Scott County voters are an important part of the upcoming presidential election in November, to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Sunday in Davenport.

Vilsack spoke in support of Hillary Clinton on Sunday afternoon at the Scott County Democrats Picnic in the Park, where about 60 people gathered near Credit Island Park Lodge, 2200 W. River Drive, Davenport.

Scott County voters must ensure every registered voter casts a ballot, he said. “None of this will happen without Scott County,” which always has been a “close county,” the former Iowa governor (1999-2007) said. “It’s a tight race” in an election that is the “single most important election in my lifetime.”

“We will be a different country … if we sit on the sidelines, don’t vote, and allow this country to elect Donald Trump,” Vilsack said.

Sunny skies sprinkled with fluffy clouds and a temperature that reached a high of 75 provided a picture-perfect backdrop for the gathering along the river.

Vilsack drew cheers and applause when he talked about Clinton’s plan to “create an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the very top.”

He contrasted Clinton's plans to invest in Iowa families with Trump's plan, which would create a new tax loophole that would benefit the wealthy by cutting a significant portion of their taxes.

Additionally, he criticized Trump for not making his tax returns public.

“Every year I was governor, I put out my tax return,” Vilsack said. “Why doesn’t Donald Trump?” Part of the reason, he said, is that Trump “is not as charitable as he’d like you to think.”

Vilsack thinks Trump has “money parked outside the United States.” But the Republican standard-bearer rump could prove him wrong, Vilsack said: “All he has to do is show us his tax returns.”

He compared Clinton’s approach to Trump’s on several issues:

• Minimum wage: Clinton wants to raise the minimum wage, while Trump has said the minimum wage should be lowered.

• National security: Trump wants to isolate the United States, and to “bring torture back,” Vilsack said. “It won’t be any of s that pay the price for that,” he said — it will be “people in uniform.”

• Building relationships: Clinton has built relationships to get things done as secretary of state, Vilsack said. Trump essentially plans to delegate running the country of this vice president, Vilsack said.

• The middle class: The 10 percent of wealthy families have 76 percent of the wealth in the United States, Vilsack said. Trump “want to cut the estate tax. There’s not a single person in this audience that will benefit. Clinton’s economic plan, including making public college tuition-free, will help working families."

Clinton is a loyal, caring person, Vilsack said. In 1998, when he was behind in the gubernatorial election, Clinton supported him. “I want you to know how loyal this woman is,” Vilsack said.

Among supporters in the crowd was Rep. Cindy Winckler, D-Davenport, who is running unopposed in District 90. She said the November election will “set the direction for the county for the next 20 years.” She said the United States will not be a healthy nation until it addresses such topics as health care and mental health.

Other supporters included Iowa Sen. Chris Brase, D-Muscatine, who in Senate District 46 will challenge Republican Mark Lofgren, also of Muscatine, a former House member. Brase said Vilsack is doing a wonderful job. “He understands what’s important to the people of this country. We all are better, the more we work together.”

Brase joined Ken Krumwiede, of Davenport, in expressing concern about education funding. Democrat Krumwiede, a former Davenport School Board member, will face District 92 State Rep. Ross Paustian, R-Walcott, in November.

“Our kids are not being treated equally,” Krumwiede said. He said students in the Davenport district, and other districts I the state, receive $175 less than students in other districts. “How long do we have to wait before we get equal funding our kids in the state?” Krumwiede asked.

After Vilsack’s speech, he stayed for some time to shake hands with well-wishers and have his picture taken with supporters.


Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Broadcast Film Critics Association member. College instructor for criminal justice, English and math. Serves on Safer Foundation and The Salvation Army advisory boards. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church