The Des Moines Register’s endorsement of Republican agri-businessman Bill Northey of Spirit Lake, for Secretary of Agriculture, indicates where the editorial board thinks Iowa’s agricultural future lies.
The endorsement alleges the race between the Democratic candidate, an Atlantic area organic-farmer, and the Spirit Lake agri-businessman, holder of a Masters of Business Administration from Southwest Minnesota University in Marshall,MN, is not about big agri-business versus small family farm. The editorial board must have been swayed by Northey’s campaign’s slick television commercials and well-designed Web site, largely self-funded with generous contributions from some of the Iowa Republican Party’s heavy hitters.
Denise O’Brien, on the other hand, is truly an old-fashioned Iowa grassroots, meet-the-people type of candidate, which the Register editorial staff waxes poetic about but rarely endorses. No slick television spots and only a free Blogger.com, http://deniseobrien.blogspot.com/ , Web site. Nor is O’Brien’s name listed on The Institute of Money in State Politics’ Web site, FollowtheMoney.org, http://www.followthemoney.org/index.phtml.
This contest presents the voters with a choice between expanding big agri-business or promoting family farming. It is a choice between expanding hog factories, greater reliance on monoculture row crops and further environmental degradation or traditional Iowa values and clean land, water and skies.