3rd District Dems: Who they are, what they believe


Austin Hronich/The Simpsonian

by Randy Paulson, News Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The six Democratic candidates for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District spoke to an audience of over 150 people at a forum event held Feb. 13 in Hubbell Hall.

The event was co-hosted by student Democrat groups from Simpson, DMACC and Drake, as well as the Culver Center and College and Young Democrats of Iowa.

Abby Schulte, president of Simpson Democrats, said a seventh candidate for the 3rd District, Heather Ryan from Des Moines, had planned on attending the forum. However, Ryan dropped out of the race on Feb. 5 to instead run for Iowa House District 31, according to a video on her campaign Facebook page.

The six candidates spoke about themselves, the reasons they decided to run and also explained what they would do once in office. They discussed a wide range of policy topics, including education, climate change, health care, gun reform, immigration and campaign finance reform.

Eddie Mauro

A Simpson College graduate and Des Moines native, Mauro said it was Prof. John Epperson who taught him “the value of government.” He has been a teacher at both public and private schools around Iowa and is currently a small-business owner and president of a wholesale insurance firm. Mauro said he believes everyone, no matter their racial, ethnic, sexual orientation or economic background “deserves to know the best possible world awaits you.”

Paul Knupp

Knupp’s campaign website brands him as a “Socialist Democrat for Congress.” Knupp moved to Iowa from Ohio 40 years ago. A former college professor, he is currently a minister and also works at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines. Knupp is also involved with various organizations such as National Alliance on Mental Illness Iowa, the Democratic Socialists of America, Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, the Humanist Society of Iowa and the Asian and Latino Coalition.

Theresa Greenfield

Greenfield said when she first decided to run for Congress, she had thought, “If citizen leaders don’t stand up to run, we’re never going to change things in Washington D.C.” Originally from southern Minnesota, Greenfield attended college and has worked both there and in Iowa throughout her life, according to her website. She now lives in Des Moines with her family and is president of a family-owned commercial real estate company. She said there are so many important decisions made in D.C. that affect everyone’s lives, such as the high cost of healthcare and education as well as the need to expand job growth.

Austin Frerick

The youngest of the candidates at 27 years old, Austin Frerick spoke to the audience about the growing power of monopolies in the U.S. and his belief that economic concentration, “is the issue of our time.” He said his previous work as an economist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury convinced him that we are living in a second Gilded Age where the middle class is shrinking while monopolies are allowing the rich to become richer.

Pete D’Alessandro

A political organizer with over 25 years of experience, D’Alessandro said Democrats and progressives have a lot of work to do if they not only want to win elections, but also if they want to win the future. According to the Des Moines Register, D’Alessandro ran Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign in Iowa. Last month, Sanders endorsed D’Alessandro’s campaign, praising his liberal platform of expanding Medicare, increasing the minimum wage and fighting climate change.

Cindy Axne

“A fifth-generation Iowan, a mom and a small business owner” is how Cindy Axne described herself. She said she has roots right here in Warren County, where her mother grew up on a farm outside of Milo. Axne said her parents taught her and her sisters to help those around them and stand up for what’s right. She said she’s running for U.S. Congress to bring back jobs, give a voice to those who don’t have one and to beat David Young.