Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | OCTOBER 14, 2014 5:00 AM

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Help to ‘energize’ Africa

As a member of the University of Iowa’s Campus Organization ONE, I would like to address an issue that deserves the community’s attention. On May 8, the Electrify Africa Act was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. Currently, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is assessing an amended version of the bill, the Energize Africa Act of 2014. Both proposed pieces of legislation are providing the United States a huge opportunity to dramatically improve and save millions of lives in sub-Saharan Africa by tackling the issue of energy poverty. We are calling on Sen. Tom Harkin and Sen. Chuck Grassley to follow the House’s lead and pass the Energize Africa Act, which would help African governments bring electricity access to 50 million people for the very first time. If you think about it, nearly everything requires energy: factories, farms, hospitals, schools, and businesses. But in sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 600 million people — that’s 70 percent of the population there — lacks reliable energy access.

ONE is a global poverty-fighting organization cofounded by U2’s Bono that has been one of the most active groups pushing for this bill. Its website, ONE.org, makes it easy for people to send a message to their senators urging them to pass the Energize Africa Act. One of the bill’s most remarkable features is that it incurs zero cost to American taxpayers because of the way it leverages the private sector. The Congressional Budget Office even found that it will make money for the United States over time. This new paradigm of foreign assistance is a win-win: We can save lives and promote prosperity for millions of people abroad and save money here at home. Our only enemy is apathy.

Mackenzie Leonard

Vote for Loebsack

When Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, ran for Congress in 2006, I supported him because he promised he would never vote to gut Social Security. He has kept his promise.

Conversely, his Republican opponent, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, would privatize Social Security. She said recently, “A personal account would prevent government sources from accessing that small portion, and therefore, it could grow substantially over time through compounded interest.” (votesmart.org) The reality is: A personal account would be decimated by pestering and costly administrative fees that would bankrupt seniors and erode the social safety net for the poor and middle class. Wall Street banks know that reality.

As well, Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst is open to the idea of privatization. She said: “… And I agree, we do have to look at some sort of personal savings account.” (IPTV, April 25) On the other hand, Democratic candidate Rep. Bruce Braley would leave Social Security as it was intended in FDR’s “New Deal.”

I agree that Iowa needs to put women in Congress but not these two women.

I’m voting to send Loebsack back to Washington along with Braley in the U.S. Senate. On Nov. 4, vote against gutting the middle class.

Ellen Ballas

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