Local candidate campaigns at coffeehouse meet-and-greets

Blake Smith talks to supporters at the Vine Coffeehouse in Ottumwa.

As President Obama

prepares to take his campaign to the Hawkeye State

, local politicians are working to drum up support from voters as well.

Political newcomer Blake Smith won the Republican bid for Iowa House District 81 in June's primary against Rick McClure. He will face Democratic incumbent Mary Gaskill in November.

As election day approaches, the Ottumwa High School graduate is holding several informal coffeehouse-style meet-and-greets, which he said is the best way to hear from the voters.

"To me, events like today are about meeting and listening to voters, I think too many times politicians tell people what they want to hear and don't do enough listening," Smith said. "So that's why we're doing events like this and we're listening to people to see what their thought is. We can always put political party aside and see what people really need and that's why we're doing this."

Smith has been traveling to other parts of the district as well, including Eldon and Agency. He said the recurring concerns from people seem to be property tax, corporate business tax and regulation reform for farmers.