Iowa's Democracy Spring

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In the 2016 Iowa Democratic Senate primary, if we are not careful, we are going to get corporate ag anti-environment, anti-labor Patty Judge jammed down our throats. The two progressives in the race are Tom Fiegen and Rob Hogg. The purpose of this letter is to compare the two on the issues that are important to us as progressives:clean water, CAFOs, blocking the Prestage slaughter plant in Mason City, the Bakken pipeline, $15 minimum wage, family farming, economic fairness and immigrant rights.

On clean water, Tom Fiegen is in favor of having industrial agriculture polluters pay to take the nitrate and other ag poisons out of our water. Rob Hogg is in favor of raising the sales tax on working Iowans to pay to bribe polluters to do the right thing. Rob believes urban Iowans are as responsible for water pollution as industrial agriculture, despite the scientific assessment done for the Nutrient Reduction Strategy showing 93% of the water pollution in Iowa is caused by agriculture.

On CAFOs, Tom Fiegen is in favor of a moratorium on new CAFOs until the environmental issues associated with CAFOs like odor and water pollution are resolved. Tom Fiegen is also in favor of local control and a “good neighbor” law that subjects CAFOs to lawsuits by neighbors if odor and flies degrade the neighborhood. Rob Hogg, while professing support for family farms and rural residents, voted against them and CCI in May 2013, when he voted for SF 418 which allows CAFOS to dump manure in vacant buildings of neighbors. Both CCI and the Farmers Union strongly objected to SF 418.

Tom Fiegen has been active in supporting CCI to block the Prestage slaughter plant in Mason City. Tom attended the planning meeting, and testified before the Mason City Council on April 21st against the plant with CCI and community members. Tom has also been offering legal strategies to members to block the plant which proposes to slaughter 10,000 hogs per shift on the south edge of town, from Prestage CAFOs. Rob Hogg has been silent on the Prestage slaughter plant.

Both Tom Fiegen and Rob Hogg oppose the Bakken pipeline. Tom has joined protests and supports the lawsuits by the landowners and the Sierra Club. Rob Hogg sponsored a “show bill” SF506 at the end the 2015 session, and then gave his unanimous consent to have it referred to the Judiciary Committee to kill it. Climate change leadership is more than just going through the motions. It involves standing up to the party leadership.

Both Tom Fiegen and Rob Hogg favor increasing the minimum wage.

Tom Fiegen was raised on a diversified family farm, farmed himself for three years, has represented family farms in his law practice the last 28 years, and is a member of the Iowa Farmers Union. He was named Friend of the Family Farmer by the Farmers Union in 2002. Rob Hogg was raised in Iowa City and was named a Friend of the Family Farmer in 2004.

On economic fairness, Tom Fiegen supports the economic platform of Bernie Sanders and in fact endorsed Bernie Sanders at the Democratic Party JJ Dinner in October 2015. Rob Hogg’s record is more of a mixed bag based upon his law practice representing foreclosing banks and insurance companies denying insurance coverage.

Finally, Tom Fiegen supports immigrant rights. Tom has called for a path to citizenship and promoted dual citizenship. Rob Hogg voted in 2006 to deny undocumented Iowans the right to obtain a home mortgage.

In reviewing the issues important to progressives,you can see that Tom Fiegen’s history and political positions are more in line with the goals and priorities of progressives than Rob Hogg. I hope you will join me in supporting Tom Fiegen as the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Iowa.

  • you forgot to mention

    that Fiegen is anti-choice

    • at the recent forum

      for all four Senate candidates in Des Moines, Fiegen said he agrees with Roe v Wade: abortion should be legal in the first trimester, not legal in the third trimester, and in the second trimester it should depend on the viability of the fetus.

      • Roe

        So he really doesn’t agree with Roe, then. Roe uses the third trimester as a proxy for viability; the legality of abortion does not depend on viability in the second trimester. In the Roe framework, regulation in the second trimester can only be for protection of the mother, but not to interfere with her reproductive rights. Nor can abortion be made “not legal” in the third trimester under Roe — it can be regulated to protect the fetus but only if exceptions are made for the health of the mother. (Obviously this all changes with Casey, but the point being if Fiegen is saying he is “pro-Roe” but describing it as you say, he is trying to pull a fast one on those who truly believe in choice.)

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