Editor’s Note: Jacy Gomez, a former congressional staffer for Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is a communications specialist based in Washington. Follow her on Twitter @JacyGomez. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author. View more opinion articles on CNN.
Election Day is a week away. America has a lot to gain – and lose – at the ballot box this year.
My home state of Iowa is no exception. This is particularly true in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District where Democrat J.D. Scholten challenges eight-term congressman Steve King.
I am an Iowan. I am a Republican. Steve King does not represent my values. It’s time to vote him out of office.
Steve King has become an Iowa political staple over the past two decades. The Iowa congressman has held office since 2002, first elected to the 5th Congressional District. He represents some 755,000 Iowans, roughly 90% of whom are white.
Steve King is no stranger to controversy – so much so that he has received praise from David Duke, an outspoken white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard.
Such acclaim is well merited, too. King has a long track record of pushing white nationalist talking points during his tenure in Congress.
He has floated the idea of building an electrified fence that “would not kill somebody” but would keep Mexicans out, with the dehumanizing justification that “we do that with livestock all the time.”
That same year, King proposed legislation to block American hero and abolitionist Harriet Tubman from replacing Andrew Jackson – former president and prolific slave owner – on the $20 bill.
Last year, King seized the national spotlight yet again after questioning which “subgroups” have contributed more to the advancement of civilization than whites.
In a recent interview with Unzensuriert, an Austrian site that publishes what many call far-right propaganda, King further cemented his legacy as one of America’s most openly racist lawmakers. He lamented that “Western civilization is on the decline,” adding that “diversity is not a strength.”
And earlier this month, for seemingly no rational reason at all, King endorsed Faith Goldy, Toronto’s nationalist candidate for mayor who has claimed that Canada is threatened by “white genocide,” tweeting that she was “Pro Western Civilization and a fighter for our values.”
More than a national embarrassment, King’s hate-spew has real world consequences. Whether it’s racism, sexism, or any other number of disgraceful isms, every day that King remains a sitting member of Congress only further propagates and legitimizes hate.
A woman was killed by counterprotesting white supremacists chanting anti-Semitic and homophobic slogans in Charlottesville, Virginia, just last year.
And 11 Jews were violently gunned down at their synagogue in Pittsburgh last week.
Enough is enough.
Iowa has a lot to be proud of. We were one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriage. Hawkeyes lead the way in infrastructure and are among the top in health care access and education quality. All these factors contributed to Iowa claiming the No. 1 spot in US News’ “Best State” rankings for 2018.
Steve King is nowhere on that list. He is a blemish on an otherwise admirable state. Iowa has a chance to rectify this problem come Tuesday. It’s time to vote King out of office.