DES MOINES — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield expressed frustration and disappointment Tuesday with the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic that appears to be building again as Iowans brace for the upcoming flu season.
Greenfield, who is challenging first-term GOP Sen. Joni Ernst in the Nov. 3 election, paused from her campaign schedule to drop off two absentee ballots — hers and her husband’s — at the Polk County Auditor’s office before telling reporters that health care issues are at the top of voters’ minds as the Nov. 3 election approaches.
“Health care is on the ballot. It’s the No. 1 topic,” she said. “In my last couple tele-town halls where we’ve had about 250 people joining us, health care is the No. 1 thing. They have pre-existing conditions. They’re worried about losing it. They rely on their rural hospitals. They’re worried about losing Medicaid expansion and if their hospital will close.”
On the eve of President Donald Trump’s first campaign rally in Iowa since he contracted the coronavirus, Greenfield reiterated her support for a statewide mask mandate that has been recommended by the White House coronavirus task force but opposed by Ernst and Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.
“We have seen the high infection rates, the high hospitalization rates, and we know that wearing a mask can be very effective” in helping to control the COVID-19 spread, added Greenfield.
The businesswoman also called on Congress and the president to approve a stimulus package that would include more measures to mitigate the pandemic, such as improving contact tracing, expanding the supply of personal protective equipment and requiring more protections and financial aid for workers.
“I certainly have been frustrated with the response from Washington and the leadership, absolutely,” she said. “We have some of the highest infection rates and death rates. We just have to follow those public health guidelines, and we need leaders from the top all the way down to make it clear you need to wear a mask, you need to social distance, understanding how this disease is spread and following those guidelines as best they can.”