Liz Mathis continued her series of First Congressional District campaign kick-off events with a rally at Raygun in Cedar Rapids’ NewBo neighborhood Sunday afternoon. Mathis is challenging GOP freshman congresswoman Ashley Hinson who defeated Democratic first termer Abby Finkenaur in 2020.
Channeling for Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, Mathis’ message is about taking “fairness” to Washington, DC. According to Mathis, Harkin’s exemplar was a notecard with the word “fair” written on it. “Is what is happening in Washington fair to us,” he asked himself and she will ask herself that same question.
She contrasted this philosophy saying, Hinson’s, “voting record isn’t fair.” Mathis pointed to Hinson’s votes against an independent commission to investigate the January 6 coup attempt, the Violence Against Women Act and the COVID recovery bill asking the audience each time, “is it fair?”
“NO!” shouted attendees.
“She doesn’t care,” Mathis said, but “you would get a person in me that cares.”
In particular, Representative Hinson’s ballot against the independent commission runs counter to her previous position. On January 12, she joined Illinois 13th District Rep Rodney Davis and three other Republicans introducing H.R. 275, “To establish the National Commission on the Domestic Terrorist Attack Upon the United States Capitol,” bill. She justified her nay vote saying in a written statement saying she could not support, "launching this commission while the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI have ongoing investigations." This ignores Congress' long history of oversight even while Executive Branch inquiries continued.
The fairness and caring themes emerge from the policy issues Mathis described to the crowd. Economic recovery from COVID, improving access to healthcare for First District residents while containing costs and supporting small businesses that, “have to stay open and thriving,” particularly in rural communities were her priorities.
“Send me to Washington and I’ll work hard and show you what I can do in Congress.”
When asked about the challenge of accomplishing policy objectives in Washington, Mathis said that first you must, “make friends.” To her, that means learning about a colleague’s interests and seeking common ground. In her current role as District 34 State Senator, she described putting, “a group together called ‘Meat Mondays’,” where she invited three Republicans and two additional Democrats for dinner at The Big Steer for an evening of getting to know one another. This opened lines of communication and opportunities to work together.
How this election progresses will depend somewhat on the location of the First District’s boundaries. Though Iowa would normally have completed its redistricting process by the end of July, a delay in release of census numbers till the latter part of September leaves voter composition in question. In the 2010 borders, active Democrat voters are thirty-five percent of the electorate while Republicans are thirty-two percent. The balance are non-affiliated voters that appear to be the group deciding the victor in each election.
By the end of October, candidates will have a clearer picture of what the voter party affiliation will be for 2022.