(Undated) -- KMA News continues its "Meet the Candidates" series, featuring the candidates running in key races in Tuesday's general election. Today's report features the Democratic candidate in the Iowa State Senate's 8th District, Steve Gorman.
A lifelong Council Bluffs resident, and graduate of St. Albert High School, Gorman has served as a firefighter for 29 years on the Council Bluffs Fire Department. He's also certified as a commercial journeyman electrician. Gorman's wife Chris recently retired as an instructor at Kirn Middle School in Council Bluffs. Gorman previously ran for the legislature in the Iowa House's 16th District, losing both contests to Republican incumbent Mary Ann Hanusa. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Thursday morning, Gorman says issues with the state's mental health services and the privatization of Medicaid prompted another attempt for a Statehouse seat.
"I got into this race because our state started to shut down mental health institutions," said Gorman, "and they privatized Medicaid, which made it even more difficult for people to struggle with mental health, and our vulnerable citizens to get access. That's what brought us into this. We hope to go to Des Moines to be a strong voice for vulnerable citizens, and public schools, and working families in the state of Iowa."
Gorman believes the state must reevaluate whether privatizing Medicaid is working.
"Part of privatizing is managed care," he said. "As a firefighter, I've seen the effects of the managed care, and our Medicaid system, and some of the citizens are getting cut out of managed care that we need at night, and things like that. Some of our facilities that are giving care--you know, like IowaCare and mental health places--are no longer using Medicaid in Iowa. They refused service, or are not getting reimbursed."
Gorman says pointing fingers at state officials for Iowa's recent spike in COVID-19 cases is pointless. Instead, he favors better messaging on the importance of coronavirus mitigation efforts--such as wearing face coverings.
"As a firefighter, we wear masks on every call that we go to," said Gorman. "Masks are a big part of the situation. I know that it's a hot button thing, but if we can get a consistent message and start putting our masks on, which is the cheapest and most effective means of stopping this airborne disease, then we will get to a point where our businesses will be open. We'll get this rate of transfer with this COVID-19 in our public knocked down to where we can contact trace it better, and better mitigate the problems."
As the husband of a retired school teacher, Gorman calls for more state funding for Iowa's K-12 school system.
"I think that we've underfunded our schools for the last 10 years, in all actuality," he said, "especially with this pandemic. We've had to open our schools, and we've got onsite learning, and these hybrid things. I don't know how our public school officials are getting through the day. We've put a lot more on their plate to manage."
Gorman's opponent, Republican incumbent Dan Dawson, is seeking a second term in the State Senate. You can hear the full interview with Steve Gorman on our "Morning Line" page, as well as with the webstory at kmaland.com.