Monday, January 09, 2006

And now, our feature presentation...

On Saturday, Chris Woods posted this, his endorsement of Chet Culver. I admire his honesty, to a point. This is a lot better than the "I haven't picked a candidate yet" bullshit he fed me at the Jefferson Jackson dinner after I bumped into him during the sign-posting circus.

Candidate bickering aside, though, I thought it was only fair that if Chris Woods could use his space to endorse Culver, I'd use mine to tell you why I'm supporting Ed Fallon.

I've been on board Fallon's campaign as a volunteer since April, a staff member since June, and a full time staff member since August. I signed up to volunteer for Fallon after an afternoon of research in April, looking at other candidates. I knew right away that Fallon was the only candidate I could support. Here are the biggest reasons why:

Health care: 329,000 Iowans have no health insurance, that's about 1 in 8. Over 500,000 Iowans are underinsured and even more face rising premiums that threaten push them out of the health care system in the
near future. The only way to reverse this trend is by getting insurance companies and others who benefit from the high cost of health care out of politics. Illinois, Maine, Hawaii and others have already taken steps towards ensuring full coverage for all of their citizens, we need to follow suit.

Environment: Ed has served on the House Environmental Committee for much of his 13 years in the state house, but has spent much of that time protecting the environment from legislation which would slash environmental protection standards to benefit businesses, hog confineries and other massive polluters. After 13 years of working as a stop-gap for ecological disaster, Ed would like an opportunity to lead Iowa in the other direction, with tougher restrictions on factory farms and more production and use of renewable energy. And while I hear lots of bantering about ethanol, which may or may not actually be a better solution, Ed's the only candidate I hear talking about wind, solar and biomass.

Education: Every politician will tell you they're for education, but many will prioritize it behind entities like the Iowa Values Fund or special interest tax cuts. In 2002, a budget shortfall forced Governor Vilsack to cut spending 2.5% across the board, including education, which had received no allowable growth for the year already. Earlier in the year, the state had received $100 million in federal aid to use against an expected budget shortfall. The state instead chose to use that $100 million to fund the Iowa Values Fund. Ed was one of the few legislators to oppose that decision. Later, he proposed an amendment that would have given almost $50 million of that money back to schools, at the expense of the Values Fund. Again, the Legislature shot it down.

Clean elections: This is the issue that ties it all together. As long as insurance companies are allowed to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns, we can't expect health care problems to be fixed. As long as factory farmers and MidAmerican Energy are buying support for their issues, we can't expect cleaner water or more renewable energy. And when special interests are investing in politicians and receiving tax breaks in return, it should come as no surprise when we don't have enough money to properly fund our education system.

Those are the four most common reasons to support Ed Fallon, and they're the biggest four reasons why I'm supporting him. But if those reasons aren't compelling to you, here's 80 more. They come from Democrats, Independents and Republicans. They come from men and women, urban and rural, gay and straight. They come from Iowans in all walks of life. All of them have found a reason to support Ed Fallon. Check them out and see if you can find a reason to support Ed Fallon too.

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