Theresa Greenfield visits Waukee Hardware in small business tour
Waukee was first on Theresa Greenfield's list of stops Saturday as part of the U.S. Senate candidate's Democratic campaign with less than two weeks remaining until Election Day.
With a proposed "Back on Our Feet" initiative, the business leader and candidate visited with potential voters at Waukee Hardware and Rent-It Center to discuss ongoing concerns and action amid continued unrest with the coronavirus' impact.
"I try really hard every time I get into towns to stop in at small businesses, whether it's hardware stores or shops or restaurants, and just walk the main streets. And many of them, their revenues are down 60-80 percent," the junior senator candidate said.
YMCA Waukee district executive director Eric Kress was in attendance and spoke to that struggle specifically as the local staff went down from 1,100 total employees to only 600 following the YMCA's eventual reopening that resurfaced with a third fewer memberships and revenue.
"Who would have thought we would be in a pandemic right now? But character, leadership, integrity, all that counts and people need to see who you are. So that's what I've been doing," Greenfield said.
On her campaign website, her plan to help such a situation includes expanding paid sick leave and extending unemployment benefits to $600 a week and providing more relief to small businesses rather than corporate bailouts.
Specific to the situation at hand Saturday, Greenfield also touted her experience as a business owner with "hometown" and "midwestern" ethics to get work done.
"Worked in small businesses almost all my life and just like you, my customers weren't republicans or democrats," she said. "I also worked as a city planner for about 14 years. It's a community effort to get things done. And on the farm my dad always said, 'There's no boys jobs, there's no girl jobs. There are just jobs that need to get done.'"
That same philosophy was shared by the group of the store's high school workers who encouraged Greenfield to "view each idea with an open mind" and not just toe the party line. Greenfield was also enthusiastic about their school system and said that Waukee's level of education needs to be "everywhere."
Encouraged by the conversations with the dozen attendees and store customers, Greenfield said she's most "optimistic about Iowa."
"I've loved every minute of it. Meeting people, hearing their stories, learning about their businesses," Greenfield said. "There's amazing entrepreneurs across the state that really fire me up for our future."