"As one of only seven House Democrats who won in a district that voted for Trump twice, I'm already gearing up for a competitive race in 2022 and your early support is critical. This race was the third closest in the nation on Election Night last year, decided by a slim 1.39% margin, and I'm the only federal Democrat left standing in my home state of Iowa. National Republicans desperately want this seat back and are already calling voters to misinform them and running digital ads attacking me.
Despite this and because of your support, I was able to increase voter turnout in 8 of my 16 rural counties in 2020 by bringing my campaign back to retail politics and focusing on a long-term local media strategy. This work starts in the off-year and would not be possible without the early support of everyday people like you."
Axne is owner of a small digital design firm. She worked for the Iowa state government from 2005 to 2014 and has also been employed in various capacities as a political activist. She earned an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and graduated from the University of Iowa.
ON THE ISSUES
•"If we can't pay our federal employees hard-earned raises, we shouldn't give trillion dollar tax cuts to corporations and America's wealthiest individuals.” CA
• "As a member of Congress, Cindy will fight to keep Washington politicians out of the doctor's office and out of the personal decisions between women and their doctors.” (cindyaxnesforcongress.com)
• Endorsed by National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
•"It's time Washington passes true campaign finance reform, and that starts with passing legislation that forces outside groups to disclose their donors…, we must pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling and bring an end to the dark money"(cindyaxnesforcongress.com)
• Voted in favor of HR 7120 - George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020.
•"Cindy will fight for our local businesses by creating grant programs to support entrepreneurs and small businesses and passing tax relief so our small businesses can grow."(cindyaxnesforcongress.com)
• Signed a letter stating: "The New Democrat Coalition, a group of more than 100 Democrats in the House seeking to look at old problems through a new lens, view this effort to modernize America's aging infrastructure as an essential component of our broader efforts to create jobs, spur economic growth, and increase our global competitiveness." (votesmart.org)
• “While Cindy was at the State of Iowa, she oversaw the Governor's Agenda on Clean Energy and the Environment, helping bring the wind industry to scale in Iowa."(cindyaxnesforcongress.com)
• Voted in favor of HR 9 - Climate Action Now Act.
• Rated 0% by National Rifle Association.
• "Cindy believes that comprehensive reform must start with strengthening our borders. We need stronger vetting, more agents on the border, and innovative technology, including aerial drones, in order to better secure our borders and save taxpayer dollars."(cindyaxnesforcongress.com)
• “Cindy is ready to work with Democrats and Republicans in order to pass a bipartisan immigration reform that will strengthen border security, hold employers who hire undocumented immigrants accountable, provide a pathway to citizenship for individuals who pay their taxes and don't have a criminal record, and crackdown on violent crime."(cindyaxnesforcongress.com)
• "I strongly encourage the President (Trump) not to follow through on the threat to escalate tariffs with Mexico. The trade war with China is already devastating Iowa farmers and increasing consumer prices on Iowa families." CA
POLITICS IN IOWA 03:
• The only Democratic member of the Iowa congressional delegation.
• This seat is targeted by the Republican National Committee.
• In 2020, one of only 7 House Democrats who won in a district that voted for Trump twice.
• In 2020, her race was the 3rd closet in the nation- decided by a 1.39% margin. In 2018, her first election, she won by a margin of 2.2%.
• Committee on Financial Services
• Committee on Agriculture
• House Democratic Caucus
• House Task Force on Rural Broadband
• New Democrats Coalition
• New Dem Health Care Task Force
• Sustainable Energy and Environmental Coalition
• ALS Caucus
• Aluminum Caucus
• Animal Protection Caucus
• Apiary Caucus
• Asthma and Allergy Caucus
• Bee Caucus
• Biofuels Caucus
• Bipartisan Women’s Caucus
• Blue Collar Caucus
• Bus Caucus
• Caucus on the Deadliest Cancers
• Chemistry Caucus
• Chicken Caucus
• Crop Insurance Caucus
• Congressional Deaf Caucus
• Deadliest Cancers Caucus
• End Corruption Caucus
• Endometriosis Caucus
• Government Efficiency Caucus
• Neuroscience Caucus
• Postal Preservation Caucus
• Pre-K Caucus
• Pro-Choice Caucus
• Propane Caucus
• Rare Disease Caucus
• Rural Broadband Caucus
• Safe Climate Caucus
• Supply Chain Caucus
• Transparency Caucus
• Wine Caucus
• Wrestling Caucus
• Youth Sports Caucus
• Youth Vaping Caucus
New York Times Feb 14,2022
by Blake Hounshell and Lea Askarinam
Cindy Axne’s rules for political survival
Holding a blue seat in a red-tinged place like Iowa’s Third Congressional District takes discipline. It takes a relentless focus on the folks back home, which is why you won’t see Cindy Axne yukking it up on “Morning Joe” or rubbing elbows with Jake Tapper on CNN. It takes doing who-knows-how-many hits on rural radio stations that might reach just a few hundred people at a time.
Axne is a case study in political survival. Donald Trump carried her district in both of his presidential runs. In 2020, a bad year for House Democrats, she hung on to her seat by fewer than 7,000 votes.
This year, Axne has one of the hardest re-election tasks of any member of Congress. She’s the lone Democrat in Iowa’s delegation to Washington, representing a state that has moved sharply rightward. Thanks to redistricting, she just inherited nine additional counties that voted for Trump in 2020. At town hall meetings, she proudly tells constituents that hers is “the No. 1 targeted race in the nation.” Forecasters rate it a “tossup,” but privately, Democratic strategists acknowledge she might be doomed.
What’s her strategy for survival? Although Axne doesn’t articulate them explicitly, we culled these unspoken rules from an interview in her office on Capitol Hill. It’s the kind of advice President Biden could use as he tries to reverse drooping poll numbers that threaten to bring down his entire party:
Struggling to explain your policies? Visualize the voter you want to reach: “Take these big things and bring it down to that one individual. If that mom’s not sitting in the audience, put that mom in your head.”
Dealing with bad news? Level with people: “Even if it’s not the answer everybody wants right now, give them the answer that you know.”
Selling your infrastructure bill? Talk about convenience, not how many program dollars you allocated: “That doesn’t resonate. It resonates that I gave you 40 minutes of extra time when this bridge is repaired. That’s huge.”
You won’t hear much soaring rhetoric about saving American democracy from Axne, either. The voters are her customers, reflecting her business background. “I’ve been a manager my whole life,” she said. “I’ve run customer service departments and retail.”
And the way she figures it, the burden is on her to earn the customer’s approval. “It’s my job to go to them, to show them that they can trust me and that I deserve their vote,” she said.
She urges the president to adopt that same retail mentality: Leave the mess in Washington behind, go into local communities and bring politics to a human scale.
As she put it, “Come out and say, ‘Folks, here’s where we’re at.’”
And where her customers are at right now, Axne said, can be summed up with one word: “Tired.”
They’re tired of the pandemic. Tired of the disruptions it has brought to their families. Tired of their packages not being delivered on time. It’s the thread running through all the complaints she hears about, whether the issue is education or jobs or masks.
“I’ve never seen anything impact our psyche so much like this, right?” she said. “There’s just a lot that families are coping with. It’s just hard for them to see some of the benefits that Democrats have delivered — because honestly, Democrats have delivered, I’ve delivered — but it’s hard to see, when things still aren’t back to normal.”
If and when they are, Axne said, “We’ve got to be really loud about it and make people feel comfortable and understand: ‘Go back to normal, folks.’”
Axne has had to think a lot about how to explain the major legislative packages she has helped to pass and urges the White House to break them down into relatable pieces.
She comes back to her infrastructure example, referring to bridges in Iowa that are so poorly maintained that they can’t bear the weight of a bus full of schoolchildren, leading to lengthy detours. “You know, ask any parent what their mornings are like, and would they like 40 minutes more? Heck, yeah.”
Axne spoke at an American Legion post in Winterset, Iowa, in 2019.Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
Earning counties, then losing them
Axne was first elected to Congress in 2018, as part of that year’s anti-Trump wave.
She was a longtime Iowa state government official, an M.B.A. holder who started a consulting firm before running for Congress. If you ask her what’s on the minds of Iowa farmers, be prepared for an impromptu seminar on the intricacies of soybean processing.
In 2019, when flooding devastated communities in her district along the Missouri River, Axne was everywhere: touring busted levees, lobbying for federal aid. It earned her some credit in the suburban areas around Council Bluffs and Indianola, helping her eke out that win in 2020.
In a stroke of bad luck for Axne, those areas along the river are no longer her responsibility. After Iowa’s latest round of nonpartisan redistricting, they’ve become part of the district of Representative Randy Feenstra, a Republican.
Her first task this year was to visit her new counties, which together voted for Trump by nearly 19,000 votes. She doesn’t have to win them — just keep the margins small enough while pumping up votes in her stronghold of Des Moines, the Iowa capital. But she does have to create some distance from national Democrats, which she tries to accomplish through humor.
“I am not Nancy Pelosi,” she joked at a recent town hall-style meeting in Ottumwa, one of 74 she’s held since her first election. “I’m a foot taller. I’m from a different state. I don’t wear five-inch heels.”
Axne would like to see Democrats break the Build Back Better Act, their stalled social policy bill, into “chunks of coordinated policy.” And in the meantime, she wants Biden to get out there and hear from his disaffected customers directly.
“It’s not that he doesn’t understand it,” she said. “It’s just that there’s so much happening at this high level that sometimes it’s really hard to just bring it down to that very micro level. But that micro level is what’s adding up across the country.”