Democratic governor candidate touts his experience
John Norris believes his experience stands out above the rest of the candidates running for Iowa governor in 2018.
“I have a passion for rural Iowa and an understanding of the issues we face in rural Iowa, and I have a life set of experiences in both business and government that sets me apart from the rest of the candidates,” he said Wednesday at a meet-and-greet event at the home of Mike and Linda Kennedy in New Hampton.
Norris, a long-time Democratic activist and appointee, has a long history working for many of the most prominent Iowa Democrats of the last 40 years. He was an aide to then-U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin in the 1980s, ran Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign in the state and served as chairman of the state party. He also was a chief of staff to Tom Vilsack when Vilsack was both governor of Iowa and the U.S. secretary of agriculture, and he served as a U.S. minister counselor for agriculture to the United Nations in Rome. He has served on the Iowa Utilities Board and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Since returning to Iowa in 2016, he is a partner at State Public Policy Group, a public policy firm.
“I have experience at all levels, local, state, national, international, both in public policy and in private business,” he said. “And through my work with Tom Vilsack, I have some experience with cleaning up Terry Branstad’s messes.”
Norris shook hands Wednesday, presented a speech to the crowd of about 20 New Hampton residents, and took a long list of questions from the group. He said his top priorities if elected governor would be public eduction, reversing the privatization of medicaid, mental health and water quality. When Norris was asked what would be the first thing he would do as governor, he had a quick response.
“First thing, I’m going to sit down with both Democratic and Republican leaders, and we’re going to find the easiest problem to solve, and then we’re going to solve it together,” he said. “Once you learn how to work together, then you can learn how to legislate together again.”
For more of this article, see Friday's New Hampton Tribune.