Gov. Kim Reynolds was confident as she addressed a group of supporters in Spencer Thursday that she’s going to win reelection on Nov. 6.
About 40 people gathered in the Hy-Vee meeting room to listen to the incumbent Republican governor, who’s entering the final stretch of her campaign to defeat Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell.
Reynolds and Hubbell the night before had debated in Sioux City. Reynolds came away feeling victorious.
“It went really well,” Reynolds said to those in the room. “It felt good. I said I was having fun. It’s fun to talk about the positive things that are happening in our state and be able to highlight them. And there is a stark contrast between where Fred Hubbell wants to go and where we want to do and the direction that we’ve been taking the state.”
An appeal to voters
Though Reynolds appeared confident, she did acknowledge there’s work to do. If recent polls are to be believed, then the governor may be playing catch-up to Hubbell.
A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll released last month showed Hubbell with a narrow lead over Reynolds. This week, website FiveThirtyEight released its governor races forecast and gave Hubbell a 84.8 percent change of winning on Election Day.
Reynolds told the Spencer audience that she needs their help.
“You really do have an impact,” she said. “I need you so we can offset some of the difference I’ll see, like in Polk County and Johnson County and some of that. You really, really – we’re not just saying that – you really are an important factor in this election and it will make a difference.”
Reynolds frequently brought up the differences between herself and Hubbell.
“I think if you listen really carefully (to Hubbell), it’s ‘money, money, money’ or it’s ‘government, government, government,’” Reynolds said. “I mean, that was his answer to everything. Not the private sector, not the people. I believe in Iowans. I believe in what you’re doing in communities all across the state.”
Reynolds has been busy traveling the state. She said her campaign has purchased a Winnebago RV that they’ll wrap and drive to campaign stops between now and Nov. 6.
“We’re driving around the state in a little bit of a ‘rah, rah’ (to) fire you up because if we don’t show up, we’re not going to win,” Reynolds said. “It is all about turnout. It just is. I don’t think we’re going to see a blue wave (of Democrats winning elections), but we have to fight for a red wave and that means that we have to show up. And if we show up, we will win. I have no doubt about it.”
Future tax cuts
Reynolds highlighted recent accomplishments in Des Moines, including mental health reform legislation, Future Ready Iowa workforce training programs and tax cuts.
She said there are more tax cuts coming if she and other Republicans maintain control in Des Moines.
“We’re not done,” Reynolds said. “We’re going to go back next year and we’ll continue to look for ways to continue to lower taxes.”
Reynolds said that because the budget is balanced and the reserve accounts are full, more tax cuts would be looked at. The governor’s office recently announced that there’s a $127 million budget surplus this year.
Still, Reynolds did say any future tax cuts would be approached cautiously.
“We’re watching what’s happening nationally,” she said. “But because we’ve reduced taxes and the tax cuts at the federal level and kind of the regulatory environment that we put in place, we are seeing an Iowan economy that is growing. And we’ve seen three straight quarters of income growth, so we’re seeing wages increase, also, which is a good thing for Iowans.”
Reynolds also said future tax cuts would take funding priorities into consideration.
“It’s just like we did last year,” Reynolds said while speaking to reporters. “We did it in a fiscally responsible manner and we were able to implement tax cuts based on what they did at the federal level because the federal deductibility, honestly, if we hadn’t done anything, working families, small businesses and farmers were going to see their taxes go up. That’s not what I wanted to do. But we (cut taxes) while maintaining our priorities of education, public health and public safety. That’ll be the benchmark that we utilize going forward.”
Reynold spoke extensively on IPERS and the misconceptions she says have been floating around on Facebook.
She was adamant:
“There is no way – there is no way – we are going to not follow through with the promises that we’ve made people that are covered by the pension system,” she said.
Reynolds added that the legislature isn’t interested in making changes to IPERS.
“Right now, there is no interest from the legislature to do anything different (with IPERS),” she said while speaking to reporters after the event. “If there is going forward, the number one priority before anything would be to make sure we can honor the commitments that have been made to the individuals that are in the system.”
In voters’ hands
It’s clear Reynolds feels there’s still work to be done to keep moving Iowa in the direction she and other GOP leaders have led it. Whether that happens is in voters’ hands.
“As many positive things as there is happening, we’re just getting started because there’s a lot more that we can continue to do to continue to move on the momentum and the success that we’ve seen over the last couple of years,” she said. “That’s why this election is so, so important.”
Photo: Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to a group Thursday at the Spencer Hy-Vee’s community meeting room for a campaign stop.