Gov. candidate Deidre DeJear speaks on the importance of addressing the needs of all Iowans

Iowa Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear spoke at a town hall hosted by the University Democrats at Iowa.


Gabby Drees

Iowa Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear speaks at a town hall, hosted by the University Democrats at Iowa, at the Iowa Memorial Union on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. DeJear spoke about education and health care access in Iowa, before fielding questions from the public.

Emily Delgado, Politics Reporter

Iowa Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear expressed the importance of health care access and education in Iowa at a University Democrats at Iowa town hall on Monday with 42 days until the midterm election.

“We heard the issue of mental health care,” DeJear said. “We heard the issue of education. Those are the things that people are asking about and worried about.” 

DeJear spoke at a town hall at the Iowa Memorial Union, hosted by the University Democrats, to more than 70 students and Iowa City residents. 

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague, Iowa City City Councilor Shawn Harmsen, and Johnson County Supervisors Royceann Porter and Jon Green showed up in support of DeJear at the town hall.

“Once you hear Deidre DeJear and know she is fully aware of the topics that Iowans care about and she describes how we can get through this together, it’s very easy to be a supporter of her,” Teague said. 

DeJear spoke on the need for more accessible health care and prioritized education in Iowa. 

“So I want to be that governor that funds our education system,” DeJear said. “Not only do I want to fund our education system, I want to help our mental health care system and our health care system.”

When asked a question about the legalization of marijuana in the state of Iowa, DeJear said Iowa can learn from other states to make sure it is implemented safely. 

“It’s a matter of public safety and regulating this the way that we regulate alcohol … we’ve got to be careful and make sure that we’re keeping people safe and so we need to have a more creative policy in the state,” DeJear said. 

The event allowed DeJear to speak to UI students and Iowa City community members. Three members of UI College Republicans were in the audience, including the organization’s president Samuel Hoack, who DeJear greeted and hugged. 

“We kind of want to be a good example of going to the opponents, kind of like territory and being respectful,” Hoack said in an interview with The Daily Iowan

DeJear said the state needs to be a place where both Republicans and Democrats can respect each other. 

“You saw three Republicans sitting front row front and center today. And I can tell you, they didn’t agree with everything that I said, but there were some things that they did agree on and we walked away civilly. I gave him a hug. That’s the type of environment that we have to create,” DeJear said in an interview with The Daily Iowan. 

DeJear said her Republican opponent, incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds, is creating the opposite of a civil environment in the state of Iowa. 

“That is not the type of environment that this current governor wants to create in the state. She’s pitting communities against one another,” DeJear said. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ ad

Reynolds released an ad on Sept 22. that includes messaging that Iowa “still works” thanks to her. The ad opens with Reynolds watching TV where another Black politician, Rep. Cori Bush, D-Missouri, says defunding the police has to happen. 

“I don’t really have too many feelings, other than the fact that we have to focus on Iowans right now and we have to lift up the things that are important to Iowans,” DeJear said. 

DeJear did not address the ad’s potential racist undertones, rather said the ad will not affect her relationship with Bush. 

“She thinks she’s gonna get between Cori Bush and I,” DeJear said. “Cori Bush and I don’t agree on everything, but needless to say, you’re not gonna get in between me and another woman and try to put a wedge between us.”

DeJear said the ad doesn’t mention Iowa issues, but instead focuses on national movements and emphasizes how different Iowa is from the rest of the country, which is depicted as chaotic in the ad.

“Her focus is not on us as Iowans, her focus is on herself, which is very much seen in the policies that she’s passing, passing policies that will do no good for Iowans, but may help her as it relates to her party credibility,” DeJear said. “And that’s not why we need great leadership, especially at that level.”