Knutson canvassing event features Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan
Wed, 08/15/2018 - 1:17pm admin
Sara Stromseth-Troy TPD Staff
CRESCO -- Tim Knutson, Democratic candidate for the Iowa House of Representatives for District 51, was joined by Tim Ryan, U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 13th congressional district at a canvassing launch event held in Cresco Saturday morning.
Howard County residents interested in canvassing on Knutson’s behalf gathered at the Cresco Public Library meeting room to discuss strategy.
Prior to the session, both candidate Knutson and Congressman Ryan spoke with the Cresco Times Plain Dealer:
Knutson, on the decision to move the canvassing session from Osage to Cresco, said, “The reason I asked to move it here to Cresco is that I had finished all of my initial canvassing efforts in Osage. I’m looking for some assistance in meeting all of the folks here and have them meet me and know who I am.”
Knutson said the Cresco meeting will prepare his local and regional supporters to go door-to-door on his behalf.
“We will be doing some door-knocking training and getting out into the community,” Knutson said.
“Tim Ryan, a congressman from Ohio, was at the Iowa Wingding event, which is the Democratic event in Clear Lake. He spoke along with several others,” Knutson said.
Congressman Ryan talked about why he came to Iowa to support Knutson’s candidacy:
“There is an opportunity for us to find a lot of independent voters and by bringing some attention to a guy like Tim, we can improve those chances,” he said.
Ryan continued, “It’s about getting good people into office who are qualified, thoughtful and kindhearted, and Tim (Knutson) meets all of those standards. He’s jumping into the race and wants to help. I think a candidate like this can talk to Independent voters, people who don’t necessarily fall into party lines. He’s a good, smart guy, so let’s put him into office.”
As the meeting began, Congressman Ryan said, “It’s good to be here with the campaign for Iowa. I want to say thanks to everybody and thanks, Tim, for running. This is not the best political environment to say, ‘Hey, why don’t you come into the madness’, but it’s more important than ever for us to get really good candidates.”
Addressing the audience, Ryan said, “I think it’s important with the grassroots you are going to be doing today and onward just to meet Tim and say, ‘This is a smart guy. This guy has a lot of experience and can advocate for our issues.’ It’s just critical, and I think in the madness today with social media and the 24-hour news cycle, to knock on someone’s door, look them in the eye, and talk can really cut through a lot of that stuff. I wanted to come help this race. We need you. This is going to be an interesting race.”
Democratic Party Tri-County Chairman Curt Meyer, who serves Howard, Mitchell and Worth counties, said, “The morning that the New York Times story came out about the swing voters in Iowa, dateline Cresco, I must have had by 8:30 a.m. 10 people on the East Coast saying, ‘This is near you, isn’t it, Curt?’ Yes it is, and if it can swing from Obama to Trump, it can swing from Trump to Tim Knutson. We can win this district back, but it’s not going to happen with aerial assault; it’s going to happen on the ground. It’s going to happen when we knock on doors, when we get the yard signs out, when we talk to people in union halls, church halls and every other place. When we (as a party) get away from that, chances are, we are going to fall short.”
Knutson said, “I truly believe that all politics starts locally. I can be part of the process of getting Iowa back on the right track. We can get our nation back on the right track, too. It has got to start here in the states, and we can build it nationally. With people like Tim Ryan helping us, I’ve got a bright future and an opportunity to undo a lot of the damage that I think Trump has done to this country.”
Meyer told a story about a meeting he had with Knutson.
“I think we have a top-flight candidate ready to step up. I was meeting with Tim over coffee in Northwood. Northwood is in Worth County, which is one county west of me. I didn’t want him to think he was talking to somebody who didn’t know Worth County, so I brought the history book: My great-great uncle was the first white man west of the Shell Rock River and the second settler in Worth County and here’s his picture. Tim said, ‘Well, he was second because my great-great grandfather was first.’ So, his people and my people have lived next to each other for 165 years.”
Meyer continued, “I love that our families are deeply rooted in north Iowa. When you are rooted in a community, it means you take the long view on some of these issues like health care and education. These are issues that Tim is able to speak to and these are issues that speak to the long-term future of our state and indeed, our country.”
Knutson said, “One of the speakers last night (at an event in Clear Lake) addressed the fact that Iowa used to be number one in education in the country and I commented that I am old enough to remember that. Now we have fallen to something like 34th in the country. We need to restore that and keep good teachers in Iowa.
“One of the stories I heard while stopping and talking to a couple were the changes to eliminating their collective bargaining rights, they were already looking outside of the state for employment. We’re going to be losing good teachers in the state of Iowa if we can’t face that and improve the funding for education in this country. To lose 53-year-old teachers who are in their prime to the Rochesters or Austins and Albert Leas and are going across the state line, that’s a brain drain we haven’t talked about enough.”
Ryan said, “My district is just south of Cleveland. The issues are the same for our candidates, talking about health care plays everywhere. Wages are up 2.7 percent but inflation is up three percent, so people are still falling further behind. The old indicators, the old metrics don’t play anymore. People are falling behind.”
Knutson said, “I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Tim Ryan for being here to help out this campaign. I never expected to have someone of his stature to come into House District 51 in Iowa to help me out, and I’m very gratified. I still have a lot to do here in Cresco.”
Asked by an audience member what the Democrats’ message should be, Knutson said, “In my humble opinion, our messages should be three things: We’re the party of economics; we’re the party of health care security; and we are the party of retirement issues. We’ll go to the mat on these issues for people. We are the party of the people and for the people.
“The challenge we have is that most of the issues facing the state and this country are complex issues. These are complex issues and people like simple answers, and we’ve got to be able to distill that down to answers people can understand and hold onto. Your program has to be clear and concise. These issues are complex, but we are going to be here for you, and we know what you are going through as a party or as candidates.”
As they prepared to canvass, audience members were directed to consider what their personal stories were and how it has affected them and were also provided with a script to use in going door-to-door.
They were told to acknowledge any grievances expressed, to apologize for them and to tell them how Democratic leaders were going to act to alleviate those grievances.