Young faces re-election calmly

Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, speaks to The Daily Iowan inside his office at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 12, 2015. (The Daily Iowan/Rebecca Morin)

Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, speaks to The Daily Iowan inside his office at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 12, 2015. (The Daily Iowan/Rebecca Morin)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, is only in his first term as an elected official, but he is no stranger to Washington, which could stand to hurt him in his upcoming re-election attempt.

The Van Meter native has worked on the Hill as chief of staff for former Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning from 1998 to 2006 and then as chief of staff to longtime Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, until his bid for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District seat in 2014.

And in an election in which “outsiders” have gained some traction among voters, some of Young’s rivals see his Beltway experience as a weakness.

“He’s never held a job outside of Congress,” said Andrew Mulvey, campaign manager for Iraq war veteran Jim Mowrer, who is vying for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd District against businessman Desmund Adams and financial professional Mike Sherzan.

Joe Grandanette, a physical-education teacher and coach in the Des Moines School District who will challenge Young in the June 7 primary, says that Young has broken several campaign promises.

“If you followed the campaign the last time, he said he wasn’t going to drink the Potomac Water,” Grandanette said. “He lied to us.”

But while rival candidates like Grandanette and Mowrer work to paint Young as a “professional politician,” some district Republicans think his experience is beneficial.

“He has been involved in Washington a long time, but I think his experience in Washington in this case is a benefit to Iowa,” said Warren County GOP Chairman Rick Halvorsen.

Young declined to comment on his re-election in his Washington, D.C., office, joking that he was on “federal property.”

Regardless of whether or not Young is a Washington insider, his legislative work during his first term has a theme of reigning in government.

One such bill Young is a co-sponsoring is the REINS Act, a bill that requires regulations with an impact of $100 million or more per year on the economy to be approved by Congress. It passed the House in 2015 and has been introduced in the Senate by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Young said this bill was intended to put more lawmaking power back in the hands of Congress.

“The rules and regulations that come out of any given administration, Republican or Democrat, have the same effect as law, really,” Young told The Daily Iowan in a meeting in Washington in mid-March. “But the policy-setting body should be Congress.”

Young considers himself to be a legislator who regularly works across the aisle and “gets along with everybody.”

“We’ve got the same goals — a more peaceful world, safer streets, better opportunity, strong economy — just different ways of getting there sometimes,” Young said.

However, Young’s election opponents have scrutinized his record, calling it a tale of two Youngs.

“David Young campaigned on being a moderate, pragmatic guy, and really, we’ve seen that this is just political speak,” Mulvey said.

Young’s vote for former Speaker of the House John Boehner has also proven ambiguous, even in his own party. The vote caused many Iowa Republicans to questions Young’s ideological orientation.

Grandanette said the reason he is even in the race is Young’s vote for Boehner.

“He’s acted like a conservative, but he’s let us down,” he said.

On the other hand, Young’s pro-Boehner vote made sense to Halverson, who saw the move as a result of the former speaker’s hand in getting Young elected.

“How can you come right out of the gate and vote against the guy that helped fund your election?” Halverson said.

Still, despite the tough election year, Young remains focused on the future for Iowans, naming “fiscal sanity” and bipartisanship as his priorities.

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