Democratic congressional candidate, Theresa Greenfield visited Perry on Thursday, Nov. 2 for an intimate meet and greet at El Buen Gusto.
Greenfield focused on her slogan “families, farms and future,” which includes small business, social security and the cost of education.
Greenfield started off the night by talking about her childhood and growing up on a family farm.
“I grew up in the farm crisis of 1982,” Greenfield said, “so it was really difficult on the farm. Twenty-one percent interest rates were the least of it - talk about suicides for farmers at that time and families losing their farms - it was a really rough time. When I look around and travel the district, I see many many rural communities that want to thrive and not ever really recovered from that farm crisis. I mean, just with our family, all five of us kids left the rural area and none of us have been able to come back and build our families and have our careers there.”
She went on to talk about how her parents taught her the value of hard work and “there was no girl jobs, there was no boys jobs, there were just jobs that needed to be done.” Greenfield said she believes this is how Washington D.C. should work too.
“We have to elect people that are ready to go out and get the job done and do the work of the American people,” Greenfield said, “get things done and I’m looking forward to doing that for you and of course myself too.”
Not only did she talk about farms as a lesson of hard work and the lifeblood of Iowa, but she spoke of them as a key part of the state’s small businesses.
“As Iowans we are a state of small towns and small businesses and I would like to see us as Democrats talk a whole lot more about small businesses and be proud of our small business heritage,” Greenfield said. “That’s where about half of our jobs come from, about 70% of our GDP and we need to work with them on smart policies to see them grow.”
As for the family portion of her slogan, she emphasized working-class families.
Greenfield spoke briefly on her opinions of raising minimum wage, but she doesn’t believe $15 per hour is necessary as it could cause other economic problems.
“Working families want to make more money, ” Greenfield said. “They want well paying jobs for a job well done and we can help with that. We have to help invest back into education, continuous education, transition education to help people move from one career to the next. Pre-K throughout your career, we can do that, but it’s not being done today, but we can do it.”
Due to an unfortunate accident, Greenfield became a widow at a young age with two children. She credits social security to allow her to get back on her feet and provide for her family.
She said social security allowed her to go back to college and then get her first job, so she was on her way to the American dream.
“I got my dignity back for being able to provide for my family,” Greenfield said. “And I’ll tell you what, that job led to the next job, which led to the next job cause I had to provide a little of that hard work, a little of that never giving up, a little common sense. Today, I am the president of a small commercial real estate company in Des Moines”
Greenfield believes education holds our future. One of the things Greenfield mentioned was the cost of education.
“We have got a major problem with the high cost of education and high student debt that we have to talk about because that is keeping our young folks from starting families and buying homes and starting jobs,” Greenfield said. “I want to work on that.”
She also said investing in education, bringing in more apprenticeships, skills raise training and some certifications could help immensely.
“There is a lot of excitement in trying to find ways to help students gain more skills,” Greenfield said, “maybe have other options other than just four-year school and really getting them engaged early on to do that.”
Some of Greenfield’s recommendations were to bring in unions on laborers to the schools to help grow apprenticeships programs.
A few of the Des Moines area high schools already have such programs in place, but Greenfield believes it should be extended statewide.
Greenfield ended the night by talking to the attendees about “what keeps them up at night.”
“I haven’t forgotten the lessons of my life and why I’m here today,” Greenfield said. “I’m not going to forget them when I’m in Washington D.C. I think it’s a great time to be a Democrat, never before has there been such a stark difference in what we stand for, which is making people’s lives better… We need to elect some new leaders who want to go out there and continue to make the middle class strong, help working families move up and get those better jobs.”