Fred Hubbell, the former chair of the Simpson College board of trustees, is facing off with incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds in the race for Iowa governor. Elections will be held Nov. 6. A recent Emerson College e-poll shows Hubbell five percentage points ahead of Reynolds, with 36 percent of the vote.
“I’m really excited about these poll numbers that are coming out, and I’m really excited about this campaign and am hoping to have a good result this November,” said junior Abby Schulte, political director for Simpson Democrats.
Hubbell is a Des Moines entrepreneur who has led large businesses and promoted renewable energy and economic growth through Younkers, Equitable of Iowa, the Iowa Power Fund and the Iowa Department of Economic Development, according to his website.
Hubbell did not attend Simpson College, but he saw Simpson as an institution of success and worth investing in as the chair of the board of trustees. Hubbell and his wife, Charlotte, donated $4 million to Simpson to help build the Kent Campus Center; in return, Hubbell Hall was named after them, The Simpsonian previously reported.
Some students admire Hubbell and his policy priorities, which include education, raising incomes, health care, the environment, workers’ rights and veterans’ rights, according to his website.
“I think he’s a really strong candidate. He really checks all of the boxes for me, in terms of issue-wise,” Schulte said. “I also think he has a lot of great experience. I’m very confident that he’s going to hit the ground running in fixing the budget mess we have the Statehouse right now.”
Hubbell also prioritizes education and addressing the cost of higher education. He served on the Simpson board of trustees for over 30 years and was the board chair for six years.
Hubbell and his wife created the Hubbell Family Scholarship and Internship program at Simpson to give scholarships to low income students graduating from Iowa high schools that are interning with a nonprofit or startup. The program pays these students when the internship cannot, Hubbell previously said in a separate interview.
“I personally believe that he’s going to be a very strong advocate for young people,” Schulte said. “I think all of his policies are very forward-thinking and mobilizing for the state, so I think he will be a good advocate to create a better future for us to graduate college and have opportunities to stay in Iowa.”
Reynolds has served as governor since May 24, 2017 and is the first woman to serve in this position. Previously, she served as Clarke County treasurer, state senator and was the lieutenant governor under former Gov. Terry Branstad.
“The campaign is benefiting very much from the legacy of Terry Branstad, and leaning heavily on the idea of Reynolds, Branstad’s former lieutenant governor, building on the work that he has already done,” freshman Anna Senneff, who volunteered for Reynolds’ campaign, said.
Reynolds has made Iowa a national leader in STEM education. She has also led economic development trade missions in Asia and Europe and worked to increase exports and foreign direct investment and create new jobs in Iowa. Reynolds’ top priorities are “creating good-paying jobs, cutting taxes, investing in public schools and increasing opportunity in every part of Iowa,” according the governor’s official website.
Last legislative session, the Iowa Senate reduced higher education funding by about $35 million, the Des Moines Register reported in March 2018. Gov. Reynolds wants to work with the state’s public universities and have the state partner with them to prepare Iowans for the workforce, she told The Gazette.
Her current work has some students excited for her campaign and excited for the potential for reelection.
Senneff is optimistic about the campaign and says there is enthusiasm within the Republican Party. She also said Republican voters are determined to elect more Republicans in the Des Moines area.
“In a race between the incumbent candidate of the majority party, who also happens to be the first woman to occupy her office, and a Democratic candidate which many view as just a wealthy businessman, I think that the GOP is right to be optimistic,” Senneff said.
“That being said,” Senneff continued, “some polling data does seem to suggest that Democratic candidates this cycle (gubernatorial and otherwise) have gained more traction than in the past. Nonetheless, Republicans are planning to counter any ‘blue wave’ with, as several lawmakers said at this year’s GOP State Convention, a ‘red tsunami.’”