Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 24, 2017

Phil Miller will represent all people

By John Ikerd | Aug 03, 2017

To the editor:

The outcome of the Aug. 8 special election will be important for southeast Iowa, the state, and nation.

Curt Hanson was a true representative of the people, including all of the people. We need a representative of all the people to fill his seat in the Iowa House. Unfortunately, today’s politics often sink to the level of personal attacks rather than focusing on the essentials of good governance.

Both candidates obviously are people of solid character, in that both have held positions of respect and responsibility in their respective communities. The important questions relate to differences in priorities and principles of governance that would guide their respective decisions.

Phil Miller believes that education is an essential priority for state and local government rather than a discretionary budget item that can be cut with impunity. Phil Miller believes better jobs and better wages result when local people are given an opportunity to invest their time, talents, and money in their own communities.

If Harris agrees with his party on these issues, he would treat the state education budget as a discretionary item that can be cut with impunity. He would also continue subsidizing the corporations that have been sucking the economic life out of rural areas for decades.

Ads for Travis Harris suggest he is a family farmer, but he makes his living as a farm financial consultant. He poses as a farmer in TV ads, presumably because family farming is held in high esteem, particularly in Iowa. However, the farming operations that dominate agricultural production in Iowa today are very different from traditional family farms.

They pollute our air, water and foods with agricultural chemicals and biological wastes. They systematically displace family farms and are destroying Iowa’s rural economies and communities. These are not family farms but corporately-dominated farm businesses.

The negative impacts this kind of farming has had on rural areas over the past 50 years are undeniable. These are the kinds of operations that Travis Harris has said he wants to protect and defend in Des Moines.

As a veterinarian, Phil Miller has spent his professional life helping family farmers care for their animals. He has experienced the decline in rural employment and the economic decay of rural communities as large concentrated animal feeding operations have displaced Iowa’s independent family livestock farms. He understands the negative environmental, social, and public health consequences of factory farms.

In his international travels, he has seen viable agricultural alternatives that give the well-being of people priority over profits of agribusiness corporations. He understands that government has an essential role in ensuring that agriculture not only provides a means of making a living but also supports a desirable quality of life — for farm families, their neighbors, consumers, and society as a whole. I believe Phil Miller, like Curt Hanson before him, will be the best true representative of the people — all the people.

 

— John Ikerd, Fairfield

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