Rep. Young visits Simpson College, makes case for re-election

by Alex Kirkpatrick, Digital Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The candidates for the 3rd Congressional District — Democrat Jim Mowrer and Republican incumbent David Young — are in a tight race in the latest Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll released in late October.

But campaign workers aren’t slowing down until they reach the finish line.

Young, joined by U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, made his way through central Iowa Monday on a bus tour, speaking to his constituents about issues ranging from national security to illegal immigration to higher education costs.

Stopping at Simpson College in Indianola, Young met with about 20 community members and students to address what’s been on many voters’ minds: the top of the ballot.

“I think trust has always been a factor for the American people when determining who to vote for,” said Young, who was referring to the FBI’s announcement that it would reopen an investigation into the emails of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton – an issue that has plagued her campaign.

Ernst added, “We’ve already seen a breach of trust where Hillary Clinton has set up her own email server, directly avoiding anything that could be accessed by the public or through public documentation. She was evading a security system, and that proves to me she’s not trustworthy in the most powerful office in the world, and that’s the Oval Office.”

One of the most important issues that all Americans face is that of national security and illegal immigration, Young said, touting his introduction of bipartisan legislation that would require federal officials to take anyone who is in the United States illegally into custody if they commit a crime that causes death or “large bodily injury.”

The bill, Sarah’s Law, comes after 21-year-old Sarah Root was killed by an illegal alien, Eswin Mejia, who was released on bail days after her death.

“This was really highlighted in Iowa, but it’s been a problem across the country. It’s just heartbreaking,” Young said. “There are different ways to solve the problem, but we have to recognize that we’re a sovereign nation. Borders are important, and I think that’s a bipartisan issue, recognizing as well that we are a nation of immigrants. We’re a compassionate nation. Those who are fleeing here, who are asylees or refugees, we’ve always had a tradition of welcoming them here in Iowa and America.”

“But now as well, with the homeland security threats out there, like ISIS talking about infiltrating a refugee system, we have to take this very, very seriously,” he added.

Sarah’s Law is co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford, D-Nebraska.

Ernst said the legislation is long overdue.

“If there is an illegal immigrant that causes serious bodily injury or kills an American citizen, they should be turned over to the federal government,” she said. “I don’t know many Americans that would push back against that.”

The students who attended the event also asked Young and Ernst about issues pertaining to college campuses – in particular, sexual assault.

Junior Nick Laning mentioned Simpson’s student government had allocated $11,000 to Sexual Assault Response Advocates so the service could continue advocacy work after the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault left no funds for the organization to operate.

Ernst responded, “Not everything has to be taxpayer footed. Not everything has to be student footed. We have to find those partnerships, some ways of making it work so we can, in order to provide the necessary services. One size doesn’t fit all, but it’s a very important activity.”

Addressing the rising cost of higher education, Young said financial literacy is key.

“One thing that I think is important to remind folks is that you make sure you know the kinds of loans you’re taking out and why you’re taking them out and if you should be taking them out,” Young said. “I tell students to challenge their college, whether it’s a private or public university, to try and lift the veil and peel back the onion to see what’s going on with their support of students — whether it’s the amount of money they have in their endowment or what they’re using that for. Is enough going to help students?”

At the federal level, Young said, he supports legislation that provides a tax incentive for companies that starts to pay down student loan debts of employees.

“I think everybody wins there,” he said. “It helps pay their debt off quicker, but just make sure you know what you’re getting into when you take out student loans.”

According to PolitiFact, incumbents win about 95 percent of the time in congressional races, but campaign staffers said they are working nonstop to ensure their candidates are elected.

“One of the things that came into mind at the campaign office and when we were making calls and sending fliers and things like that through the mail is that you always act like that same person is behind,” said Devon Wood, a sophomore who works on Young’s campaign. “You work hard like you’re behind every day, and hope that good things happen at the end because of the hard work.”

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