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DES MOINES, Iowa  —  The three Democrats running for Iowa’s Third Congressional District kept it civil with each other during their 90-minute debate on Thursday night in Des Moines. They agreed on far more than they disagreed, but some minor differences surfaced.

Here are several things voters learned about the candidates:

They all said climate change was the most dangerous threat to the United States.

They all hope Congress will pass a law to effectively get rid of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in the “Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission” that decided political contributions are guaranteed under the First Amendment. The candidates decried the influence big donors have on the election and the “dark money” groups, which don’t have to disclose donors.

The candidates also agreed Congress should decriminalize marijuana possession, which they all said currently disproportionately impacts minorities.

But they disagreed on other matters.

All want to raise the minimum wage. Pete D’Alessandro, a longtime campaign strategist, said the wage should be at least $15 per hour, instead of the current $7.25 per hour.

Eddie Mauro, who owns an insurance business, provided a more complicated solution. Instead of a specific hourly figure, he suggested that anyone making less than $36,000 should also receive an earned income credit that would take their overall wages to $36,000-40,000 a year. The earned income credit is currently given to lower wage workers. A person making up to $15,010 a year can get the credit now, although there are higher limits for those with children.   

Cindy Axne, who owns a design business, didn’t offer a specific wage. She said there are numerous factors that include the size of the city and how higher wages would impact small businesses.

The candidates also disagreed when it comes to providing more funding for Social Security. Individuals currently pay Social Security taxes on the first $128,400 of income per year.

Axne would change that level to $200,000-250,000 per year.

D’Alessandro would raise it to $200,000-225,000 annually.

Mauro would require individuals to pay taxes on the first $1 million per year.

The debate was sponsored by KCCI-TV and the Des Moines Register.

WOODBURY COUNTY, Iowa  —  Almost a decade after a Sioux City jury found former Creston Police Chief James Christensen guilty of second degree sexual abuse, his family is still fighting to prove his innocence.  They are waiting to head back to the same Woodbury County courtroom where his fate was sealed to present what they claim is new evidence in the hopes of getting him a new trial.

“I think if the jurors got the whole truth, he wouldn’t be here,” said sister Jana Weland.

Christensen and former Assistant Chief John Sickels were tried, convicted, and sentenced to 25 years behind bars in May 2009.

Alec Christensen was just 14 years old when his dad went to prison.  Nearly every week, he visits his dad at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville.

“If I even had a shadow of a doubt that I really believed my dad would have done anything like that or allowed something like that to happen, I wouldn’t be here.  I wouldn’t support him the way that I do.  I know that he didn’t, so that’s why I’m here every weekend,” said Alec.

The father-son routine includes a game of cribbage and pizza.

“We avoid the topic sometimes, but you don’t forget where you are,” said Alec.

After his May 2009 conviction for aiding and abetting in the rape of a woman after hours at the country club in Creston, Christensen filed an appeal.  The following November, the Iowa Court of Appeals upheld his sexual assault conviction. An appeal to the Iowa Supreme court went nowhere when the court declined to review his case.  In April 2015, six years into his 25 year prison sentence, Christensen’s application for Post-Conviction Relief was struck down, first in the district and then in the appellate courts.

Fast forward to March of this year,  Christensen’s attorney filed a second application for Post-Conviction Relief.  His attorney is citing newly-discovered evidence that contradicts what the victim testified to under oath during the trial.

“The person I said goodbye to the day before the trial is not the person who he really is anymore.  He’s lost a lot of hope,” agreed Alec.

But Alec says he isn’t giving up hope.  They see the upcoming hearing as Christensen’s last shot to walk out of prison a free man.

“He’s not the same Jamie,  he is broken,’ said Jana.

“If I do nothing, then I’m a part of the problem.  So the only way you get a solution is you fight it and you don’t stop,” said Lyndsay Krings, Alec’s mom.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office issued the following statement:

“We believe Iowa courts have ruled correctly in Mr. Christensen’s case. This is his second application for postconviction relief.  He was convicted in 2009 and the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed that conviction. The district court denied his first application for postconviction relief and the Iowa Court of Appeals again affirmed the conviction.

“In this application, the state of Iowa has filed an answer in the case denying any basis for the reversal of Mr. Christensen’s conviction.  As the matter is pending, further comment would be inconsistent with the ethical duties of the attorneys involved.” 

Christensen’s hearing was set for May 31st in Sioux City, but has since been postponed to September 20th.  A request to speak to Christensen behind bars was denied by the Department of Corrections out of the respect for the victim in this case.