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Local Editorials

Speak out about your own views

Oh, huzzah, the hero!

I know it might not be popular. I know it isn’t quite so hip as finding out the gender of the royal baby halfway across the world or anywhere near so exciting as adding your voice to either side of the uproar over the Zimmerman trial (Which I doubt you’ve fully educated yourself on anyway, sorry) but let’s take the time to clue into our politics and see what our representatives our doing.

I’m going to do something that I don’t like to do, and usually wouldn’t: I’m going to put a few of my political beliefs into this space.

I would personally like to salute our Respresentative, Dave Loebsack, for encouraging an ongoing conversation on the farm bill.

Joining with Collin Peterson, a representative from Minnesota, Loebsack hosted a public farm bill forum at the Johnson County ISU extension office in Iowa City over the weekend. 

Loebsack understands what the farm bill means to Iowans, and I’m not just talking about Iowans on John Deere tractors. He understands the importance of the SNAP program, the anti-hunger initiatives attached to the farm bill, and is working to keep up the conversation on these critical programs which impact Iowans from all backgrounds, in all parts of the state. 

“Our economy is still struggling to recover and many families rely on this program to put food on the table and ensure their children do not go to school hungry,” Loebsack said in an interview with the Knoxville Journal Express. 

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, 195,154 households and 415,718 individuals were enrolled in Iowa’s Food Assistance Program a year ago, in August of 2012. The average benefit per individual is $120.84 per month.

Now, a lot of people would look at those numbers, see the dollar signs racking up and say, “Let’s cut it off. That’s my tax dollars, that I worked hard for.”

I can certainly understand that perspective, but to be honest, I don’t know how it is so pervasive in rural Iowa. At the end of the day, these communities that we live in are poor. You look at the school systems and you see a huge chunk of the student body on cost-assisted or free school lunches. You have a lot of people on the SNAP program, but the mentality that I keep seeing is, “I need it. It’s different for me than it is for other people, and we should probably still cut the programs.”

You have people who are making less than a living wage, and as such, we have to supplement their income with these programs or watch them slip further down the social and economic ladders. At the end of the day, these programs aren’t welfare for the people, they’re largely welfare for the big corporations and other employers who don’t want to pay out a living wage. We’re supplementing their unethical business practices.

So, that’s my take on these programs, and I have a huge amount of respect for Loebsack for keeping this conversation going. No matter where you fall on the topic, you should also encourage the conversation. More than that, you should do so by contacting your representatives and adding your voice. 

Why be a passive consumer of news and petty politics when you can actually weigh in on issues that directly impact thousands of people in your everyday life?

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