DES MOINES -- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell called out Gov. Kim Reynolds on Saturday for not taking a more aggressive public stance on behalf of Iowa farmers hurt by President Trump's trade war with China rather than "towing the party line" in the trade dispute.
During a speech at the Iowa State Fair, Hubbell said farmers, implement dealers, suppliers and other ag interests are "on the edge" financially due to the trade war, but Reynolds hasn't used her White House access to press for swift resolution.
"We need a governor who is going to stand up for Iowans, not stand up for who's in Washington, D.C.
"When you are elected governor, you're elected to serve the citizens of our state, not a party and not whoever is in D.C.," Hubbell said.
President Trump had made it known before the 2016 election he favored tariffs and tough trade talk, Hubbell said, and that would have been the appropriate time for Reynolds to discuss how harmful a trade war would be for Iowa.
"Our governor didn't try to stop that, and once it started she basically has been towing the party line. Chuck Grassley's been a lot harder on this whole Trump and tariff war issue, and he's right," Hubbell said.
Trump visited Iowa last month on the heels of his administration's announced plan to provide up to $12 billion in aid to help farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs. Much of the help will come in the form of direct payments.
"Iowa farmers don't want a hand out. Iowa farmers want good, open markets so they can supply their products," Hubbell said Saturday. "We need a governor who's going to stand up for Iowans and protect the interests of agriculture, our farming community, rural Iowa and our farmers as a first obligation."