Abby Finkenauer

(Dubuque) -- Former Democratic Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer has launched a bid for Iowa's U.S. Senate seat in 2022.

Finkenauer held a kick-off event Thursday morning shortly after releasing a campaign launch video. Finkenauer won election to the U.S. House in 2018 in Iowa's First Congressional District, but lost a reelection bid to Ashley Hinson in 2020. Finkenauer says she will focus on blue collar values in her campaign.

"Iowa is where -- and Dubuque County -- is where I was taught kindness, about showing up for your neighbors, always lending a hand no matter what it was and being there for each other," said Finkenauer. "Whether it was calling and asking for a literal cup of sugar. Or -- in my family's case -- sometimes calling the neighbors and asking if they could help watch the kids when mom needed a hand as dad worked out of town months at a time to provide a good life for our family."

Finkenauer will seek the Senate seat that's been held by Chuck Grassley since 1980. Grassley has been fundraising, but has yet to announce if he will seek another term. Finkenauer says she wants to move the American middle class forward from "making a living" to "living a good life."

"It's the difference between being able to take a family vacation or barely being able to afford childcare," said Finkenauer. 'It's the difference between being able to take your grandchildren out to dinner or a movie or being able to afford your prescriptions at the beginning of the month."

Finkenauer took aim at Grassley's long tenure in Washington, D.C., saying career politicians have blocked the country from moving forward.

"There are policies that move us forward and there are policies that leave us behind," said Finkenauer. "Just like there are public servants who move us forward and there are politicians who leave us behind."

Finkenauer touted her record as a one-term representative, saying she voted for things like increased wages and affordable childcare. She says she wants to take her Iowa values back to D.C.

"When I was elected to Congress, I took the values that my family and the folks in this room taught me," said Finkenauer. "Which is about treating people with respect. Which is about seeing work to be done and doing it. And never thinking you are better than anyone else no matter what you do or where you go."

Finkenauer is the second Democrat to announce a run for the seat after farmer and former Crawford County Supervisor Dave Muhlbauer announced his campaign in June.

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