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Jim Gibbons looks to take success in wrestling to congressional race


Jim Gibbons, a candidate for the Republican nomination to the Third-District Congressional seat, visited Belle Plaine last week.

Jim Gibbons is hoping to translate his success on the wrestling mat to Congress as he is seeking the Republican nomination for Iowa’s Third District Congressional seat.

Gibbons met with the Star Press Union last week when he was in Belle Plaine.

Gibbons is a three-time All-American at Iowa State, and won his weight class in 1981. He also coached the Cyclones to a national title in 1987.

Gibbons said he grew up in Ames in a competitive background. He grew up on a farm, saying his father was big on introductions. “He introduced us to shovels, rakes and paint brushes. We always had projects.” His family farmed 560 acres with a 500-head hog confinement operation. “We were no strangers to the work that it took to be successful.”

He also appreciated the competition he found when at Iowa State. “The experience I was looking for as an athlete I found as a coach,” he said. “I experienced the best that could even happen at Iowa State. Winning a championship, meeting my wife, winning a championship as a coach and being around a lot of great people that influenced me for the rest of my life.”

When in college, he didn’t think he’d be running for Congress. This came when he left coaching and became a financial adviser. He recently served as vice president with Wells Fargo. As an adviser he is trying to help people to meet their goals. “You have to be up on current events, and if you want to be up on current events, you have to know what Washington is doing.”

He said he’s always been a part of helping people to achieve their goals, whether its teammates, athletes he’s coached and clients he’s worked with.

“This is all congruent with that. I believe we’re spending too much money as a government and we’re not making the tough decisions that we need to make. So that’s why I’m stepping up to the fight.”

He is now putting his campaign together, getting his grassroots organization started and raising money.

He said incumbent Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell is going to be well financed.

“I think I’ll bring energy and a passion for life in Iowa,” Gibbons said of what he’d bring to the job. “My vision of Iowa is that we’ve always been leaders. We should be leaders in getting this country back on our feet. We’re on our back right now and we’re calling moves out now like we’re on our feet. We need to get back to our belly, back to our knees then back to our feet before we can start executing again.”

He grinned that this was a wrestling analogy, but he said this is where the country is at right now. He felt the country can’t “print money” to solve its problems and place more debt on the children.

It was a fellow wrestler, Jim Jordan, a Congressman from Wisconsin, who suggested Gibbons look into running for Congress. Like wrestling, he said one has to know the fundamentals and have a plan in place, what one has to sacrifice to achieve the goal.

“Getting Iowans back to understanding that’s what we have to do be successful, and having that leadership spill over to the rest of the country – that’s my perspective.”

As for wrestling, he said, “Wrestling isn’t the biggest thing in Iowa, but it’s something as a state we’re known for. If you know somebody in sports, you know they’re going to compete, they’re going to give you everything they have. I think that’s what I’m about here with this job. To be competitive, to show a lot of energy, and use the energy I have and the passion for this state to help other people.

UPDATED February 11, 2010 4:39 PM

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