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Political Mercury

Hatch: More women on running-mate short list, beginning to vet people


Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch is likely to agree with his November political foe Gov. Terry Branstad — and Iowa’s last three governors — on at least this: the gender of the lieutenant governor candidate.

“I’m not picking a woman just to pick a woman, but more women are on my list,” Hatch, a state senator from Des Moines, said in an interview.

Hatch said he has seven to nine people on the short list for his running mate. He is the only declared Democratic candidate seeking his party’s nomination in the June 3 primary.

“There are people from western Iowa as well as eastern Iowa,” Hatch said in a wide-ranging, hour-long interview. “Nobody else is from Des Moines.”

Hatch said his campaign will make a bottom-line call on the lieutenant-governor candidate.


“The person has to be qualified to run for governor and be governor,” Hatch said. “There’s no on-the-job training. I’m not going to have her shadow.”

Branstad’s lieutenant governor, Kim Reynolds, regularly appears with the governor at official functions and campaign events.

Hatch said he would make a running-mate decision in early June after the primary.

“We’re now beginning to vet people, asking people if they would be interested and then asking a series of questions,” Hatch said.

Hatch, who declined to reveal the identities of any of the candidates under consideration, said his decision on a running mate will provide an “avenue” into his leadership style and governing philosophy and intentions.

“I would like to have somebody who has some business experience,” Hatch said.

In the final analysis, Hatch said, the race is about the two men at the top of the ticket.

“It’s about me and Branstad,” Hatch said.

Hatch has pledged that his administrative team will be at least 50 percent female.

“We have to send a really strong message to young women, in particular professional women, that there’s a role for them in government,” Hatch said.

Iowa joins Mississippi as the two states to have never elected a woman as governor or to the U.S. Senate or U.S. House.

“You can’t say it’s a Midwestern thing because Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, they’ve all done that,” Hatch said. “We’ve got a problem.”

“Everybody has a theory on it,” Hatch said. “And I don’t want to get into that kind of theoretical prospecting.”

That considered, Hatch said it is the role of the governor to help shatter the glass ceiling for women.

Does Hatch believe Reynolds is qualified to be Iowa’s governor?

“She’s more qualified now than she was when she was picked,” Hatch said.

Hatch said he if he has a female running mate, she will not campaign with him as much as Reynolds does with the governor.

“We’ll be together a lot less than the governor and lieutenant governor are,” Hatch said.

Hatch said the selection of male running mate would be something of a signal to women in Iowa politics as well.

“I could pick a male lieutenant governor candidate and send a strong message that women are going to have to really work hard and women’s supporters have to work hard to break that glass ceiling,” Hatch said.

In the economic-development arena, Hatch said, he would create a stronger role for rural communities in charting their own futures.

“The last thing you want is the state of Iowa telling rural Iowa what to do,” Hatch said. “What you want is rural Iowa telling the state what they need.”

Hatch said he would switch the economic-development strategy from “chasing smokestacks,” luring certain industry into one part of the state, to what he sees as a more grassroots approach.

“What we’re going to do is flip it around,” Hatch said. “We’re going to actually create an environment in which communities will tell us what you want.”

It is easier to retain Iowans than recruit new residents, meaning more investment in education and high-speed Internet and entertainment are needed, he said.

“Terry Branstad, he loves this state,” Hatch said. “But is he brining people back to rural Iowa? No. Loving the state, and wanting to do something for the state, and being motivated, doesn’t mean you have the strategy or the determination or even the tools to get it done.”

Night life, and major amenities, like in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, will not attract people to rural Iowa, Hatch said.

“What’s going to attract people here is families,” Hatch said. “Or smaller businesses.”

Hatch said the divide between rural and urban Iowa is real.

burns doug 12-10-25“But they don’t have to be at odds with each other,” Hatch said. “In Iowa, we rise or fall together. Unless we embrace the qualities of rural Iowa and really promote that as we’re embracing urban life, then we’re missing it. We should be talking about the quality of life in rural Iowa as something you want to preserve and develop.” CV

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who writes for The Carroll Daily Times Herald and offers columns for Cityview.

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