bruce braley
U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, announced his re-election bid today. (FILE PHOTO)

U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley announced Wednesday he will run for re-election, saying he will continue to encourage innovation and growth in the economy.

Braley stopped in Davenport to visit with small-business leaders at Tri-City Electric’s new building under construction on North Brady Street. The building has several state-of-the-art, energy-efficient features, such as solar panels.

“It starts with strengthening and investing in education,” said Braley, a Waterloo Democrat. “I’m proud that the very first bill I introduced in Congress — the New Era Act — has created opportunities for the next generation of researchers and technicians in biofuels.”

Braley said he worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass the bill, and as a result, the Eastern Iowa Community College District and Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo, are preparing students for jobs supporting green technologies.

He said he recently introduced the New Era Expansion Act to create similar opportunities to educate students for careers in wind energy and other energy-efficient efforts. “Iowa is a leader in harnessing the power of wind to create jobs in the construction, maintenance and repair of the giant turbines that dot our farmland around the state.”

Steve Chesley, executive manager of the Quad-City chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, said his organization supports Braley. “He’s been very supportive for us in terms of tax breaks and tax incentives for energy efficiency, such as wind and solar.”

Chesley said Braley also is working to repeal a law that would institute a 3 percent withholding tax on construction contractors that do government work. He said Braley also has worked to support efforts at requiring government to do business with legitimate firms that have strong performance records.

“The thing we really like about Congressman Braley is that while he’s a Democrat and very much supported by labor, he has a strong understanding of business and what it takes for businesses to succeed,” Chesley said. “He’s been very good about understanding both sides of an issue.”

Braley is unopposed in the June 8 Democratic primary. Four candidates are seeking the Republican primary nomination to face him in November. They are James R. Budde of Bellevue, Will Johnson of Dubuque, Mike LaCoste of Waterloo and Benjamin M. Lange of Independence.

In response to Braley’s announcement, Iowa Republican Party executive director Jim Anderson said Braley “is the wrong choice for hard-working Iowans,” following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on issues such as the federal stimulus, cap-and-trade energy proposals and health care.

“Already, Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer (Deere & Co.) has said the health-care bill will cost them $150 million,” Anderson said. “Clearly, Braley is not worried about keeping Iowans employed. Our Republican candidates will continue sharing their principled solutions with voters.”