Bill Schafer & David Young

Left to right: Bill Schafer & David Young, GOP candidates in Iowa's Third Congressional District 

(KMAland) -- KMA News continues its "Meet the Candidates" series, featuring the candidates running in key local races in the June 2nd Iowa Primary. This special edition in the series takes a look at the two candidates running for the Republican nomination in Iowa's Third Congressional District.

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Bill Schafer announced his candidacy back in May of last year. Schafer spent 32 years in the infantry, including a deployment in Iraq, before retiring in October, 2014. He and his family have lived in Iowa for nearly 10 years and currently reside in Prole in northwestern Warren County. Schafer tells KMA News that one of the main reasons he's running for Congress is to create a dialogue about the country's federal republic.

"We should be looking at every problem from the point of view of the constitution, and using constitutional problem solving to first decide whether or not the problem belongs at the federal level for policy making," Schafer said. "If it doesn't, then of course with the 10th amendment and other portions of our constitution, we should push that topic back to the states."

Former Congressman David Young is the second candidate in the GOP primary race. Born and raised in Van Meter, Young was first elected as Iowa's Third District Congressman in 2014, and was then easily reelected in 2016 before his defeat in 2018 to current Third District Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines. Prior to his run working in the House, Young served as Iowa Senator Charles Grassley's Chief of Staff. He tells KMA News his love for the people in the third congressional district led to him entering the race.

"I have a history of working hard for Iowa and I want to continue to do that," Young said. "We need leadership, third district leadership, in Washington, D.C. We also need to get back to work. We need to put forth those solutions and values that we practice every day here in the heartland."

Both candidates are focusing on veterans-related issues during the campaign. Schafer feels his military experience will help bring solutions to problems impacting veterans throughout the country.

"I spent 32 years caring for soldiers," Schafer said. "I have some very specific ideas about the retirement phase of soldiers that I believe needs to be improved on. The department of defense has done some retirement things, but I saw some inefficiencies. I believe the overlap between being on active duty and transitioning to becoming a veteran -- the overlap between the department of defense and veteran's affairs -- I think there can be some improvements there and help soldiers with the planning of the next phase of their life or second career."

Young says he has a track record of following through with aiding veterans at both the local and federal level. For example, he noted his work with Shenandoah city officials in trying to get a new community based outpatient clinic in Shenandoah for area veterans. Ground work on that project got underway earlier this spring.

"The first bill I got passed into law was a bill to help fix the veteran's crisis line," Young said. "That suicide prevention line was not getting the attention and resources that it needed. I will continue to monitor that and make sure we have oversight of that program, as well as other veterans programs to make sure they have the healthcare that they need -- both physical and those emotional/mental services as well."

The winner of the GOP nomination will square off against Axne in the November General Election. You can hear full interviews with both candidates below.

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