Scott Syroka

How Democrats can use Bidenomics to win in rural America again

Scott Syroka is a former Johnston city council member.

Democrats have a major opportunity to increase their appeal in rural America, thanks to the policy framework crafted by President Biden, which he laid out in his June 28 address on Bidenomics in Chicago, Illinois.

While Democrats have successfully embraced Bidenomics to pass legislation like the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and beyond, they haven’t done enough to champion Bidenomics through a rural-specific lens.

By using this framework to present a vision for an inclusive rural economy, rather than the trickle-down status quo of exploitation, Democrats can draw a clear contrast with their Republican opponents.

If they choose to seize this opportunity, Democrats can begin to stop the electoral bloodbath in rural areas, shrink the margins, and maybe even start to win again.

The forgotten history of America’s family farm movement and its fight for parity shows us how.

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Why Walgreens may decide whether you can access reproductive care

Scott Syroka is a former Johnston city council member.

Does anyone remember voting for Rosalind Brewer? That’s the Walgreens CEO with the power to decide what kind of health care millions of Americans, including countless Iowans, get to access. The latest battle over reproductive rights shows us how.

Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it was hitting pause on an early April decision by Trump-appointed federal judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk to suspend approval of mifepristone previously granted by the Food and Drug Administration more than two decades ago.

If you’re not familiar yet, mifepristone is a safe and commonly used pill in abortion care. It can also be used to treat medical conditions like uterine fibroids (noncancerous growths in the uterus) as well as Cushing syndrome, a condition caused by prolonged exposure to high cortisol levels.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, pundits argued this meant that access to mifepristone would continue to be available to all Americans. Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, went as far as to say, “…nothing is going to change with respect to mifepristone access until and unless the court both takes the case on the merits and sides with the challengers.”

But that statement is not true. Access to mifepristone was already restricted for millions of Americans prior to Judge Kacsmaryk’s decision, so the Supreme Court’s stay on his ruling only prolongs a status quo of continued restrictions for too many. Corporate monopolies like Walgreens are the reason why.

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What's missing from Iowa's carbon pipeline debate

Scott Syroka is a former Johnston city council member.

There’s something missing in the debate over Iowa’s proposed carbon capture pipelines. Too often the discussion breaks down along familiar frames of the pipeline companies against landowners, or labor unions against environmentalists. When we stop the analysis here, we lose sight of what the fight is really about: the role of monopoly power in Iowans’ lives.

To date, no politician of either party is making this connection. Some have gotten close in their critiques of the pipeline companies, but none have highlighted the role of corporate monopolies in enabling these proposed schemes to exist in the first place. It’s strange because, as prominent politicians like U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar note, history is sitting right there in front of them.

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To protect LGBTQ rights in Iowa, we need to address monopoly power

Scott Syroka is a former Johnston city council member. This essay first appeared in the Sunday Des Moines Register.

Chuck Magro. John May. Donnie King. Cory Harris. Charles Scharf.

These are the CEOs of five of the most powerful corporations operating in Iowa: Corteva. John Deere. Tyson. Wellmark. Wells Fargo.

Where are they? Should we request a wellness check to make sure they’re OK?

These CEOs lead corporate monopolies making billions every year off the bodies and brains of Iowans, including LGBTQ Iowans, yet they’ve been missing in action as Iowa Republicans advance the largest number of anti-LGBTQ bills ever in a single legislative session.

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