Memo to presidential candidates: Rural Iowa is more than farm sector economics

ISU economist Dave Swenson: Iowa’s rural needs are more complicated, persistent, and acute than the current fortunes of the farm sector. -promoted by Laura Belin

Iowa currently hosts a horde of Democratic presidential candidates, but from what I can tell thus far, few have any meaningful experiences or insights dealing with rural areas or rural issues.

Historically, visiting candidates paid obligatory lip service to farm sector concerns – ethanol, commodity prices, and regulatory restrictions as examples — and assumed or pretended that took care of most rural issues.

But rural economies are more diverse than most suppose.

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Coming of age: Children's issues and the 2020 election

Charles Bruner has been involved with the Children’s Policy Coalition over the last three decades and led in the design of both the 2015 and 2019 Iowa Voter Survey conducted by Selzer & Co. -promoted by Laura Belin

For the first time in our country’s history, children face the prospect of growing up less healthy, living shorter lives, and being less prepared to compete and lead in a world economy.

This is not a matter of a few children. One-fifth of America’s kids are struggling and already face sober futures; another one-third definitely are not doing as well as they could to prepare themselves to be adults. These statistics hold even if we are able to address global climate change and its adverse impacts.

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Tanks in Washington and other July 4 links

President Donald Trump has ordered a military parade and flyover in Washington, DC to celebrate Independence Day. He’s been wanting to stage this kind of display since his first year in office.

The production will cost millions of additional dollars and shut down air traffic to and from Reagan National Airport for hours. Republican donors and VIPs will get special passes to watch the festivities in a restricted area. Traditionally, all July 4 events in the nation’s capital have been free and open to the public.

The National Park Service is diverting $2.5 million “primarily intended to improve parks across the country” to cover a “fraction of the extra costs,” the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey, and Dan Lamothe reported on July 2. The “entire Fourth of July celebration on the Mall typically costs the agency about $2 million,” a former Park Service deputy director told the newspaper. Costs could escalate if the heavy military equipment damages streets.

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The first Democratic debate and Iowa: Biden in real trouble and a race remade

Dan Guild puts the latest Democratic primary poll numbers in context. -promoted by Laura Belin

The above image and the accompanying story were national news within minutes of the end of the first debates. Kamala Harris attacking Joe Biden for his statements about busing and his praise for two old segregationist senators was the story of the June 27 event.

Less than a week later, the race in Iowa is remade.

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What the debates taught us

Ira Lacher: “For many Americans who only experience candidates through email appeals or in prepackaged videos, the debates provided an opportunity to see them as people.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Now that the first Democratic presidential debates have come and gone, what have we learned?

Forgetting and ignoring what the national media have said, here’s what I learned from my own and others’ observations from two nights of debate-watching parties.

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Follow Cory Booker's lead

The College and Young Democrats of Iowa have urged all the presidential campaigns to pay their interns. Lucy Karlin writes about her experience working for Cory Booker this summer. -promoted by Laura Belin

I have been an unpaid intern on Democratic campaigns for the last three years, and the experiences have inspired me to pursue political science as a major in college. As I am now in college, I knew I had to make money this summer to help pay for tuition, but I was torn because I didn’t know if that would enable me to still be engaged in campaigns.

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