Iowa’s famed caucuses have been a key fixture in my life since I can remember. As an Iowan, I am proud of the commitment voters in this state make to caucuses — they are a vital and demanding process that tests candidates and campaigns alike and elevates important issues to the national stage that push candidates outside the comforts of message-tested TV soundbites.

Iowa’s process demands a level of commitment and organization that makes our candidates better. It demands that candidates focus on the issues truly important to our state and issues that prepare an eventual nominee for battleground states.

It is a shame that national Democrats have traded it in for campaigns that will be run via TV ads in big media markets, but this, too, is an opportunity for Republicans. It’s an opportunity to listen to Iowa voters and commit to supporting issues important to rural communities, because these are the issues that will resonate in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa alike. Iowa is a proving ground and if candidates commit to being successful here, they gain readiness for prime time.

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