Senate candidate Woods visits UNI

Democratic+candidate+for+the+U.S.+Senate+Cal+Woods+visited+UNI+on+Thursday%2C+Feb.+27+in+Maucker+Union+to+discuss+his+platform+with+students.+Woods+is+challenging+current+U.S.+Senator+Joni+Ernst.

ANNA ALLDREDGE

Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Cal Woods visited UNI on Thursday, Feb. 27 in Maucker Union to discuss his platform with students. Woods is challenging current U.S. Senator Joni Ernst.

ANNA ALLDREDGE, Staff Writer

On Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., the Northern Iowa Democrats held a roundtable with U.S. Senate candidate Cal Woods in Maucker Union. Woods is running as one of the Democratic challengers to U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who will be up for reelection this fall. 

Woods is a Navy veteran, former news reporter and current realtor. After his time in the Navy, he graduated from the University of Iowa in journalism. His decision to run for Senate stemmed from the vulnerability of Joni Ernst’s Senate seat, this being her first time up for reelection, as well as the lack of obvious choices for the Democratic ticket, according to Woods.   

During the event, Woods touched on three major political issues the United States is currently facing and how he would be a flexible and cooperative player in the Senate for Iowa. First, he discussed inefficient healthcare systems and how they are currently benefitting big pharmaceutical and insurance companies. He then touched on the climate crisis, as well as the ideological roots of our nation’s leadership. 

“Right now, we have a president who’s capitalizing on our fears,” Woods said. He discussed how current leadership in this country promotes racism, bigotry and intolerance, and how the political environment needs to drastically change in the coming years.

He also believes a large purpose of the Senate is to hold the executive branch accountable.

“Our United States Senate under the leadership of Mitch McConnell and the dutiful [conformity] of our junior Senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst, has done nearly nothing to keep this president in check,” Woods said.

Another big portion of Woods’ platform stems from the climate crisis the world is facing and will continue to face in the coming years. He believes in the inevitability of large numbers of climate refugees, especially from islander nations and stressed the need to prepare for the future. 

“There are solutions out there,” Woods said. “We just have to find the political will to send the right people to Washington.”

After speaking, Woods opened up the discussion to questions from attendees. He fielded questions about everything from agriculture’s impact on climate change to immigration and refugee protection to stigmatization of mental health. 

On the subject of agriculture and climate, he emphasized the importance of considering farmers as allies, not as perpetrators of poor environmental practices.

“For a few pennies a meal, we can raise enough money to subsidize farmers to plant cover crops, buffer strips and greenways along our rivers,” Woods said.

As for mental health practices, Woods would advocate for the destigmatization of mental health services, considering it “no different than physical health.” He also proposed access to mental health services for currently incarcerated individuals, as it would result in rehabilitation for many. 

Woods concluded the evening by thanking the NI Democrats and reminding them of the primary which will take place on June 2, 2020.