U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, told a modest-sized crowd Friday that she would “work with anyone” to serve her constituents in Iowa’s Third Congressional District.
She spoke to attendees at the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon at Holiday Inn & Suites.
Axne, who defeated former Congressman David Young in 2018 to win a seat in Congress, said she worked hard to help pass a relief bill for Midwestern flood victims, get more money for Iowa farmers affected by flooding and secure money to rebuild infrastructure.
“When Iowans are in need, Iowans step in and help; but that doesn’t mean we don’t need help,” she said.
Axne said she is working “to make sure every single person in our district has access to health care. We’re in a crisis when it comes to rural health care in this country.”
She is a member of a Democratic health care task force in the House, she said, and is working to protect Medicare Advantage.
Axne said she is working with others to end a requirement for physicians to be present for outpatient therapeutic services.
“That’s tough for our rural areas,” she said. “We don’t need to have a physician on site, we just need to have a qualified person delivering the care,” such as a nurse practitioner.
Both parties are working to make prescription drugs more affordable, Axne said, but “Big Pharma” is collaborating with manufacturers of generic medications to limit competition.
“We have to be sure that we always help businesses grow, but we also need to protect consumers,” she said.
Likewise, we need to protect farmers but also protect water quality and the environment, she said.
Axne said she is also on a rural broadband task force.
“We need to make sure everyone has access to broadband services,” she said. “We can’t compete if we don’t. This is the electrification of today. I’m going to make sure we get broadband out here to every corner of Iowa.”
Axne said the machinery of the federal government needs to be fixed.
“We know that things are fairly dysfunctional in Washington,” she said. “We have folks out there that understand it’s not just about policy.”
Axne earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at University of Iowa and an MBA at Northwestern University and worked for the State of Iowa for about nine years before shifting her focus to a business venture with her husband.
She worked in the Department of Administrative Services, Department of Management and as a division manager in the Department of Natural Resources, serving under Democratic Govs. Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver and Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.
Axne said the House is trying to pass spending bills as quickly as possible so there will not be another government shutdown.
“We can’t have another government shutdown,” she said.
Robert Fairchild asked if the Democrats were going to do anything about the federal deficit.
Axne said the national debt is increasing at an “astronomical rate.”
“We had a tax bill that helped the wealthiest of the wealthy and the big profitable corporations,” she said.
They need to pay their “fair share,” Axne said.
However, House Democrats are “not currently working on a tax bill,” she said in response to a follow-up question.
Axne also said the government needs to work efficiently and make good use of taxpayers’ money.