On Super Tuesday, Winterset residents Bob and Peggy Casper invited area Democrats into their home, not to watch the results of the primary elections happening that night, but to welcome another Democratic hopeful.
Theresa Greenfield, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, brought her “Hear It From the Heartland” tour to Madison County. As part of her “neighbor-to-neighbor campaign”, she has listened to and answered questions directly from Iowans – via coffee shops, local restaurants, union training centers, health care providers, and yes, even residential living rooms.
It was standing room only at the Caspers’ living room Tuesday night, as those in attendance listened to Greenfield unveil her thoughts and plans for unseating current U.S. Senator, Republican Joni Ernst of Red Oak, who is seeking election to a second term.
“I am really excited to be in the race,” Greenfield began, as she addressed the audience. “This race is one of the top five senate seats that could flip from red to blue,” she continued. “People are fired up all over the country because they share our concerns about the Senate, and the role that it has played in our constitution and democracy.”
Sharing the results of a recent national poll, she noted the approval rating of the current senator was 39 percent among Iowa voters. Greenfield felt that Iowans were not loyal to the Republican thus giving voters a strong opportunity to flip the seat from Republican to Democrat.
“Iowans will vote for a Democrat,” she explained, referencing Democrat Tom Harkin, who had served in the Senate for 30 years.
Greenfield was raised on a farm outside of Bricelyn, Minn., a little town of 500 on the Iowa/Minnesota border, across from Buffalo Center. She boasted that her high school graduating class consisted of twenty four students. On her parents farm, where they grew row crops, raised hogs and owned a crop dusting business, among her five siblings, she learned the value of hard work.
Graduating from high school amidst the farm crisis, where interest rates were 21 percent, Greenfield saw her family struggle to make ends meet. Eventually they had to sell the farm and their crop dusting business, never to return.
Mentioning today’s economy, Greenfield noted that net farm income is down 75 percent due to what she called, reckless trade, tariffs and ethanol waivers. Bankruptcy is at an eight-year high, not just for farm families, and main street is also feeling the pinch. People in rural areas have to drive 20 or 30 miles to get groceries, go to church and find the healthcare they need.
As a candidate for Senate, Greenfield says that she is in the fight for personal reasons.
“Not just a feisty farm girl, I have a deep respect for hard working families, after growing up that way, and I carry their struggle in my heart as I was widowed at the age of 24.”
Her husband, a lineman for the local power company, was killed in a workplace accident, leaving her as a single mom with a 13-month-old at home and another child on the way. With union benefits and Social Security, and with the help of friends, family, and the community, Greenfield was able to get back on her feet.
After her life experiences, hearing those currently in office talk about privatizing social security, or the Republican budget talks about cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Greenfield was even more determined to get into the race.
A feisty farm girl with values rooted deep in rural Iowa, she promised the audience to never forget who she was, where she came from, or who she was fighting for.