DES MOINES — Progressive Coralville nurse and labor activist Cathy Glasson landed the support Thursday of members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund in her quest to be the Iowa Democratic Party's choice for governor in 2018.
"We're supporting Cathy because Cathy supports us," chanted CCI members who gathered at the 4,000-member activist network's statewide headquarters to announce that Glasson had won the group's endorsement.
"She's a fighter, just like Iowa CCI Action is," Cherie Mortice of Des Moines said at a news conference where Glasson was greeted with shouts in unison of "Iowa needs a nurse."
Glasson, 58, one of seven candidates for the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, is the president of Service Employees International Union Local 199. She's a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics where she led unionizing efforts 18 years ago.
CCI officials said a 27-member endorsement panel spend two months reviewing candidate questionnaires, conducting four in-person candidate screening meetings and surveying members before backing Glasson in the Democratic primary. They pledged that the endorsement would be a "working endorsement," with CCI Action members across the state organizing for Glasson and her "bold progressive" movement.
"Together, we are going to pursue the radically different idea of giving every Iowan a voice in state government again," Glasson told the gathering. "It's clear now is not the time for half measures. Now is the time to approach politics in a different way, to govern in a very different way. We need to bring regular Iowans to the decision-making process instead of shutting them out."
Glasson called for raising the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour, winning back and expanding collective bargaining and union rights for workers in Iowa and expanding access to affordable health care for Iowans by pushing Congress to pass a "Medicare for all" approach.
"If Washington isn't going to do the right thing, we'll fight for universal single-payer right here in Iowa," she said.
Glasson also supported imposing a moratorium on new permits for large-scale commercial animal feeding operations until the number of impaired waterways in Iowa are reduced from 750 to less than 100 statewide.
"It's our time," she told the group. "Let's rise up."
Carlos Cruz, spokesman for the Republican Party of Iowa, weighed in on CCI's choice after the endorsement was made public.
"Given how Fred Hubbell, Andy McGuire, and Nate Boulton have failed to speak up on issues like socialized medicine, it should come as no surprise to anyone that a liberal activist group like Iowa CCI has endorsed Cathy Glasson," Cruz said in his statement. "As Democrats race to the far left, it'll become increasingly clear that Democrats lack the vision or leadership necessary to succeed in a general election."