CEDAR RAPIDS — Todd Prichard wears many hats as a private citizen, attorney, state lawmaker and candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor.
For the next three weeks, the Charles City Iowa House member will be off the campaign trail while he wears the hat of an Army Reserve officer in multination training exercise.
Prichard, 43, a lieutenant colonel, will be going to Bulgaria for his annual training beginning Sunday with about 200 members of a his unit that is responsible for making sure supplies flow into the theater of operations.
“Our goal is to increase our readiness and proficiency,” said Prichard, who enlisted in the Reserve while a student at the University of Iowa in 1996. This will be his fifth overseas tour as part of the Reserve and Iowa Army National Guard. He was deployed to El Salvador in 1998, Kuwait in 2000, Egypt in 2003, and Iraq in 2006 and 2007.
In addition to improving military readiness, Prichard believes his 22 years in the military is an important part of his preparation and qualification to be governor.
“It plays into the narrative of who I am,” Prichard said. His service offers insight “into who I am and how I view service. Running for governor is an extension of me serving.”
His service and experience as a leader would “definitely be an asset” as governor.
“Being an officer for a couple of decades has given me a real education on how to lead as well as perspective on what it means to be responsible for the well-being of others,” Prichard said.
The centerpiece of Prichard’s campaign is his “50-50 in 5” plan to create 50,000 jobs that pay at least $50,000 a year in the first five years of his administration. To do that, he said, the state will need to invest in education, infrastructure such as broadband and re-prioritizing state economic development resources such as tax credits to attract companies that will create good-paying jobs.
Prichard plans campaign events through the end of the week before he departs Sunday. In Bulgaria, his unit will be participating in Exercise Saber Guardian 2017, a multinational exercise under U.S. European Command’s Joint Exercise Program with between 30,000 and 40,000 soldiers from Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, the United States, NATO allies, and Partnership for Peace nations.
During the annual training, military rules restrict Prichard from engaging in political activity. However, his staff and supporters will continue to organize volunteers, raise resources and participate in events across the state, according to spokesman Norm Sterzenbach.
In addition to Prichard, former Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn, Sen. Nate Boulton of Des Moines, former Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire, former Des Moines school board President Jon Neiderbach, John Norris, former aide to Sen. Tom Harkin and Gov. Tom Vilsack, Coralville nurse and union president Cathy Glasson and Des Moines businessman Fred Hubbell are running or contemplating a bid for the Democratic nomination.