Yet another direct-mail piece from Clair Rudison's campaign went out to Democratic residents of Iowa House district 66 this week. Rudison is challenging two-term State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad and sent out at least four other mailers attacking the incumbent's record. The new piece claims, "When Rep Abdul-Samad voted to ban texting while driving, he opened the door for young black men and women to be potentially targeted for unnecessary stops by law enforcement." I'm having trouble uploading the image, but you can view the piece at Iowa Independent.
The mail piece is inaccurate, since the new law makes clear that "Law enforcement cannot stop or detain a person only for suspected violations of texting and local governments are not allowed to adopt their own ordinances." That language was added to the bill after an anonymous group paid for robocalls in February alleging that a texting ban would give police another excuse for racially-motivated traffic stops and arrests. At that time, Abdul-Samad told KCCI,
"If you have officers that are - it's not going to be because of texting. It's because they were going to find a reason to do that anyway," said Samad.
Samad said he heard the same argument when the seatbelt law was first considered and he said that law has saved thousands of lives.
"If we need to look at racial profiling, I will work with the organization that hasn't left their name yet or who they are -- and say let's do some legislation. Let's do something on that. But lets not cloud the issue that there are thousands of young people and adults that are dying," said Samad.
If you know any Des Moines residents who live in House district 66 (map), please urge them to go vote for Ako today. Polls are open until 9 pm.