OSAGE | Lifelong progressive Democrat and candidate for Governor, Fred Hubbell, met with a group of Mitchell County citizens at Teluwut in Osage on Tuesday, to discuss his vision for Iowa, and why he should be the state’s next governor.

“The cuts at the state level have been in every corner of the state,” Hubbell said. “There is so much fear and anxiety in our state about where we are going financially, along with programs and policies. That’s why I decided to run for governor.”

While having never run for public office, Hubbell served as the interim director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, where he helped put an end to the misuse of the film tax that was costing Iowans millions of dollars.

“One of my focuses is on unity,” Hubbell said. “What we need is someone willing to represent all Iowans across the aisle on health care and education, which are my main focus.

“The more support, training and education given to Iowans, the greater the benefit across the state,” Hubbell said. “I want to put the budget dollars behind education and health care, expand funding for pre-K, which is only partially funded, and put more training and resources aside for K-12 and our four-year colleges.

“We need to make sure that tuition is manageable and accessible to students without them having to work three jobs in order to be able to afford to attend.”

Hubbell said another key area was job training and a desire to see young Iowans have the opportunity to learn the skills they will need to be job ready.

“It’s clear that in some places the high schools, community colleges and businesses are working together to provide the training needed to fill the jobs in the state, while in other areas that co-operation is not happening and that needs to change,” he said. “In some places in the state, students can work internships in their junior and senior years of high schools, directly with an employer and learn the skills they would need to know to work that job as well as receive a certificate at the end of that internship acknowledging the training that they’ve received.”

Hubbell said his second focus would be on health care and ending the privatization of Medicaid that took place under the Branstad administration.

“Facilities are having to shut down because they aren’t being paid,” Hubbell said. “One of the managed care companies has left the state, and the people they cover are being shifted to the other two companies, who don’t want them because of the costs.

“The rate of addiction is growing and mental health facilities have been closing because they aren’t getting paid. Health care in Iowa never should have been privatized. Branstad privatized without legislative approval, so it can’t be reversed without legislative approval.”

Osage resident Penney Morse asked Hubbell his opinion on the master matrix and what could be done to protect Iowa’s natural resources.

Hubbell said one aspect rarely mentioned during the discussion of the CAFOs is one of the reasons for low unemployment across the state was that the Branstad administration’s support for the industry has allowed the industry to bring in low-paying jobs, due in part to the tax breaks and incentives that they receive.

“We have a water quality problem in this state,” Hubbell said. “It’s affecting the waters we fish in and our drinking water. We also have a soil quality problem in the state. There is a lack of organic matter in the soil. Urban and rural areas need to work on protecting the quality of the top soil and water.

“It is clear that there are loopholes in matrix process and there is not enough control or oversight on the local level.”