Harkin, Reed Race For Iowa's US Senate Seat

This story was written by Bethany Pint, Iowa State Daily


Democratic Party incumbent Sen. Tom Harkin and first-time Republican candidate Christopher Reed will be seeking one of Iowas seats in the U.S. Senate this election, and one candidate doesnt believe government should help with college.

Reed said he doesnt believe there should be public funding for a college education because, he said, its something that should be worked for, not paid for by the public through tax dollars.

Obviously, a college education is something nobody could ever take away from you once you get it, and thats very important, Reed said. But there should not be public funding for college education.

Despite multiple attempts, Sen. Harkin could not be reached for comment. Grant Gustafson, Harkins press secretary, spoke on his behalf. Gustafson said Harkins plan dictates making college more affordable by way of loan availability.

A lot more needs to be done on the college affordability issue to make those loans available so that students arent graduating college with the amount of debt that they are today, Gustafson said.

Gustafson said Harkins main issues deal with rebuilding Iowa after the summer disasters, as well as economic stability. He said Harkin is also a proponent of energy independence.

Currently, the nation is spending $900,000 every minute on importing oil, Gustafson said. And that is money that can be spent here at home, rebuilding our roads, bridges, rebuilding our schools, investing here in our country.

Harkin, who is seeking his fifth term, plans to rework the health care system, which he commonly refers to as the sick care system, by focusing on preventative medicine.

Gustafson said Harkin plans to adjust the No Child Left Behind Act to provide resources to schools that are suffering. This way, he said, schools would have incentives to improve instead of receiving less money because they lack growth.

If we want to continue to improve our education system, we do need to fully fund our schools, Gustafson said.

Reed, a business owner, said his top priority is energy independence, because energy affects every facet of our lives.

When electing a candidate into office, many might think of experience as an important part in the election process. Reed disagrees. He said his lack of political experience is his biggest asset in this race.

I got in this race because I believe Washington is broken and it cannot be fixed by sending the same man back for a fifth term, he said. I think, right now the United States Senate could use a little less experience. Currently, weve got a good old boy network politics as usual the status quo: Its killing everybody.

Gustafson said its Harkins seniority that makes him the stronger candidate.

He has a long history in the state, Gustafson said. And he has a great understanding of the way people here operate, the way the government operates. He also has a great sense how to really get things done in the United States Senate and work across the aisle.

While the two may not agree on who would be the best fit for the Senate seat, both realize the importance of student voters.

Students have the most at stake in this election, Gustafson said. This is the future that they are voting on.

Reed explained two different Americas that are options in this election, one of those being a free America, where youre free to make your own decisions and decide whats best for you. The other option, he said, is the America that government tells you what you are and are not going to do and whats best for you.

The students are the future Youre going to decide this November which America thats going to happen in, Reed said.

Tom Harkin (Democrat):

- Age: 68

- Hometown: Cumming

- Family: Wife, Ruth, and two children

- Current occupation: U.S. Senator

- Main issues: rebuilding Iowa, energy independence

- Campaign Web site: www.tomharkin.com

- Harkin graduated from Iowa State with a degree in government and economics, was a member of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity and served in the Navy after graduating.

Christopher Reed (Republican):

- Age: 36

- Hometown: Solon

- Family: Wife, Kim, three children and one due in February

- Current occupation: businessman

- Main issue: energy independence

- Campaign Web site: www.christopherreed2008.com

- This will be Reeds first attempt for office. He served in the U.S. Navy after high school.
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