Republican U.S. Senate candidate David Young believes he has the experience and working knowledge of Washington, D.C., to effectively advocate conservatism for Iowans.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate David Young believes he has the experience and working knowledge of Washington, D.C., to effectively advocate conservatism for Iowans.
August 2, 2013


Iowa Republican David Young said the priorities of his former boss will serve as a guide. But Young, a longtime GOP congressional aide and recent chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, stressed that while he's an inspired admirer, he's no "clone."

Young, 45, a native of Van Meter, who lists stints with Republican U.S. Sens. Hank Brown of Colorado and Jim Bunning of Kentucky and President George H.W. Bush's 1992 campaign, is seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated at the end of 2014 by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin. D-Iowa. For the last seven years, Young has served as Grassley's chief of staff.

"I've got the courage to lead on issues that I've been supporting my boss on," Young said. "Some of the things we can hit the ground running on. Three deficits I see out there that really drive me are the budget deficit, the job deficit and the deficit of trust and accountability."

In an interview at the Daily Times Herald, Young said he would make tax reform a priority.

"There's a lot of capital sitting out there on the sidelines," Young said.

Temporary "patches" on the tax code don't provide certainty that a permanent plan would, he said.

"We need to make it fairer, flatter, simpler," Young said. "I'll work with anybody on tax simplification and lowering the rates."

Young said all tax deductions and credits should be on the table for review during reform discussion. He also supports a balanced-budget amendment.

Grassley has made scouting out fraud and abuse in government a centerpiece of his service, Young said, adding that he would build on such work if elected to serve alongside his mentor.

"I've learned from the master on the oversight and investigations," Young said. "You don't need a bill or an amendment to do it."

Young said his experience with Grassley, and as a legislative assistant for Bunning and intern for Brown, have prepared him to make Congress work for Iowans.

"I've had an up-close view of what's going on in Washington in the Senate, in politics at the federal level," he said, adding that he's worked with Iowans personally or on the phone every day for years.

A Drake University graduate who moved to Washington, D.C. shortly after college to begin his career, Young said he has a firmly rooted political philosophy that includes views not always in line with Grassley.

"I'm not a Chuck Grassley clone. I'm David Young," he said.

For example, Young said he would not have voted for the 1986 immigration-reform package, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's confirmation or the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Grassley voted for all three.

What would have happened to the U.S. economy without the $700 billion bank bailout in 2008 under President George W. Bush?

"We don't know," Young said. "It just didn't seem right to me that the government was so dependent on Wall Street that we had to bail them out. To me, it's kind of too cozy of a relationship."

Young said he and other key staff members made a recommendation to Grassley to vote against TARP.

"His name's on the door and he goes down and votes," Young said.

Born and raised a Methodist, Young still attends Methodist churches, but said he has evolved into an evangelical Protestant.

He opposes gay marriage.

"It does affect, I think, the integrity of the word in a religious institution," Young said. "The thing I would be worried about now is just making sure churches and temples and places of faith have a right to their religious beliefs and not be forced into marrying anyone they don't want to."

Young said gay-rights advocates clearly have their sights set on demanding that all churches accept homosexual marriage.

"I think it's probably the next step," Young said. "And I've heard groups out there saying. 'We need to make sure we are accepted in every house of worship.'"

In the agricultural arena Young thinks a wise strategy is to divide the farm bill into separate packages for food assistance and actual production agriculture and rural-development features.

Young said he would have joined Grassley in opposing the recent immigration-reform bill that passed the Senate.

"I'm a guy, kind of the rule of law, the borders kind of guy before anything else," Young said. "I would have liked to see that separated out with the Senate bill."

Young said more guest worker visas, e-verify and "some kind of pathway" for the estimated 12 million people in the United States without proper immigration paperwork make sense. But the nation's borders should be protected first as a sovereignty issue, he said.

Young did not offer details on what shape the pathway should take.

"I can't give you an answer to that without thinking about it further," Young said.

He added, "I've always been fixated on the border."

Young said he is pro-life on abortion, that it should be illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy. He believes victims of rape or incest should have access to abortion. Young said he would like to see the states determine any penalties associated with abortion, should it be made illegal.

"I'm not running for U.S. minister and that kind of thing," Young said.

Young said he brings a measured temperament to the race.

"I think we can have a huge disagreement on the issues without calling each other fascists and communists, coming from both sides," he said. "That vitriol, it doesn't appeal to me. I don't know if I could pull it off."

He added, "I just want to lay out the issues, why Republicanism is better, and conservatism is better, than the Democrat philosophy and personalize that with families who are telling me the same things. I want to keep it passionate, but not polluted."

Young said a Republican primary will make the GOP candidate stronger to face U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo, in the general election for the Senate.

"A primary will be good for our side," Young said. "We just have to be careful not to savage each other and get nutty. We don't want to deliver somebody bloody and bruised to Bruce Braley who is sitting over there unopposed."