Deidre DeJear

Story Democrats Soup Supper - March 14, 2022

Deidre DeJear
March 14, 2022
2022 Story Democrats Soup Supper
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Give it up again for county supervisor Linda Murken. Can y'all hear me okay?

Story County, y'all look like y'all ready for the work – that is incredible. Thank you so much for the warm greeting, my name is Deidre DeJear and I’m running to be our next governor.

The soup supper in Story County is always a special event for me, and the last time I was here I had the fortunate opportunity of … walking around then Senator Harris to greet each and every one of you all – and that was the last time I was at the soup supper. Was that the last time we had it? Yeah, that was the last time we had it well – it is a pleasure to be back here. I’m running for governor folks because I’m running for each and every one of you all. I believe in this state, and I believe in what's possible. And Supervisor Murken just listed a number of accomplishments that this state has been known for. Y'all remember when we were number one in education. Y’all remember that. But even before then, nearly a hundred years before Brown versus board of education, this state had desegregated schools. It made an effort – yeah clap to that. We made a conscientious decision that no matter what your skin color was; no matter what your race was; no matter your gender, that each and every one of our students should have access to a quality, affordable, public education. We made that decision.

So when we think about these challenges that our state is facing right now, I want us to remind ourselves of what we're capable of. Right now we're 18, 19, 20 on the list – on the rankings for education. Our teachers are leaving this state; our teachers are leaving the profession. Our students are leaving this state, vowing never to come back. Your grandkids are being born outside of the state of Iowa when you prefer for them to be born here right at home. We've got to interrupt that cycle folks, and there's something we can do about it. There's something we can do about it because it's a reasonable request to ask that our governor fully fund our education system so that our students, our students, have access to a limitless future. When our students graduate from high school, I want them to be set up to either have a job or go to college if that's their choice. And if they want a job, I only want them to have to work one folks to make ends meet. That's a reasonable request.

Unfortunately our current governor is being unreasonable. Couple weeks ago she signed a 2.55 increase on our state education budget – and we know our students, and our parents, and our teachers are worth more than that.

I want us to think about what we're capable of when we think about one, this state having a thriving economy in our past – under both republican and democratic leadership. You know, we've been able to weather the storms of unemployment; we've been able to weather the storms getting people educated – specifically adults – and minimizing our skills gap. Right now, we have a worker shortage and we have a skills gap. Our small businesses are closing, and our rural communities are suffering as a result. That cycle we too can interrupt. We can interrupt it by increasing wages; we can interrupt it by investing in our rural communities; we can interrupt it by investing in our small businesses. That's the governor that I want to be, because I’m a small business owner folks.

And I started my business back in the beginning of the recession while I was in college at Drake University. And I started that business because I was working for a bank at the time. And this bank was trying to figure out small business products, and we were getting this influx of small business owners coming to the bank, why? Because folks were getting laid off from their jobs, and didn't have a choice but to become entrepreneurs. So what did I do? This enthusiastic college student who thought she knew everything. So I decided to help those small businesses get started, to help them grow. And I realized, not only were those small businesses important to their communities and to their families, but our small businesses are critical in this state. Our small business owners provide jobs for nearly 50% of the workforce. Any small business owners in the house today? Y'all, give these small business owners a round of applause.

And these aren't just the folks with storefronts, these are the folks with land; these are the folks who are operating behind a computer; the folks who don't have a board of directors. The folks who aren't getting 208 million dollars in tax credits. This state can do a better job to lift up our small business owners, because not only are you providing jobs for the workforce – you're accumulating wealth in our communities to make them thrive, and we've got to show up for you, and I will be that governor.

Another thing that's incredibly important to me: health care and mental health care. You know when I was a kid my mother passed away. I was eight years old, she died three days after my little sister was born – turned my life upside down. So my dad decided he was going to send me through counseling. I had social workers, at my school, that was helping this little second grader navigate through the process of her mother no longer being alive – I was in fourth grade, excuse me. We see challenges with mental health care across the state. I went to Dubuque not too long ago, and a father told me that he got a call from his 17 year old son. And his 17-year-old son said, ‘dad, I’m thinking about harming myself’ – and this dad did what any good dad would do: got in the car, got to his kid, took his kid to the hospital. Doctor sees the kid, analyzes him, says ‘all right [mic dies; DeJear only faintly audible] we've got some challenges here. Unfortunately we can't get you in to see a doctor for another six months — a psychiatrist — for another six months.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Change mics, that one died.

DEJEAR: [after changing mics] Can you hear – oooh...the magic just happened. But at any rate, going back to that serious story: because I do want to put a pin in this part. That that dad took his son to the doctor, six months seeing a psychiatrist was the first, best thing that that doctor could do. Then the next best thing that that doctor could do was send him from Dubuque all the way to Sioux City because that's where the nearest bed was. This state has less than 100 state beds: less than a thousand beds in the state of Iowa. Some comparison, New Hampshire has 300 state beds – a fraction of our size. We were supposed to have two mental health care access points, by July of last year – excuse me six – we only have two. Yet, we're sitting on more than a billion dollars, more than a billion dollars, that unfortunately the republican party is calling a trust fund. I’m of the mindset you have to be in a position of privilege to have a trust fund. We know, the exacerbation that COVID caused to our mental health – not only to our adults but to our students. And the fact that we're not standing up, that our governor is not standing up – because you all are standing up – but our governor's not standing up to the challenge, to resolve access to mental health care; to resolve the affordability of health care in the state; and to come to terms with the fact that we need to increase reimbursements for dental, for mental health care, and so many other specialty services – so that you all aren't coming out of pocket and going broke, going to payday lenders, to make ends meet. We can interrupt that right now.

The fact of the matter is we have a governor that's looking at the state of Iowa as if we don't have any challenges. She's looking at our state as if status quo is good enough. She's making record investments, but the records aren't good enough. We're worth more than this folks – and we're talking about the basics. So I’m running in this office, not only because I believe in what we're capable of, but I believe we can overcome these challenges – because we've done harder things. If you all are walking with your heads up a little bit higher after seeing that Iowa poll –

– because here's the thing 43 – 51 that's less about me and more about what you all are capable of. More about what we're capable of. Remember, Kim Reynolds won with 50.3 percent of the vote – 37,000 votes difference between her and Hubble. We found those votes plus some. When people ask me about that path, over here Mike, we got to connect with independents – 46 percent of those showed up in 2018, I know we can do better than that. Less than 30 percent of our communities of color showed up, I know we can do better than that. And less than half of 18 to 34 year olds showed up. We found these voter margins – it's not a matter of can we, it's a matter of will we. Are we willing? Are we willing?

And I know every election cycle we say ‘this is a critical election’ – because I said it in ‘18. I said it in ‘20. But this is a critical election folks – but the difference in this election is that we've got to get the gas. We've got to use that gas, and we've got to put it on the road. We know that Iowa is worth the work. I’m asking each and every one of you all to stand with me. We've got to beat Grassley. We've got to make sure we keep Cindy Axne. We've got to win the first and the second in our congressional districts, and we also have to maximize each and every one of our opportunities to take legislative seats all over this state. Do you have the gas? Are you willing to use it? Well let's get on the road – because Iowa is worth the work. Thank you all so much for having me.

DeJear, D. [Dennis Goodrich]. (2022, March 14) Deidre DeJear for Governor [] Retrieved on April 15, 2022 from