U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-IA, made a stop in Marshalltown Saturday afternoon talking important issues with constituents and also to voice his support of Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center, in the upcoming general election.
This endorsement comes at a critical time in Sodders' re-election campaign as his seat is one of the biggest threats for Republicans who want to take back the Iowa Senate this November.
"He's a great guy, and he's a great senator," Harkin, a long time friend of Sodders', said Saturday at a luncheon with supporters. "He's the best senator for this district."
T-R PHOTO BY LUKE STALZER
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-IA, laughs with Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center, and his wife Carrie, after making a stop in Marshalltown to endorse the state senator. Harkin said Sodders is the best man to represent Senate District 36 in the Iowa Legislature.
Sodders is running against Republican Jane Jech, of Marshalltown, in November, and he said it's going to be a fight, but he believes with the job he has done so far, he will be able to serve another four years in the senate.
"I feel I have done a great job for this district," Sodders said. "I've gotten out there and have been meeting people and that's what it's going to take."
Harkin said a main focus in this election will be on economic growth, and he believes with Sodders' experience heading the economic growth committee, he will do great.
"He's a good, solid leader," Harkin said. "We need to be putting focus on energy, manufacturing agriculture and those areas, and that's what Steve's been doing."
Jech said Harkin's endorsement of Sodders what totally expected, and said she is still expecting more endorsements to be coming for her after being endorsed by former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum earlier this week.
"I expected that coming," Jech said of the endorsement. "He's right in line with Sodders and Obama and everyone; they're all for big government and big spending. But I look forward to more endorsements in the future."
Jech agreed with Sodders that the race for the senate seat is going to be hard-fought, but she said she's been getting great response from voters.
"It's going to be obvious that Sodders and I are two different people," Jech said. "It will be a tough fight."
Sodders said, overall, he was humbled that Harkin would make the stop to support him.
"This is a major endorsement," Sodders said. "The fact that he would take time out of his schedule for this is great."
Harkin also touched on key issues on the national level with constituents including immigration, the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare," and community action.
After stopping in Marshalltown, Harkin made a stop in State Center to see the work that had been done with the challenge grants awarded to the community from the government. Challenge grants are capacity-building grants intended to help institutions and organizations secure long-term improvements and support for their humanities programs and resources.