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Muscatine has always been home for Mark Lofgren. It’s been a place where he has both worked, and later served in office, for most of his professional life.

“Muscatine has been very good to me,” Lofgren said.

Now Lofgren, a Republican currently serving as Iowa’s representative for House District 91, is seeking the opportunity to represent both Muscatine and the 2nd Congressional District in a seat in the U.S. House. The district includes roughly southeastern Iowa.

Lofgren faces a three-way race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. House seat, against Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa and Matthew Waldren of Eddyville. The winner of the June 3 primary will face the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Dave Loebsack, in the November general election.

In deciding to leave the Statehouse seat that he has occupied since 2011, the two-term legislator said he wanted to try to bring some of the same fiscally responsible point of view the Republican-dominated Iowa House has championed to Washington, D.C. Lofgren spent 10 years in the real estate industry and about 20 years in the investment industry before going into elective office.

He also touts his work ethic in the Legislature, noting that he has missed only three votes this year and has chosen to remain on his assigned legislative committees.

“A lot of the other people who are running for office, some of them are only staying on one or two committees,” he said. “… I’m proud of the fact that I’m working hard out there.”

Lofgren recalled that when he first arrived in Des Moines, the state was spending $1.17 for every dollar taken in through revenues, and that the House has worked to reduce that ratio in the time he has been in the Legislature.

If elected to Congress, he would like to work on more efforts to reduce regulations on small businesses, which Lofgren said has made it difficult for those businesses to get off the ground or hire more workers. To help provide more training for these workers, Lofgren supports expanding community college efforts to provide continuing educational training. He also would like to help improve opportunities for students to receive financial aid, such as extending Pell Grants to cover summer school sessions.

On the issue of health care, Lofgren is not a fan of the federal Affordable Care Act. He would prefer to see some other reforms to the health care system, such as allowing residents to purchase insurance across state lines and reforming malpractice law.

Another quality he said he would bring to Congress is something that he thinks is needed in Washington: the ability to work with members of the opposition party. He noted that he first announced his candidacy for Congress on June 26, 2013, right in the middle of the federal government shutdown. He said the two parties in Iowa, by contrast, managed to work together to get legislation through both houses.

“I feel like I work well with other people,” he said.

From the Quad-City Times

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