Davenport native Todd Prichard enters crowded 2018 Iowa governor’s race

DAVENPORT -

The 2018 Iowa Governor's race starts for Todd Prichard, 42, not far from his boyhood home.

"I grew up a stone's throw away from here," he said on Friday, May 19.

The Davenport native, who now represents Charles City as a state representative, continued his "Every Iowan Tour" with an early stop at UFCW Local 431.

"I see a lot of people who are just struggling," he continued.

Prichard, who also serves as a lawyer and longtime Army reservist, will use his unique personal background to stand apart from the pack.

"That vision is economic opportunity for everyone by expanding educational opportunities, and just expand opportunities across the board for all Iowans," he said.

He knows that an empty parking lot at Planned Parenthood in Bettendorf represents a lost opportunity.  That's after Iowa Republicans voted to defund it, forcing four clinics to close.

"We would fund Planned Parenthood," he said.  "Except, we're going in the opposite direction.  It's a shame.  It's going to hurt women.  It's going to hurt families."

That issue illustrates a sharp contrast between Iowa Republicans and Democrats.

During a stop in Davenport on January 27, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, (R) Iowa, commented on the call to defund Planned Parenthood.

"That will ensure that no taxpayer dollars go to providers that provide abortions," she said.

Iowa Democrats like Prichard describe the recent legislative session as a long, dark winter.  They're poising to rebound with a renewed push.

"It was really a wipeout at the legislative level here in Iowa," said Thom Hart, chairman of Scott County Democrats.  "People are interested in changing that."

They're so interested that already a half-dozen Democrats are entering the race. Nearly 10 others could still jump in before the June 2018 primary.

Hart says it will be a very competitive race.  Scott County Democrats will be looking for a candidate who shows a keen interest in things like education and infrastructure.

"Social, economic justice issues affecting the most vulnerable in this community and the rest of Iowa," Hart continued.

Prichard wants to reform education and offer free community college tuition. But he adds that reforms won't happen with Republicans in control in Des Moines.

"We used to be at the top of the country for education, and now we're slipping," he said.  "That's not the way we need to go.  It's not the way Iowans want to go."

At this homecoming meet-and-greet session, hoping for a chance to get a foot in the door.

"We need to change the direction of the way that this state is going," he concluded.