Latest news on the Boswell-Fallon race

Tom Harkin and Leonard Boswell are good people and good Democrats, so it’s disappointing to read in the Sunday Des Moines Register that they are unwilling to take a stand against building new coal-fired power plans in Marshalltown and Waterloo.

It could hardly be more clear that building new coal-fired plants is bad for the environment, bad for the public’s health, and a net loss for Iowa’s economy (since we would be importing all the coal used in the plants).

Ed Fallon categorically opposes building new coal-fired power plants in Iowa. In the article I linked above, Boswell said he hadn’t studied the issue closely, because the proposed plants are located outside Iowa’s third Congressional district. Fallon has the right response:

Fallon said even though the plants would be outside Boswell’s district, some central Iowa towns would be downwind from the Marshalltown facility.

“It clearly affects our district, and because of concerns about greenhouse gas, it concerns our whole planet,” said Fallon, a former state representative who opposes construction of any new coal-fired plants.

Jennifer Oredson of Des Moines, the Greenpeace member who asked about the plants, said she had mixed feelings about the answers from Harkin and Boswell. She said her group opposes the plants, but she appreciated that both men are pushing for more conservation and alternative sources of energy.

She particularly noted Boswell’s support of the Safe Climate Act, which aims to limit greenhouse gases. But she said her group would not endorse a candidate in the primary.

By the way, Representatives Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) signed onto the Safe Climate Act months earlier than Boswell. Boswell only took that position in December, when rumors of Fallon’s likely primary challenge were circulating.

In related news, Boswell was on Iowa Public Television this weekend saying he is more qualified than Fallon to represent the district. He also brought up Fallon’s support for Ralph Nader in 2000, which seems to be Boswell’s strongest card to play.

But Boswell’s comments on policy during that television program suggest that he is feeling the heat from Fallon’s criticism:

On other issues, Boswell said:

– Congress should consider repealing the North American Free Trade Agreement, which “hasn’t worked well.” Fallon opposes NAFTA and other free-trade agreements. Boswell supported a recent trade agreement with Peru.

– The country should look for ways to burn coal in efficient, environmentally friendly ways perhaps even “cleaning” Iowa’s high-sulfur coal. Fallon wants a moratorium on new coal plants, which are a chief source of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change.

Fallon has said Boswell supports greater use of coal and backed $14 billion in tax breaks and incentives for oil and gas companies.

– He supported tougher fuel efficiency standards for cars after voting against an earlier measure. “We recently raised the fuel-efficiency standard. If you don’t want to put people out of work, and not cause a new problem, you have to look at it carefully.”

– He supports removing troops from Iraq, but opposed a bill that would have led to immediate withdrawal, something that he believed would have cost too many lives. Boswell said he originally supported the war based on the administration’s statement that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, later disputed. Fallon has said he opposed the war all along.

I saw Fallon yesterday at the Natural Living Expo in Des Moines, and it looked like a lot of people were signing up to volunteer.

Also this weekend, the Des Moines Register reported that Fallon has raised about $130,000 for his campaign and has 16 paid staffers.

  • This is a good contrast

    for Fallon.  This is an issue that will surely resonate well with many people who will be voting in the primary.

    Thinking about the threat of two new coal plants, Governor Culver is the one who really needs to step up to the plate.  All the good things he has been doing (signing on to a Midwestern greenhouse gas initiative, coming up with a good energy bill proposal) will be in vain if we build those two plants.  He needs to follow the example of the Florida governor (an R, btw) and Gov. Sebelius of KS.  Both found executive branch powers to stop projects in their states.  Surely Culver could do the same here.  

    Hell, even Ted Sporer is against those plants.

    • I agree completely

      and am frankly a little surprised that Culver has not taken a position against the coal plants already.  

  • Fallon can't deliver

    While I always appreciate a little competition to keep things honest and interesting, I do think fallon should be running in this race against Boswell. After beating strong republicans challenger in a moderate republican district finally gets the chance to relax a little and not have to fight tooth and nail in an election. I think you should take a closer look at fallon’s record on being a “supportive” democrat. You should also take a look at Boswell’s voting record at

    iowaprogress.com and you will see that he has been voting with democratics for good progressive change. As we have seen Boswell is a fighter and knows how to win a campaign and I think fallon was hoping that he could just sneak one in here but I dont think that will be the case. Even if Fallon does win this primary I think a republican will pop up pretty quickly and in this district I don’t think he will win. The primary could be good if all Fallon does is raise issues but I have seen him speak and that is not what he is doing, he has decided the only way to win is attack Boswell. Lets hope he stops that and just raises issues which is always beneficial for everyone.

    • correction

      it says “I do think falon should be running” it should have read however that i DON’T think fallon should be running in this race

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