Rita Hart states her claim for Second Congressional District in one on one interview

Rita Hart.
Rita Hart.(KWQC/Rita Hart)
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 6:29 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Fresh off their final debate, it’s a tight race for the Second Congressional District between Democrat Rita Hart and Republican Marianette Miller-Meeks. They are vying to replace Congressman Dave Loebsack, who is retiring. The Second Congressional District covers Southeast Iowa, including Iowa City, Davenport and Ottumwa.

Thursday, we sat down with Miller-Meeks about her candidacy. We are highlighting Rita Hart on Friday. Hart is a former teacher and a state senator. She ran for Lt. Governor in 2018 with Fred Hubbell, losing out to Governor Kim Reynolds. That setback isn’t stopping her from wanting to continue working for the people of Iowa.

Hart has spent her entire life on the farm. She and her husband currently have a farm in Wheatland, and she grew up on a dairy farm.

“I tell people I was fortunate enough, I was raised by a strong Democratic father and a strong Republican mother,” she said. “We had a lively caucus at our dinner table every night. That’s where I learned to stand up for what I thought and it also taught me how to listen to somebody who doesn’t agree with me. That sometimes that really helped me to understand my own position, and taught me that good ideas come from everywhere.” Those values are how she feels she can tackle the political divide in this country. When Hart wasn’t on the farm, you could find her in the classroom. She’s a retired teacher. Hart hopes people come out of the pandemic with an appreciation for teachers. During an outdoor 1 on 1 social distanced interview with Hart, She says she wants to empower change in schools to embrace more technology and individual instruction.

“We ought to be changing the way the school is utilized on a day to day basis, open up the doors for longer hours,” Hart said. “Change the school calendar, change the school day to fit the need for the students and the families, so we can really accelerate what we are doing in the classroom, in a way that is satisfying to educators and to families and to students.”

On Health Insurance, Hart said she supports the Affordable Care Act and wants to work off of it to lower health costs.

“We need to work on making that more affordable, and making that more accessible, which the Affordable Care Act has done for us,” she said. “And that’s the first thing we need to do is not go backwards.”

When asked if she supports Medicare For All, she said, “What I support is a system that helps people to access that healthcare better. I think that it would be great to have a public option or perhaps a Medicare buy-in, to again to lower that cost, so that healthcare is more affordable and accessible to people.” Hart supports people protesting against police brutality. She’s been working with law enforcement, lawmakers and activists on how people can work together to address the issue.

“I do not support defunding the police,” she said. “I don’t think that makes a lot of sense, but I do think we obviously have to address systemic racism.”

Hart feels her background in agriculture and education, as well as those childhood dinner table conversations makes her the better choice for the second congressional district.

“We’re facing big issues around healthcare, around the economy, around education, around racial injustice, and I know that the only way we are going to fix these problems is if we come together, to do that together,” she said. “I’m ready to do that, I will always remember how important that is to listen to every voice at the table and work together with people, whether they’re Republicans, Democrats, Independents, I know that good ideas come from everywhere.”

Hart says she learned from her 2018 campaign to do more listening, and understanding the issues that matters most to people.

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