Scott Heldt lands endorsement from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack

Scott Heldt of Perry, right, landed a high-powered endorsement Saturday in his bid for a seat in the Iowa House of Representatives for District 20. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak, center, threw his support behind Heldt. Vilsak was seconded by Christie Vilsak, second from left, Kent Scheib of Perry, second from right, and Cheri Scheib of Perry, left. The Scheibs hosted the reception for the Vilsaks and about 30 others in their rural Perry home.

Scott Heldt’s run for a seat in the Iowa House of Representatives gained momentum Saturday when he was endorsed by former Iowa Gov. and current U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Vilsack was in town for a reception held for Heldt in the rural Perry home of Kent and Cheri Scheib. Heldt, a Democrat, is running for the Iowa House District 20 seat currently held by nine-term incumbent Rep. Clel Baudler (R-Greenfield).

Vilsack, Christie Vilsack and about 30 others joined the Scheibs for afternoon refreshments and some talk about the political prospects for Democrats in Iowa and nationwide in a general election with Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket. Vilsack also made some brief remarks about traditional Iowa values in relation to Heldt’s candidacy.

“I understand something unique about us,” Vilsack said. “First of all, I understand that we are absolutely committed to the next generation of Iowans. We really, genuinely believe that we have a responsibility to make sure that our children and grandchildren have a better life. That’s why we strongly support education.”

Heldt has made education a crucial issue in his campaign, criticizing his opponent in particular and the current state leadership in general for shortchanging Iowa’s public schools.

“Secondly, we are rooted to our land and our water,” Vilsack said. “It defines who we are, and we are committed to making sure our natural resources are dealt with in a sustainable way.”

Water quality is another key issue for Heldt, and the recently adjourned legislative session’s inability to pass and fund any water-quality legislation is further evidence of failed leadership at the statehouse and the governor’s mansion.

Vilsack’s third point focused on the state universities, which he said “is a great system, but it’s been politicized.” He said more legislative leadership is needed to check the governor in his political abuse of the universities.

“We’re not where we need to be, and Scott understands that,” Vilsack said. “The election of this young man is about who we are, what we stand for, what we value. It’s that important.”

Heldt is the only Democrat candidate in the primary election for House District 20. He said he will continue to travel the district, which includes the northwest portion of Dallas County and all of Guthrie and Adair and part of Cass counties.

Among the other politicians attending the Heldt party were former Iowa Sen. James R. Riordan of Waukee and Iowa Rep. Nancy Dunkel (D-Dyersville). Heldt worked as a legislative aid for Dunkel in 2013 and 2014.

For more information about Heldt’s campaign, visit his website.

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