Whatever happens in November, Iowa’s First Congressional District will continue to be represented by a strong, articulate woman who knows the issues and cares about Iowans.
Both Democratic U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer and her Republican challenger, Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson, are highly competent and genuine in their desire to serve. Choosing between two strong options is the best-case scenario for voters.
In the eyes of the TH Editorial Board, Finkenauer has proven herself in her first term, serving the district well. She deserves to be returned to her seat for a second term.
Finkenauer came to Congress in the midst of a government shutdown. Washington wasn’t working, and Finkenauer was in a class of freshmen lawmakers determined to be part of the change.
While she sometimes gets painted with the same brush as the liberal “Squad” of female legislators who came into office with her in 2018, Finkenauer’s record is that of an Iowa Democrat, not an extremist. She’s not a member of any ideological caucus. In her first two weeks on the job, she passed a bipartisan bill helping create opportunities in rural areas related to government contracts. That became part of a larger package, and today, it’s law.
On health care, Finkenauer supports a public option but not Medicare for all. She wants to see the U.S. back in the Paris Climate Agreement but doesn’t support the Green New Deal.
Finkenauer’s ideals aren’t radical; they’re old-school Democratic.
Finkenauer speaks with passion on the topics of how the trade wars have impacted farmers and the need for infrastructure in the state — two areas that illustrate how her compass always points to Iowa.
She sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and as vice chairwoman of the Highway and Transit Subcommittee, she got the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to come to Iowa to show him some of the issues that Iowans are dealing with. As the state with the most structurally deficient bridges in the country, Iowa desperately needs a plan for infrastructure. Finkenauer worked on four bipartisan bills related to infrastructure, some of which became amendments to the larger infrastructure bill that passed in the House of Representatives and awaits action in the Senate.
Finkenauer sees infrastructure as a key to getting the country back on track after the pandemic. The House bill, Finkenauer believes, could be put into action quickly, which would create jobs and stimulate the economy in addition to making badly needed infrastructure repairs. That’s an appealing prospect. Investment in infrastructure is a vital investment for rural America.
One of three bills that Finkenauer got passed in September was the bipartisan Ensuring Children and Child Care Workers Are Safe Act to help child care providers through the COVID-19 pandemic by requiring the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide educational materials and technical assistance to states. The measure garnered 160 votes from Republicans.
Prior to the pandemic, Finkenauer joined her two Democratic colleagues from Iowa for a monthly breakfast with U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to discuss legislation to help Iowans. Often, the bills she sponsors in the House have companion measures in the Senate written by Grassley or Ernst.
Her actions show Finkenauer is focused on working for Iowa.
For Hinson’s part, she, too, has served Iowa well in her role as a state lawmaker for two terms and has reached across the aisle to work on bipartisan legislation. In her home county of Linn County, most of the representatives are Democrats, and she’s worked well with that delegation. She chaired the Transportation Committee, where 25 of 26 bills passed out of it were bipartisan.
A broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, Hinson is used to seeking out sources to better understand issues. She applies a similar approach as a representative, seeking out input from a constituency advisory commission that includes teachers, farmers, health care providers, businesspeople and others. It’s an effort she pledges to continue, should she be elected to Congress.
While Hinson is a solid candidate, Finkenauer has made as much of an impact as a first-term lawmaker can, and we’re excited to see what she can do as she gains experience and tenure.