URBANDALE, Iowa—Republican U.S. Senate candidate David Young brought his campaign to central Iowa Wednesday for two speeches to sympathetic audiences. Just over a month after Young announced, the field has ballooned, and the Van Meter native is honing his stump speech to stand out from the crowd.
Republicans who attended Young’s events—a breakfast hosted by the Westside Conservative Club at the Machine Shed in Urbandale and lunch with the Bull Moose Club in Des Moines—noted that he seemed more polished and conversational than earlier campaign forays. The candidate has settled on a stump speech focused on the “three deficits,” which he also delivered last week in Le Mars.
Young, Sen. Chuck Grassley’s former chief of staff, stressed that America has a budget deficit, a jobs deficit and a trust deficit.
“I was a fan of George W. Bush, but it frustrated me that he didn’t veto some spending bills,” Young said Wednesday morning at the Machine Shed in Urbandale. “I’ll be an equal opportunity watchdog on the debt.”
Young, speaking to about 100 members of the Westside Conservative Club, said that the nation’s $17 trillion debt is hurting the economy and Washington should follow the lead of the states by balancing the budget.
“I don’t want to end up like Greece,” he said. “We need bold leadership.”
Later, addressing 30 young Republicans at the Des Moines Embassy Club, Young event suggested rolling back or eliminating bloated bureaucracies such as the U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce.
On the “jobs deficit,” Young said Iowa’s unemployment rate is low but the national average of 7.6 percent can’t become the “new normal.” Young stressed that tax reform would spur more businesses to hire people.
Young said that he supports a flatter, fairer, simpler—and permanent—reform of the tax code, including a reduction in the corporate tax rate (currently the highest in the world).
“When you lower the corporate tax rate, you create more jobs, and you also lower the price of goods and services,” he said.
Young suggested rolling back federal regulations to allow smaller scale approaches at the state level.
“Regulations are killing us,” he said. “Whether it’s the environment or anything else, the best decisions on regulations can be made a the local level because they’re closer to the people and there’s more accountability.”
In particular, Young cited Obamacare as a series of D.C. regulations that harm small businesses. He criticized the administration for delaying the employer mandate aspect of the health care law until after the 2014 campaign.
“Who thinks President Obama should enforce the laws and not just willy-nilly pick ones he wants to enforce?” he said. “Obamacare is a job killer. There is so much uncertainty with premium increases and rate shocks. We’re just kicking the can down the road [by delaying the employer mandate]. Just repeal Obamacare entirely.”
Finally, Young said that Americans have a “trust deficit” as Congress and the Obama administration has let down voters.
Young said that he would immediately use his oversight powers as a Senator to hold the Obama administration accountable, rattling off a list of recent administration scandals or missteps.
“You could count them on one hand a week ago, now we’re on two hands,” he said. “I don’t want to move to my toes.”
One Bull Moose Club attendee asked Young how he responds to the charge that he’s a Washington insider out-of-touch with Iowans.
“There’s nothing insidious or sinister about public service, Young said. “I’ve lived in Iowa for three-fourths of my life. I’m not going to let anyone tell me I’m not an Iowan. I love fried butter on a stick. You can’t keep me away from it.”
Young also addressed the growing Republican field for Senate—which expanded Wednesday as state Sen. Joni Ernst joined the race. Sioux City economics professor Sam Clovis and U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker have already announced runs. Businessman Mark Jacobs, former state Rep. Rod Roberts and Iowa GOP co-chair David Fischer are also expected to enter the fray.
“A primary is good for our party,” Young said. “Congressman Bruce Braley is sitting over on the Dem[ocratic] side, comfortable, no primary. But he’s not being sharpened like our side is. He’s not prepared for the general.”
“I don’t have a record; he does have a very long, distinguished liberal record, to the left of Tom Harkin. He voted for Obamacare and carried the torch for [former House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi.”
Since joining the race June 1, Young has traveled to 33 counties and raised more than $150,000, the most of any of the announced candidates.
“Young is the first Senate candidate we’ve had speak, and we’re excited to meet the rest of them,” said Joe Stopulous, the president of the Bull Moose Club of Des Moines, who is neutral in the Senate race. “They’re all qualified in different areas. Clovis is an economist, Whitaker is an attorney, Young advised Grassley and Ernst is a state senator and soldier. Young differentiates himself with his day-one readiness and experience. As he has been working in D.C. with Grassley, he has an insider knowledge.”
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