Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Time For Democratic Candidates To Stand For Something Voters Want-- Meet Iowa's Austin Frerick


Austin Frerick is a 27 year old candidate for Congress, running for the Iowa congressional seat held by Paul Ryan rubber stamp David Young. The district, stretches from Des Moines across southwestern Iowa to Council Bluffs and the Omaha suburbs. It includes 16 counties though most of the votes come out of Polk (Des Moines), Pottawattamie (Council Bluffs), Dallas (Adel) and Warren (indianola) counties. Obama won the district both times he ran but Hillary's corporate, establishment image couldn't have been worse for the area. She lost to Trump 48.5-45.0% despite winning pretty substantially in Des Moines.

The DCCC seems to have found a candidate to run for Congress with all of Hillary's perceived flaws and none of her positive attributes, Theresa Greenfield-- some rich conservative with (big surprise) no issues page on her website, no issues page because she doesn't want Democratic primary voters to know how conservative she is. Luckily there are half a dozen other candidates running for the seat, including Frerick. His website issues page is one of the best ones I've seen all year. Looks like he's proud to share his positions with Iowa voters.
I oppose the Monsanto-Bayer merger because it hurts small farmers and rural Iowa.
I support reinstating the Glass-Stegall Act to ensure that Wall Street bankers don’t play around with our savings.
I believe that climate change is human-made and will support policies that stem the tide of global warming.
I support funding the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and other sustainable centers through the Farm Bill.
I support making it easier to vote by: 1) Automatically registering voters with an opt-out provision, 2) Making Election Day a national holiday, and 3) Resisting efforts that infringe on any American’s right to vote.
I support a woman’s right to choose.
I support the right of LGBTQ people to enjoy the rights and privileges afforded to every Iowan.
I support the creation of a single-payer healthcare system by expanding Medicare to cover every American.
I support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and support passage of the DREAM Act.
I support building on the legacy of Senator Tom Harkin by expanding the rights guarantee under the Americans with Disabilities Act and by working toward the promise of full employment opportunity for Americans with disabilities.
I support the creation of a universal higher education system through the expansion of free public community colleges and state universities.
I support the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other cost-saving prescription drug measures.
I support the immediate infusion of federal money to expand high-speed broadband to rural Iowa communities.
I support a federal $15 minimum wage.
I support an increase of federal funding for libraries, museums, and the performing and creative arts.
I oppose policies, such as non-compete agreements, that restrict a person’s ability to find a new job.
I support protecting the right of unions, including public sector unions, to collectively bargain for a fair contract and reasonable benefits.
I support family-friendly policies like paid leave, universal child-care, and a child allowance.
I support defending the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in order to ensure that Iowans get a fair deal when buying a house or car, banking, or taking out loans for school.
I support a federal budget that bolsters the middle class and the economy rather than cutting essential services.
I support affirmative action.
I support protecting Social Security including Disability Insurance.
I support the national enactment of Iowa’s nonpartisan redistricting process to stop gerrymandering.
I support campaign finance reform and I oppose taking money from corporations.
I support overhauling the shamefully inadequate Native American public assistance system.
I support reforming mandatory minimum sentencing and I oppose the privatization of prisons.
I support nationwide patient ratios to ensure safe staffing for RNs and patients.
I support the cultivation of advanced manufacturing jobs by expanding Manufacturing USA.
So who's this guy going up against the DCCC's establishment pick? Before he decided to run for Congress he was getting a name for himself as one of the people in the Obama administration who was serious about anti-trust. An economist for the Treasury Department, he has made a name for himself opposing Big Pharma monopolies and the proposed Monsanto-Bayer merger.

The best Iowa blog that I know of, Bleeding Heartland, is where I first heard of Frerick. Without endorsing anyone, they make a very compelling case for nominating him to take on Young.

About a month before Frerick stepped into the race, he wrote an OpEd for the Des Moines Register, To save rural Iowa, we must oppose Monsanto-Bayer merger.
Iowa farmers face a crisis. Crop prices have fallen by more than 50 percent since 2013, with no end in sight. At the same time, farmers hold more debt and possess fewer capital reserves to fall back on. In fact, farmers’ debt levels are almost as high as they were prior to the farm crisis of the mid-1980s.

Meanwhile, a wave of mergers among the world’s agricultural giants is upending the markets for seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. If approved, the proposed merger would result in just two companies-- Monsanto-Bayer and Dow-DuPont-- controlling about three-quarters of the U.S. corn seed market. The power that these corporations would hold in the seed market is unprecedented.

Farmers are already being squeezed. The price of corn seed has more than doubled in the past 10 years-- from $51 per acre in 2006 to $102 in 2015-- as a result of similar consolidation, including Monsanto’s purchases of DeKalb and Cargill's international seed business. If the Monsanto-Bayer merger is permitted, this problem will only intensify, further limiting farmers’ choices and making the products they need even more expensive.

The merger does not just strengthen Monsanto’s control over the corn seed industry. It also helps the company grow its dominance in other areas, like fertilizers, pesticides, and precision farming technology. Monsanto’s goal is to bundle all of these products together, sort of like how a cable company bundles internet, phone and television. And just like with most cable companies, the service will be overpriced and shoddy because it will leave farmers with no other option.

Yet this mega-merger is moving forward with barely a murmur of concern from our elected officials in Washington. Not a single senator raised this matter at confirmation hearings for Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Even worse, the nominee to lead the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division is a former lobbyist who asserted in a recent interview that “a monopoly is perfectly legal.” It is not surprising that Monsanto and Bayer alone spent $120 million in the last decade on lobbying elected officials at the federal level.

And while stopping the Monsanto-Bayer merger would be a good first step, we need to go even further to prevent these giants from bullying Iowa farmers. Monsanto and other agricultural giants like it are just too big. A century ago, President Teddy Roosevelt broke up the trusts and monopolies of his time because he understood that the deck was stacked against consumers, farmers and small businesses.

We need to take a cue from Roosevelt and break up Monsanto and other Big Ag corporations like it. Time and again, studies have shown that monopolies result in less innovation, fewer choices and higher prices for farmers and consumers. We cannot continue to line the pockets of wealthy executives in far-off big cities. By breaking up these giants, we can restore competition and bring vitality back to Iowa’s rural communities.
Frerick is the kind of independent-minded, out-of-the-box candidate who can take back this district and defeat Young, wave or no wave, based on real issues that are important to Iowa voters, not to Beltway consultants. Another DCCC assembly line construct is not going to do it, no matter how much money she has.

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At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

doesn't matter what a small number of candidates SAY they stand for.
Pelosi and scummer stand for their big donors and nobody else. And they rule their 'respective' caucuses with iron jackboots.
should've impeached cheney and gonzalez but refused.
should've put dimon and blankfein in prison but refused.
should've put cheney and Rumsfeld on the dock at The Hague, but refused (and suppressed a Spanish effort to do just that).
should've stopped drone murders, but expanded them.
should've fixed voting, but refused.
should've nationalized and divested all TBTFs but refused, instead taking a few billion in campaign money from them.
should've reversed privatized war, prisons et al, but refused and took campaign money from them.
If Alan Grayson could not make the democraps better, what can Iowa's Austin do?


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