Boulton supporters share their thoughts on candidate’s personality and platform at rally event
Democratic candidate for Governor, Nate Boulton, held a rally event prior to the start of the Polk County Democrats’ Steak Fry on Sept. 30, 2017.
The event was held in Des Moines Water Works Park, just a minute’s walk to the grounds that held the Steak Fry. At least a mile from the event grounds were yard signs that said “Boulton for Governor,” less than an inch apart from each other. Volunteers worked at 10 p.m. the night before and again the morning of to line the street with over a thousand.
Boulton’s event, which lasted from 10:30-12 p.m., had live music, a donation table and a t-shirt — made by Mike Draper of Raygun — for the first 200 attendees that said “Boulton-Mania, symptom’s include: good public schools, support for public unions and a state to be proud of.”
The first half hour of the event was loosely structured; supporters met one another and talked politics, Boulton’s campaign team and volunteers mingled amidst the crowd and live music filled any unwanted silence.
The ease of communication between Boulton, his team and his constituents is what stands out to many of the people who were in attendance at his event.
An older couple, the Yarnells, who moved to Iowa just over a year ago from Charlottesville, North Carolina noticed right away how highly personable Boulton was. The couple met Boulton prior at a Town Hall and spoke with him about his plans for Iowa.
“He really seems genuinely interested in doing things the right way for Iowa,” said Nancy Yarnell. “We’re newbies, but boy, we can see a lot of damage here.”
The Yarnell’s think the health system isthe biggest red flag in Iowa politics.
“The solution was to close down the mental health institutions…where do they go,” Yarnell said. “It’s disastrous.”
Her husband Jay agreed. “It seems that the GOP Legislature is like, ‘let’s look for something that’s good for Iowa and repeal it,” he said. “(Boulton) has done an excellent job calling the Republicans out, and holding them accountable.”
Half an hour into the event at 11:00 am, speakers began to take the stage. They included State Representative Bruce Hunter, Representative Amy Neilson, Boulton’s wife, and two members of his campaign team, Zach Bernstein and Joe O’Hern.
During the speeches, Boulton stood in the crowd taking pictures with his supporters, shaking hands and conversing with those who were eager to meet him.
At the start of the event, 60-70 supporters filled the area, but close to a hundred were there by the time Boulton took the stage, around 11:40 a.m. They all clapped their thunder sticks together before he began speaking.
At the end of his speech, Boulton reminded his supporters that we were fairly close to Terrace Hill, the Governor’s mansion.
“As we go into the Steak Fry, let’s make sure Kim Reynolds’ and the Republican’s hear us loud and clear,” Boulton said. “This is the time for us to stand up…and start the movement we need to win back this legislature, the Governor’s mansion and what is clearly the soul of our state.”
Bernstein led the candidates through a number of chants before the crowd lined up to participate in a march to the Steak Fry, vocally supporting Boulton for Governor. Favorites included the “Run with Nate,” and “Who do we want: Nate, When do we want him: June 5” chants. Hear the crowd practice here:
Bernstein, who is Boulton’s field director, said that the event took a lot of “grass roots organizing.”
“We reached out to supporters of Nate’s by hundreds across the state, mostly by phone calls,” Bernstein said.
“I’m here because Nate can communicate the positive vision forward,” Bernstein said. “I met Nate back in 2015 and instantly liked him. I helped organize his kick off event and I have been here at the ground level since.”
Other supporters feel similarly to Bernstein — Boulton’s generosity and compassion doesn’t go unnoticed. He doesn’t lose his “Everyday Man” mentality to politics.
“He is fighting for us to have the life we used to have in middle class that we don’t have anymore,” said a Union worker at John Deere, Tonja Galvan.
Boulton grew up in a Union family in Columbus Junction, Iowa. He appeals greatly to those working for Unions, promising that he won’t let Union jobs disappear. Recently he went and spoke at the John Deere Union Hall.
“He’s a fighter…like me,” Galvan said. “He’s fighting for the middle class, the healthcare, the social security…the things we shouldn’t need to be fighting for. He’s been fighting for us since he got into Senate, so if you’ve been watching his track record you know that what he’s promising, he’ll do.”