Congressional candidate Christie Vilsack said Wednesday that when she was a middle school teacher she strived to get to know her students and maximize their potential.
During a visit to Fort Dodge, the Democrat from Ames promised to pursue a similar strategy regarding the 39 counties in the 4th Congressional District.
''Every day I should be doing something to make sure that I advance the economic opportunities in these counties,'' she said to about 60 people in the Webster County Democratic Party headquarters at 1014 Central Ave.
-Messenger photos by Hans Madsen
Congressional candidate Christie Vilsack speaks Wednesday evening during a campaign stop at Webster County Democratic headquarters on Central Avenue in downtown Fort Dodge.
Vilsack, who's running against Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King, of Kiron, said she wants to make it possible for children living in small towns throughout northern Iowa to stay there to pursue good paying and interesting jobs.
''My goal in running for Congress is that everybody here in this room and everybody, all 750,000 people in this district, can look their children and grandchildren in the eye and say 'here's the job,''' she said.
The candidate pledged to combine her focus on economic development with a ''spirit of civility and cooperation.'' She said the temperament of a member of Congress is just as important as their stands on issues.
''I think at this particular time in our history people need somebody who has the temperament to walk into a room and sit down and put good ideas on the table, invite everybody to the table,'' Vilsack said.
She criticized Congress for taking a monthlong recess without passing a farm bill, a long-term transportation bill or energy legislation. Without those bills, the country lacks a roadmap for the future, Vilsack added.
''Congress has not gotten done what they needed to get done,'' she said. ''You're not supposed to go on recess if you haven't gotten your work done.''
The farm bill, she said, is the most important federal legislation for Iowa's economy.
The Senate passed its version of a farm bill on June 21. The House Agriculture Committee passed its version on July 12, but the full House has yet to consider it. Vilsack said King hasn't signed a congressional petition directing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to bring the measure up for debate.
Following her speech, Vilsack said she ''really likes'' the Senate version of the bill. However, she said she doesn't support the Senate provision that links crop insurance with conservation programs.
She's far less impressed with the House farm bill, which she said eliminates rural development funding and money for renewable energy. She added that it ''drastically cuts'' the food stamp program which she said helps the working poor. She added that farmers get 14 cents of every dollar spent on the program. That's more than farmers get from federal direct payments.