Editorial: The Daily Iowan and Iowa State Daily endorse Fred Hubbell for Iowa governor

Together, The Daily Iowan and Iowa State Daily Editorial Boards endorse Democrat Fred Hubbell, a candidate who has made higher education a priority on the campaign trail, for Iowa governor.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell speaks at a campaign event at the Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City on June 3.

Whichever candidate is selected to serve as Iowa’s next governor will face a unique set of challenges: a newly privatized Medicaid system, an imminent international trade war that has proven detrimental to Iowa farmers, and chronic disinvestment in higher education. Despite these challenges, Iowa’s economy is booming, the unemployment rate is down at just 2.5 percent, and Iowa is expected to have a $127 million budget surplus.

After Iowa’s public universities, governed by the state Board of Regents, have suffered from millions of dollars in budget cuts — more than $35 million to the three institutions in the last two fiscal years alone — The Daily Iowan and the Iowa State Daily Editorial Boards believe it is imperative to keep the candidates’ stances on higher education in mind at the polls on Election Day. Our next governor must prioritize investment in our state’s future by creating a substantive plan to increase to funding for public education in Iowa.

This is why our Editorial Boards endorse Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell for Iowa governor.

The boards considered Kim Reynolds, the Republican incumbent, who has had an opportunity, albeit short, to govern Iowa. The result of her time in office: The state of Iowa has a budget surplus, but the cost of Medicaid has increased, thousands of Iowans have been denied medical coverage, and a trend of higher-education disinvestment has continued. We also weighed Libertarian candidate Jake Porter’s experience in the business realm and his goals to “cut government waste,” prioritize criminal-justice reform, and modernize Iowa’s education system through using technology as a tool to reduce costs. All three candidates have experience, but Hubbell is best for Iowa.

Hubbell has extensive management experience and runs on a platform that plans to reinvest in higher education. He told the Editorial Boards, “I think our state needs to do everything it can to get more of our Iowa young people to get not just a four-year degree but also, as an alternative pathway, get access to good job training to learn a skill or a trade.”

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He plans to work with legislators to change tax giveaways to large corporations and manage state finances to leave more room to fund priorities such as education. Additionally, he has voiced an interest in creating a program to keep skilled workers in the state by rewarding students who finish two- or four-year schools and want to work in rural Iowa. Finally, Hubbell said he and his running mate — state Sen. Rita Hart, who has a record of supporting higher education when voting under the golden dome in Des Moines — would “love to be able to work with the students on the campus[es] today and in the future to help grow our state and make our state a better place with better quality education for everybody.”

RELATED: Meet Gov. Reynolds through a student lens

Understandably, the state sometimes has to make tough decisions to make ends meet when revenue falls short of what was projected in making the budget. And cuts to higher-education funding aren’t unique to a Republican administration. Former Democratic Gov. Chet Culver ordered 10 percent across-the-board budget cuts to state services in 2009 on top of 1.5 percent across-the-board funding cuts in 2008. But regardless of who has slashed funding for higher education in the past, the alarming trend of disinvestment must come to an end to preserve the promise Iowa’s future holds and retain its current economic strength. Those who graduate from Iowa’s state schools can no longer afford to shoulder the burden of funding Iowa’s universities as the state fails to contribute its fair share of funding; we cannot take on more student-loan debt to compensate for consistent tuition hikes.

RELATED: Meet Fred Hubbell through a student lens

We urge voters to elect Hubbell as Iowa’s next governor Nov. 6 to secure these universities’ statuses as places for Iowans and those outside the state’s border to come and receive a world-class education.”

To gain further insight into Reynolds’ plan for prioritizing higher education if elected for a full term, we reached out to her campaign on numerous occasions. The other two candidates made time to speak with our Editorial Boards, but her campaign failed to schedule an endorsement interview and follow through with it. In fact, Reynolds has also failed to meet with the editorial boards of any of Iowa’s most circulated newspapers, including the Des Moines Register and the Cedar Rapids Gazette, which she outright declined to meet with. The only judgment calls the DI and Iowa State Daily Editorial Boards could make were based on how Reynolds has acted on higher education in the past. The pattern of budget cuts speaks volumes about where her priorities stand.

RELATED: Where Iowa gubernatorial candidates stand on education, health care, and more

Reynolds has laid a solid foundation with the Future Ready Iowa Act for rallying people on both sides of the aisle around expanding job-training options beyond high school. However, we trust that a Hubbell-Hart pair leading Iowa’s executive branch would be more committed to expanding on this initiative, which Reynolds has championed with bipartisan support, while doing more to prioritize public higher education.

Attending one of Iowa’s three public universities should remain a viable and accessible option for those who feel it is the best path toward achieving their future goals. We urge voters to elect Hubbell as Iowa’s next governor Nov. 6 to secure these universities’ statuses as places for Iowans and those outside the state’s border to come and receive a world-class education. If elected, we hope to see Hubbell work with constituents and legislators — no matter their party identification — to continue making Iowa’s higher-education institutions a destination for groundbreaking research, education, and discovery.

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