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It was a generally friendly, good-spirited forum as four of the scheduled five Democratic candidates for governor were at Lake Darling State Park on Wednesday, May 23.
John Norris, Dr. Andy McGuire, Ross Wilburn and Cathy Glasson answered questions on a number of topics during the forum sponsored by Washington County Democrats.
Nate Boulton was scheduled to appear, but was a notable absence. Frontrunner Fred Hubbell was not scheduled to take part in the forum.
“There are no surprises in my background that will come up in the next election,” Norris said, taking a shot at Boulton, who was accused of past sexual misconduct in a Des Moines Register story earlier in the day.
The other three candidates all called on Boulton to end his campaign in light of the allegations, which Boulton did on Thursday.
All four candidates called for the reversal of the privatization of the state’s Medicaid program.
“We have to reverse privatized Medicaid so folks can actually get the care they need,” Glasson said.
Regarding water quality, Wilburn said that the current legislature and administration have ignored the issue and that the focus needs to be on staffing so water quality standards can be enforced.
McGuire called it a “public health issue,” while Norris called for a moratorium on further construction of hog farms until the matrix is completely redone.
All four candidates also called for fully funding the Iowa Veterans Home in order to better care for the state’s veterans.
“It’s critical that we step up,” Wilburn said.
McGuire said that the facility is being squeezed by tax cuts, while Norris said that in his visits there, he has seen a “demoralized workforce.”
The subject of gun violence was also discussed.
“I’m calling for a full ban on high-powered assault rifles, with a 72-hour waiting period and a comprehensive background check,” Glasson said.
McGuire said, “We’ve got to get rid of these weapons of war.”
“If you need a gun right away, you don’t need a gun right away,” Norris said.
Wilburn pointed out, “We can have sensible gun laws and still support the Second Amendment.”