Braley for Senate

Joni Ernst has a solution to the problems of government: Blow it up. Worried about Social Security? Scrap it for private vouchers that may or may not sustain Grandma. Don’t like the EPA dragging its feet on renewable fuels? Get rid of it. Think the Affordable Care Act is a drag on the economy? Repeal it. “We need to come up with a plan that is patient-centered,” the Red Oak Republican said during her first general US Senate campaign appearance in Storm Lake on Friday.

Bruce Braley supports the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate on a broad, bipartisan basis. Ernst said it amounts to amnesty and she’s against it. (The bill would require undocumented immigrants to pay a fine and apply for residency. That is not amnesty, which implies no penalty or process whatsoever.)

She wants to sweep out the government but doesn’t really have a clue what to replace it with.

Ernst is running against Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo who has represented northeast Iowa in the US House of Representatives. Braley has proved himself to be a champion for strengthening Social Security, for making certain that affordable health care is available to every American without discrimination, for veterans seeking care through Community Health Centers like Storm Lake’s, and for a strong renewable energy portfolio that enhances farmers’ bottom lines and makes our nation more secure.

Each seeks to replace Sen. Tom Harkin, a Warren County Democrat who has been a champion of Midwest progressives for over a generation. We have fawned plenty over the great liberal lion whom we hold in the same regard as the late Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota and Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Harkin was always working night security for the little guy.

Unfairly, we have put Braley up for inspection against the Harkin prism and found, surprise, that Bruce Braley is not Tom Harkin. He cannot be. What Braley is: smart, the product of an upbringing in Brooklyn, Iowa, approachable and genial, committed to the progressive cause that seeks to lift all boats, pragmatic and realistic.

Harkin is Iowa’s counter-weight to Sen. Chuck Grassley, a conservative Republican, who battled Harkin fiercely over the Affordable Care Act.

Iowans like that give and take. Republican and Democrat. We have a strong Republican governor in Terry Branstad and a brilliant Democratic Senate Majority Leader in Mike Gronstal. We had Democrat Harold Hughes and Republican Jack Miller serving in the Senate together. Iowans didn’t like it when John Culver and Dick Clark, Democrats both, took our two Senate seats; Clark had to go after two years of a united delegation. Harkin split up the Senate delegation of Grassley and Sen. Roger Jepsen.

Braley would keep the Senate delegation balanced. It allows Iowa to work both caucuses for the good of the state.

Democrat Jim Eliason of Storm Lake asked Ernst on Friday about abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency. She responded that the EPA is a “bloated bureaucracy” that is taking away the rights of farmers to farm. She said that states can handle their own problems even when their actions affect other states, such as overloading the Mississippi River with nitrates that are strangling the Gulf of Mexico. If need be, the Department of Energy could oversee state environmental efforts, she said.

“We should do it the Iowa Way,” Ernst said.

Except that the Iowa Way, the Illinois Way and the Minnesota Way have polluted America’s great river so badly that the shrimping industry is dying as fast as the Dead Zone in the Gulf is growing.

She also alleged that so-called cap-and-trade is designed to harm farmers. In fact, the legislation would reward farmers for sequestering carbon through plant life that sucks up emissions from power plants.

Someone with such a simplistic understanding of government function and policy has no business in the US Senate. In fact, Ernst has no business running for the Senate with such a dim understanding of things.

Braley is better prepared than Ernst. He is a builder, not a destroyer. Braley will preserve Iowa’s penchant for balance in its congressional delegation. He will be a great successor to Tom Harkin.

Mowrer for Congress

It should come as no surprise that we urge you to vote for Jim Mowrer, D-Boone, in the race for Fourth District Congress against incumbent Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron. We have endorsed every candidate to run against him over the past decade as he continues to insult the growing bulk of Storm Lake residents: hard-working Latinos who are trying to escape poverty, corruption, crime and violence in their homelands who simply want a little peace and prosperity on the prairie.

King has done almost nothing to help build Storm Lake and Buena Vista County. Most of his effort involves getting his nativist views on right-wing websites and cable TV shows. He has tried time and again to shut down the government over health insurance legislation, and threatens another such effort if President Obama issues executive orders over immigration. Like Ernst, King knows what he is against. His game is entirely about tearing things down, not building things up.

Jim Mowrer is an Iraq war veteran, a Boone farm boy, a dedicated husband and father, a former Pentagon strategic analyst, and a straight talker who tries to understand different points of view. He would be a representative from Iowa for whom we all could be proud to call “congressman.”

Vote for Jim Mowrer Nov. 4. Enough of Steve King, already.