One-on-one with Mike Franken, candidate for Senate

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 10:07 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - With election day coming up, KCRG-TV9 is sitting down with Iowa’s candidates. Mike Franken is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa. He’s challenging seven-term incumbent Senator Chuck Grassley.

Franken is facing one of the closest races in Iowa going into the November elections. The latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed a lead for incumbent Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley that has narrowed since the poll’s last edition in the summer. The poll of likely voters, taken between Oct. 9 and 12, showed Grassley with 46% support over Democratic challenger Mike Franken’s 43%.

Franken grew up in Lebanon, in northeast Iowa. He says the values and experiences he gained growing up in small-town Iowa gave him the tools to be what he says is needed in Washington. “The church, schoolwork, sports, extracurricular activity, more work, getting along with a family in a small house with lots of kids, all of that is helpful to form the type of person you are. And good parents. Mom was a was a one room schoolhouse teacher. Dad was at a small machine shop coming out of World War Two.”

His extensive military career is a key part of his platform, as he points to his nearly four decades of service in the Navy. The Iowa Poll, conducted by Selzer & Co., shows 52% of likely voters say Franken’s nearly four decades in the military would be an asset to Iowa. ”I was an engineer and a physics person but veered wildly into policy issues and that’s what happens when you become a senior officer in the military,” says Franken. “So I think all those things have helped. So I was apolitical most of my life. I did not...I was not a Democrat. I wasn’t a Republican. I was an American. And I think that translates to be a good, a good candidate today.”

When asked what he’d focus on if elected, Franken spoke to his experience in international relations, saying Congress should repeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, or the AUMF. That resolution was passed following the September 11th attacks, giving U-S presidents the authority to take “necessary and appropriate force” to defend the country. “They have been ducking this for 20 years, mostly because of political situations or perhaps an element of cowardice and not knowing the world around them. And that would be my forte of highest regard and I think I’d be value added for this nation,” says Franken.

He also talked about the future of Iowa, saying the state needs leadership to keep it moving forward. “We used to be known as the education state,” says Franken. “And that has rather walked away from us because we haven’t brought in leadership where education is the thing in life, and I would be that person. The environment. Iowa has an opportunity to reconstruct agriculture with the assistance and high regard for agriculture, which is my roots. To be value-added and make this state by 2045-ish be net negative in carbon, and in a carbon tax environment that will change the environment of Iowa, perhaps more so than any other business initiative.”

You can watch the full interview here: