When John Norris starts talking about rural Iowa, it’s impossible to resist making comparisons to another small-town Democrat who decided to run for governor despite long odds.
After all, Norris says it was former Gov. Tom Vilsack who first asked him to consider running. Norris worked as Vilsack’s chief of staff twice — first in the governor’s office and later at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Vilsack, as governor and as U.S. agriculture secretary, liked to talk about the need to reconnect with rural values and to restore farm-country voters’ trust in government.
Norris, asked how to persuade rural Iowans to vote for a Democrat, said: “First, connect with their values. They want their government to connect with their values. They’ve lost trust in government.”