers for enforcing federal gun laws.
“It’s really about control. They’re trying to control Americans in so many ways,” she said. “The Democrats are the party of freedom, of working-class Americans who believe in freedoms for their family. I think what Americans are seeing is that they were sold a bill of goods by Republicans, and that now that the rubber hits the road and the realities are there, they’re real scared about what’s coming down the pipe.”
Axne also explained how she works in a bipartisan way, and acknowledged that is not easy in either a closely-divided House.
“Every single one of my bills that I bring is bipartisan, and that’s why I get more done. I mean, I have to have Republicans vote for my bill, or it doesn’t make it into legislation for the most part,” she said. “There are a lot who want to do that, but we’re struggling. I do believe there are good people on both sides of the ail, and if we continue to elect champions for the people we serve, we’ll get there.”
The congresswoman has been a big supporter of rural broadband, and said the funding is starting to get allocated to states. Wapello County is about halfway done with a major project to provide broadband to residents, but Axne said the state is receiving $5 billion for broadband from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“That’s a lot of money for Iowa,” said Axne, who was joined by Sen. Chuck Grassley as the only members of the state’s congressional delegation to vote for the law. “Every state will get $100 million to start with, and then more on top of that depending on the district and who is underserved. The bidding process and some of the finer details are being fine-tuned.”
Axne narrowly won her first two races for congress, and believes Wapello County holds the key to whether she gets a third term.
“We’ve got shovels in the ground on pieces that are happening around Ottumwa and in the county. I’m always going to vote for you, and I’m always going to work for you,” she said. “People don’t know how much their vote really matters, but if you help people in your community, your community will do better.
“That’s the kind of representation you guys deserve,” she said. “I don’t care what letter is behind anybody’s name because I want to work for all of you and because I love working for Iowa.”