OSAGE | On Wednesday, Oct. 25, Iowa Democratic Party candidate for Governor, John Norris, met with local democrats at the Osage Public Library.

Norris, who is seeking nomination for governor in the November 2018 general election, previously served as the Chief of Staff for former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and was appointed by former President Barack Obama to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Norris told supporters he believes the party can regain the governorship, if Democrats focus more of Iowa’s rural areas.

“We lost the last four elections, because we have lost rural Iowa,” he said. “We have to reconnect with rural Iowa.”

Norris said he believes current Republican Governor Kim Reynolds can be defeated in the 2018 race, because of her current fiscal policies, the problems surrounding Medicaid and rural health care.

Norris addressed several local issues including water and air pollution caused by large livestock operations.

“We probably are not going to get rid of commercial operations, but we need to set up regulations and enforce them,” Norris said.

He also addressed the lack of industrial workers throughout the state. Norris emphasized high school educators need to spend more time and resources on developing programs for high tech industrial skills, instead of preparing every student for college.

Acknowledging high skill industrial jobs might provide great opportunities for students who don’t go to college Norris said, “We have to equip our children to break the poverty cycle and get our kids on a more positive track.”

Norris said his first concern was not to bring in laborers from outside the state, but first educate the labor force and youth already here. Then, if industry needs more laborers, rural Iowans need to be more welcoming of those who will come to fill vacant positions.

Rural health care was another concern for the candidate who said the current Medicaid System is jeopardizing those who depend on the program.

“The current policies on rural health care in devastating,” Norris said. “If you have economic growth without quality of life, it is a hallow victory.”

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