WATERLOO - A John Deere retiree hopes his common-sense approach in solving problems wins his bid for the Republican nomination for Iowa's 1st Congressional District seat.
Mike LaCoste, 56, will seek the GOP nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo. The district covers 12 counties in eastern Iowa, including Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Jackson, Jones and Scott.
"One thing you're going to see from me is just your typical, average, common-sense American," LaCoste said. "That's all we need to run this country."
Other Republican candidates include Independence lawyer Ben Lange, Jim Budde of Bellevue and Will Johnson of Dubuque. Brian Cook of Manchester recently withdrew from the race.
LaCoste wants Americans to band together to take back freedoms the country's founding fathers fought for with the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, natural law and the Bill of Rights.
"Those rights were given to us by God," he said. "Our Congress in Washington does not understand that."
LaCoste switched his voter registration to Republican in 2009 after 38 years as an independent. The Republican party better represents his conservative values and what the U.S. Constitution once stood for, he said.
"People need to reach across party lines and do what's best for the country," he said.
While the move seems to clash with his being a longtime member of the United Auto Workers Local 838, he supports unions at large companies like John Deere but also believes in right-to-work states.
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LaCoste supports a fair tax and said reducing income tax will spur economic growth and create jobs. Also, the government needs to cut spending and taxes and exercise fiscal discipline, he said.
"I live within my means," he said. "I expect my government to live within its means."
Years of government corruption need cleaning up and term limits established, he added.
"To serve your country or serve your state should be a privilege," he said. "It shouldn't be a career. Serve your term and get the heck out. People in there for years and years become lame ducks."
On health care reform, LaCoste said, "When you remodel your bathroom or kitchen, you don't tear your whole house down. Fix what needs to be fixed."
LaCoste grew up around Bremer, Butler and Black Hawk counties. He currently lives in Waterloo with his wife, Peggy. They have two grown kids.
LaCoste attended classes at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and Hawkeye Community College, then Hawkeye Tech. He completed educational programs through John Deere before retiring from the company after 36 years in 2008.
LaCoste coached football, track and baseball on and off for 13 years in the Waterloo school district. He is a member of St. Edward's Catholic Church.
In 2004, LaCoste made an unsuccessful bid for a seat with the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors, running as an independent.