A Des Moines businessman and community activist says lessons learned from two previous election campaigns can help him unseat U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

Eddie Mauro, 56, met with the Telegraph Herald last week. The CEO of Des Moines-based insurance company UIG and founding member of A Mid Iowa Organizing Strategy twice ran unsuccessfully for office — an Iowa House seat bid in 2016 and the 2018 race for the Third Congressional District seat, an election ultimately won by U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, a fellow Democrat.

“I learned a lot,” Mauro said of his unsuccessful election bids. “People liked my message, but I was the last one in (the race) out of the seven candidates. I thought I was still in plenty early, but I had plenty of people who came up and said, ‘Gosh, you’re pretty good, but you’re too late. I wish I would have seen you earlier.’”

Mauro said he also learned that although raising money in the traditional campaign style was important, he didn’t play enough to his perceived strengths as a candidate.

“We learned that I’m very good out on the street,” he said. “I’m very good meeting with people one-on-one, in small groups, in large groups, interacting. We didn’t do enough of that last time.”

Mauro said he has visited more than 40 of Iowa’s 99 counties during this campaign and has been listening to residents.

“With some people it’s health care,” he said. “For others, it’s education. For some, it’s student loan debt. For some, it’s a son or daughter who is struggling from a mental illness.”

Mauro said he will focus on health care, economic anxiety and supporting the renewable fuel standard while diversifying Iowa’s agricultural economy as he campaigns to unseat Ernst, who is wrapping up her first term in office.

WOMEN’S AG GROUP HONORS BUSTOS

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., received the Champion of Agriculture Award from the American Agri-Women organization this week.

The group recognized Bustos’ work to promote farm exports, according to a release.

“Congresswoman Bustos is a strong advocate for rural communities in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District and always fights for our farmers,” Ardath DeWall, the Shannon, Ill., dairy farmer who presented Bustos the award, said in the release. “In Congress, she’s been a tireless champion fighting to expand our markets and grow the agricultural economy.”

Bustos said in the release that she was humbled to accept the award.

“Between the president’s reckless trade policies and the historic flooding across the country, our farmers are hurting right now and need stable leadership from Washington,” she said. “As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I’ll continue to give a voice to the growers and producers in our district as they navigate this tough farm economy.”

ERNST CALLS FOR PINCHING PENNIES

Ernst introduced a bill last week that would allow the U.S. Mint to use cheaper materials in the production of coins.

In a release, Ernst claimed her Currency Evolution Now To Save (CENTS) Act would save more than $150 million over the next 10 years.

“Iowa taxpayers are getting nickeled and dimed by the increasing costs of certain metals for producing coins,” she said. “Right now, it costs hardworking taxpayers 7 cents to make one nickel. Congress can fix this, and they need to.”

While the bill would give the Mint authority to use cheaper materials, it would not change the size or functionality of the coins.

LUNDGREN AND THE PRESIDENT

Iowa Rep. Shannon Lundgren, R-Peosta, was one of the state dignitaries selected to speak at the Iowa GOP’s America First Dinner, which featured an appearance by U.S. President Donald Trump.

There, she highlighted Iowa Republican state lawmakers’ recent tax cuts, anti-abortion initiatives and the state’s low unemployment rate, among other things.

“I love being in my home district, and anyone will tell you that it takes a lot to get me to go back to Des Moines when we are out of session, but last evening I had the rare and honored opportunity to give remarks at the America First Dinner in Des Moines,” Lundgren posted on her official Facebook page. “The most compelling part of the evening was when the president brought Michelle Root on stage. An Angel Mom who lost her daughter Sarah in an accident involving an illegal immigrant. She is a beautiful person who advocates for immigration reform and a friend and supporter of our president.”

DAIRY INNOVATION HUB ADVANCES

The Wisconsin Joint Committee on Finance recommended a bill that could give $1.8 million or more to fund faculty positions, research opportunities and equipment for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

The bill would give a total of $8.8 million to the UW system as a whole, aimed at developing a Dairy Innovation Hub in a state already known as the leader in that industry.

“Wisconsin is already recognized as a dairy superpower, and this is a reinvestment to reprioritize dairy innovation,” said Wayne Weber, UW-P dean of the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture. “This will increase the capacity to help the farmers meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

The bill was co-authored by Wisconsin Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, and Wisconsin Rep. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City. Both area lawmakers took to social media to cheer their bill’s success.

“Family dairy farmers, who have been struggling to stay afloat because of low milk prices and high production costs, need legislation like this in order to succeed long term,” Tranel posted.

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