MASON CITY — Congressman Steve King and his four challengers in the Republican primary for Iowa’s 4th district congressional seat talked about trying to move the country forward from the COVID-19 pandemic during a debate on Thursday night heard on AM-1300 KGLO.
King says President Trump was put in a bad situation in responding to the pandemic. “I do think we’ve gone a little overboard with that. I think we’ve gone past the point of diminishing returns and it’s time to get this country back to work.”
King says the United States needs to hold China and the World Health Organization accountable with a comprehensive review of the origins of coronavirus while gathering testing data in an attempt to reopen the economy. “We need to do more, and one of those things is to gather all the demographic data for everyone who has tested positive so that we can identify you were pre-existing condition the outcomes for each of them so we can go on a database with the query and identify what are risks are to give ourselves the courage to go out into the public again and get this nation rolling again economically.”
State senator Randy Feenstra of Hull praised the job done by President Trump and Governor Reynolds. “It’s such a difficult situation that we’re living through right now, but we have to continue to get on with life. We have to continue to have an economy. We have to continue to have life. It’s our responsibility that we have to make sure we watch for those who are vulnerable and help those out. We have to help our neighbors.”
Feenstra says he doesn’t want healthcare workers to rely on foreign-made personal protective equipment. “I think we have to buy America and build America. PPE should be made in America. We have to embrace America because this is a great place.”
Steve Reeder, a commercial real estate broker from Arnolds Park, says Trump and Reynolds were put between a rock and a hard place, but the COVID-19 curve is flattening and the hospitals aren’t overwhelmed with coronavirus cases. “We know that this virus is more contagious than the flu, but it’s not harming that many more people right now. We just have to protect our elderly and those who have a compromised immune system. It’s now up to people to take personal responsibility and move on with their lives and not live in fear or reliance on government.”
Reeder wants to see businesses and schools move forward to get the economy back on track. He accused Democratic governors of using draconian measures and does not want to see contact tracing of COVID patients. “These liberals are taking advantage of a crisis and those are things I will protect, our U. S. Constitution. I don’t want to see this contact tracing or anything along those lines.”
Former Woodbury County supervisor Jeremy Taylor thanked Trump for ordering meat packing plants to stay open but Congress has stalled in helping out producers. “We are in a real struggle. I just heard yesterday from a producer who said ‘where is Congress right now?’ We need to make sure there’s a sense of urgency. We have producers that are euthanizing their hogs. We have those who need direct help.”
Taylor blasted House Democratic for last week passing a $3 trillion bill that wasn’t all about pandemic relief. “Where is the US House? The US House is under the so-called leadership of Nancy Pelosi, is implementing elements of the New Green Deal that have nothing to do with getting back on their feet. We need to have direct assistance to those so that we have not only our food supply chain but also the long-term health and safety of the American people.”
Former Irwin mayor Bret Richards says there’s always lessons to be learned after situations like pandemics. “We look at the governors around the country. There’s some governors that did a great job, and some governors that did not. That’s the beauty of our system. We have 50 experiments out there to see how we can best address this. Any problem actually, whether it be this our budgets, how does each state do that better.”
Richards says one of the positives of the pandemic was deregulation. “CMS actually came out and they waived a bunch of regulations, especially with telemedicine. A dermatologist told me it works great for them because their patients don’t have to take off time, to get off work to wait in their office. The doctor can get on and say ‘I can see what your problem is….’. One thing that shows is how complicated government makes it, and it doesn’t need to be that way.”
The candidates made their comments in a debate sponsored by KGLO Radio and the Cerro Gordo County Republicans.