Republican acting Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg said last Thursday that he agrees with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ sentiment that issue of same-sex marriage has been decided, adding that the GOP should be a “big-tent party.”


Gregg was at the Monsanto Company’s Huxley Learning Center just off Interstate 35 to speak to interns at the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives’ Student Intern Day. In front of roughly 100 interns, he touted the administration’s Rural Iowa Initiative, including an emphasis on rural broadband service, and encouraged the young people in the room to stay in Iowa.


In an interview after his remarks, Gregg echoed his running mate after Reynolds told some Iowa reporters earlier this week that the same-sex marriage issue has been settled. However, the Republican Party of Iowa’s proposed party platform, which will be featured at Saturday’s state convention, contains two “legislative priorities” that fly in the face of gay marriage.


The first priority states, “We believe that traditional, two parent (one male and one female), marriage” lays the foundation for a longstanding “healthy civilization.” The second priority encourages repealing any laws that allow marriages other than those “between one natural man and one natural woman.”


(In 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court Legalized gay marriage, one of the first states to do so. Then in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court did the same for the entire country in a landmark decision.)


“Well, as the governor said, the platform can be viewed as a grassroots document that lays out overarching ideas of the party, but we have to be a big-tent party that allows for Iowans of all different viewpoints,” Gregg said Thursday. “If they find things that they agree with, (then) they’re open to supporting our candidates. So I think it’s important that we have a big tent.”


When asked if the objection to same-sex marriage contradicts the big-tent philosophy, Gregg said Republicans’ vision is bringing people opportunity and those from different backgrounds can get behind the “incredible momentum” in Iowa.


“We’re ranked the No. 1 state in the nation, and it’s because we do a lot of things well,” he said, referring to a recent article from U.S. News and World Report. “And that’s not to say that we can’t do things better — we’re never satisfied with the status quo — but this is about keeping up that momentum, and I think Iowans who have different opinions on all different types of issues can get behind a message like that.”


Reynolds and Gregg are slated to face Democrat Fred Hubbell, a retired Des Moines businessman, in the November general election. Hubbell is expected to announce his running mate this weekend.


As for his running mate, Gregg said he admires Reynolds’ perseverance through the “hard times” in her life. In what’s become a well-known example, she once worked as a Hy-Vee checker to provide for her family.


“She understands the value of a dollar because she’s had to earn every dollar she’s ever made, and I think that gives her a true ability to connect with Iowans, to understand the things that they care about,” Gregg said.


He wouldn’t say the same for the Democratic nominee, who comes from one of Des Moines’ most prominent wealthy families and put his own money into his campaign. Gregg continued to push the GOP narrative that Hubbell is out of touch because he’s rich.


“Yeah, I think Fred Hubbell is going to struggle to relate to Iowans,” Gregg said. “He’s never had to balance a family checkbook, and he’s never known hardship in his life. Gov. Reynolds truly understands Iowans because she’s faced those challenges head on and she’s overcome them.”


When asked for comment, Remi Yamamoto, the communications director for Hubbell’s campaign, referred to comments Hubbell made after he won the Democratic primary last week.


“We’ve all balanced individual checkbooks,” Hubbell said on June 6, according to Radio Iowa. “I’ve balanced a lot of corporate checkbooks, as well as individual checkbooks, and I don’t think I’ve ever missed a budget anywhere close to what (Reynolds has) been missing with the state budget.”


Speaking to the co-op interns, Gregg again, as many Republicans have, touted Iowa’s No. 1 ranking and told the crowd why rural broadband connectivity is important, how it allows access to markets worldwide and can enable devices that use wi-fi connections, including Internet-connected grain bins.


He also embarked on a different sort of campaign: trying to convince the subdued interns in the auditorium to stay in Iowa. Large amounts of college graduates leaving the state has been a problem in recent years, and a 2016 New York Times article identified Iowa as one of the states graduates are most likely to leave.


But Gregg described the benefits of staying: shorter commutes, “a good job,” a yard, safe neighborhoods, good schools and being a “meaningful part of your community.”


“In Iowa, you can truly have it all,” he said.