Another Republican candidate has joined the heavily disputed U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin.
Mark Jacobs, 51, spent six days traveling to 26 cities across Iowa to deliver the message of what he believes is the core problem in America — a lack of good jobs.
“When Americans are gainfully employed, our families do better, crime rates decrease, revenue to the government increases and deficits go down,” Jacobs said in a Creston News Advertiser interview Tuesday.
One area Jacobs wants to target to help stimulate job creation is at the community college and vocational school level.
“I was in Davenport several weeks ago, and I toured a manufacturing facility there,” Jacobs said. “They have job openings for welders starting at $30 an hour and they cannot find people to fill those roles.”
Jacobs wants to close the skill gap workers face by giving community colleges and vocational schools the tools and financial resources to educate the workforce for the future.
A retired CEO of Reliant Energy of Houston, Texas, Jacobs believes in continuing to develop energy resources in North America. He said an increase in energy production can add thousands of new jobs directly in the energy sector.
“Increased energy production will help keep prices low, and low energy prices help drive economic growth in other sectors,” Jacobs said. “That includes the continued development of renewables here in Iowa that I am a big supporter of.”
What Jacobs may lack in political experience he balances with hands-on experience earned at Reliant.
Jacobs joined the company in 2002 as a CFO and was one of the team members who saved the company from bankruptcy. In 2007, he was named CEO of the Fortune 500 company. He also has business financial advising experience.
Born in Iowa, Jacobs returned to West Des Moines with his family after three decades of business work in New York and Houston.
While he is a newcomer in the open Senate seat race that already features six other Republican hopefuls, Jacobs’ business background also provides financial security for the long campaign road ahead.
Bruce Braley is the lone Democrat candidate seeking the Senate seat.
“I’ll be out working my tail off,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs also touched on wanting to eliminate job-killing regulations and taxes that discourage new
businesses and investments in America.
While he said some regulations are good, he believes an independent third party would be beneficial to determine the impact of new regulations before they become law.
“One of the things I heard consistently all over this great state was that people are frustrated with the inability of our leaders in Washington to solve problems,” Jacobs said. “I’m a business guy, I’ve never been in politics before, but my entire career as a business leader has been on getting things done.”