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Eddie Mauro, 3rd District Democratic candidate: Get money out of politics


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Eddie Mauro, Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, talks with the Des Moines Register editorial board.
Michael Zamora, mzamora@dmreg.com

Eddie Mauro is a small business owner, veteran high school coach, and a longtime community activist. Now he’s running for Congress, and he wants to curb the influence of campaign cash on the nation’s political system.

“The No. 1 priority is money and politics because that is keeping everything else from happening,” Mauro said during a meeting Wednesday with the Des Moines Register’s editors and reporters. 

“It is keeping good things from happening in this country, whether that be health care or taking care of our seniors when it comes to Social Security or Medicare, or gun safety, or the challenges with our climate that are in front of us,” Mauro, 55, said. “Special interests and money are keeping us from taking America forward where it needs to be.”

His solution is campaign finance reform at the federal level, including limits on corporate contributions that he believes are overwhelming the voices of individual citizens. According to Federal Election Commission data, about 70 percent of his contributions have come from individuals in Iowa. He has also loaned his campaign $300,000.

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Mauro, who resides in Des Moines, heads a wholesale insurance firm with nearly 50 employees.

He is among three Democrats running for Congress in Iowa’s 3rd District, which covers 16 counties in southwest Iowa and includes the cities of Des Moines and Council Bluffs. The others candidates are Pete D’Alessandro of Des Moines, who directed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign in Iowa; and Cindy Axne of West Des Moines, a former state government official who now heads a digital design firm.

The primary election is June 5. The Democrats are seeking the right to oppose two-term U.S. Rep. David Young, a Republican from Van Meter, in November’s general election.

Here are three takeaways on other issues from Mauro’s meeting at the Register:

‘PUBLIC OPTION’ FOR HEALTH CARE: Mauro said he can support a single-payer health care system in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan, but he doubts it’s possible under the current makeup of the Senate and with the White House under Republican control. As an alternative, he suggests strengthening the Affordable Care Act and fully funding private exchanges. 

Mauro also favors adding a public option for health care, which would create a government-run health insurance agency to compete with other private health insurance companies. In addition, he said more emphasis is needed on mental health and substance abuse treatment, and taking steps to make sure health insurance is affordable.

‘IF LEIF ERICKSON WOULD HAVE SETTLED IN MEXICO…’: Mauro contends the nation’s immigration debate has become a “red herring” used for political expediency. He describes the immigration system as broken and he views the solution as immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship.

“We want people who are otherwise good citizens, and who could be good citizens in this country, and we want them to stay in this country because they are integral to this country,” he said.

Mauro also suggested racism is a factor behind the nation’s immigration debate. “If Leif Erikson would have settled in Mexico, and if Mexico was a blond, blue-eyed, white-skinned country today, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” he said.

FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE WILL BE GOOD FOR RURAL ECONOMY: Mauro believes the country should place more emphasis on fighting climate change, and he said he wants to be in the forefront of the conversation. He favors initiatives to push for 100 percent renewable energy as soon as possible and to find ways to reduce emissions that are contributing to the problem. 

“There is so much more that we can do, and it will be good for our rural economy,” Mauro added, suggesting there is a potential to create thousands of green energy jobs.

Editor’s note: The Des Moines Register Editorial Board is hosting meetings with Democratic primary candidates for governor and for Iowa’s 3rd District candidates. Each candidate is scheduled for a one-hour interview in advance of the Register board’s endorsements in the Democratic primaries. Reporters will monitor these interviews and write on each. Reporters do not participate in Editorial Board deliberations.

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