Letters to the Editor

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 11, 2014 5:00 AM

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The shame of Iowa

I’ve always thought of myself as an Iowan, even though I was born in Illinois and have lived out-of-state for the past 33 years. I looked forward to spending my retirement years in Iowa. Until November 4, I was proud to call myself a Hawkeye. But then the voters of Iowa did the unthinkable: they elected to the U. S. Senate a right-wing extremist who can’t even accept basic facts. Yes, I’m talking about Joni Ernst, who, when a reporter reminded her that there was only one case of Ebola in the United States, replied, “OK, you’re the press, and you’re giving me your opinion.”

Once upon a time, Iowans were a rational lot. At least it seemed that way. They’d elect and re-elect conservative hacks such as Terry Branstad and Charles Grassley, but wouldn’t go for a nutcase. That began to change when northwestern Iowans sent Steve King to the House of Representatives. And now Iowa will have a senator who’s not only a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, but apparently thinks we have an Ebola epidemic.

The last time I voted in Iowa was in 1980, when we turned out the decent Sen. John C. Culver for Grassley, who waged an even dirtier campaign than Ernst. Grassley all but accused Culver, who was Edward Kennedy’s roommate at Harvard, of helping Kennedy cover up the Chappaquiddick scandal.

Still, I’m hopeful for 2016. It will be a presidential year with higher voter turnout. And unlike 1980, the GOP won’t have a Ronald Reagan at the top of the ticket, lulling Americans into voting Republican with his soothing fables. Perhaps Iowans can even undo their blunder of 1980 by unseating Grassley, presuming he doesn’t retire. But we’re all stuck with Ernst through the end of the decade.

Stephen Crews Wylder

Make us proud, Sen. Ernst

Congratulations on winning the Senate seat Tuesday night.

I spent the last several months advising my friends and family against supporting you in the election. I disagree with many of the positions you embraced in the course of your campaign. That being said, you ran an effective operation, and for that you have my respect.

I want you to be a successful champion for Iowans while in Washington. I strongly urge you to support legislation promoting education, infrastructure and basic research. These are necessary economic investments backed by a great deal of data. I am confident you can make evidence-based decisions while serving in the Senate; in doing so you can help ensure economic growth for Iowa and its people.

I wish you the best over the next six years. I am optimistic you can bring Iowa values to Washington. Expect to hear from me on a regular basis. (Just ask your colleague Sen. Grassley.) I know we won’t agree on everything, but I hope the two of us and the rest of the state can engage in constructive dialogue throughout your term. Make us proud, Sen. Ernst.

Rob Humble

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