Tag Archives: Iowa

In Iowa, Politics Is Everything

From “What Stephen Bloom Is Missing About Iowa”, by Lynda Waddington, a response to “Observations From 20 Years of Iowa Life” by Stephen Bloom.

In Iowa, more than any other state except maybe New Hampshire, “think globally, but act locally” isn’t just a catch phrase. Those are words to live by. Residents understand that politics ranging from the local park board to the White House are symbiotic relationships that impact us all.

It is not possible to offer an assessment of anything in the state — agriculture, immigration, religion, education, etc. — without also acknowledging and including the political ramifications.

While I know many western Iowans who do not agree with ever-inflammatory U.S. Rep. Steve King, they cannot deny the Washington pork he provides is beneficial.

[Stephen] Bloom correctly notes that suicide rates in rural areas are higher than in urban centers and that behavioral health services (as well as other specialized health care) are not readily available, a subject I researched for more than a year while working as a political reporter. He does not note, however, that rural advocates, as part of an Iowa-centric regional hub, advocated and won approval for a rural emergency hotline service as a part of the Farm Bill. Although the hotline, which many believed would save hundreds of lives, came with a price tag of less than 1 percent of the total Farm Bill appropriations, it was never funded. Members of Congress saw the need for the program, but never carried through.

A state where politics is of importance and connected to everything, a representative who can at least be expected to bring in the federal cash, a simple hotline to provide assistance for the beleaguered – especially military veterans – that remains unfunded.

These may be contradictions, in life, in Ms. Waddington’s piece, bless her heart, or both.

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