With just two counties left before he's covered all 99 in Iowa, Democratic candidate for Governor Ed Fallon spent a full day in Buena Vista County Monday before moving on to finish off in Delaware County Thursday, home of Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle.
Fallon spent the day first at Plaza Mexico in Storm Lake then at The Depot in Alta. Later he held public meetings at La Juanitas and Floors Etc.
Fallon was last in Storm Lake when he made his "Scary Money" tour shortly before Halloween. He continues to espouse the same theme, taking on Republican Bob Vander Plaats and former state development czar Mike Blouin for what Fallon sees as their ties to big money political campaigns.
Fallon has pledged to not take money from political action committees, corporations, or CEOs. In one instance, he said he turned down a $500 offer from a corporate CEO.
"I've had that happen as a state representative and I've always turned it back," the seven-term state representative from Des Moines told the Pilot-Tribune Monday.
Fallon pointed to a situation involving fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver's campaign Co-chair Bill Knapp whom Fallon said profited handsomely by selling property for a new Iowa Department of Transportation office outside Des Moines.
Fallon said Knapp bought land for $15,000 an acre then sold it for $130,000 an acre to the DOT for a new drivers license station, effectively moving the station "from the heart of Des Moines out to farm ground," Fallon said. "This guy's (Knapp) a big player. And he's Chet Culver's campaign chair."
Declaring that his campaign is "nonpolitical" and "nonpartisan", Fallon said in reality he is fighting against a small but powerful group that "sees state government as their private feeding trough. It's been bad for a while, but now it's getting worse," Fallon said.
Fallon's anti-big donations pledge has apparently not caused him any serious problems in his statehouse races, the first of which he won in 1992 with $6,000 in campaign contributions.
Fallon faces stiff competition from both parties, both from Secretary of State Culver and Blouin and probably to a somewhat lesser extent from Iowa Ag Secretary Patty Judge. On the Republican side, U.S. Representative Jim Nussle and Bob Vander Plaats should both promise strong competition.
If he doesn't win the Governorship, Fallon says, "God will find plenty of good work for me to do." Fallon founded the non-profit group "One thousand Friends of Iowa", a group that promotes individual rights in land use issues. The group helped local resident Pat Cone reach an amicable resolution with the City of Storm Lake in a land use issue.
Fluent in Spanish, Fallon is certainly in a position to tap the Latino community's vote. He said many Latino people have said they appreciate having a candidate who understands their language and culture.
Fallon said Latinos face many of the same problems faced by other Iowans.
"We've got to do better by our schools," said Fallon, who opposes forced school consolidations and wants to bolster teachers' salaries. "Latinos are affected by a very poor health care system as well," Fallon said.
Fallon is putting together a renewable fuels plan for the energy industry that he would like to see reached by 2015. As in other areas, Fallon opposes what he sees as control by big business on alternative energy.
"I don't want to see all the wind production controlled by Mid-American," Fallon said. "We should never have allowed that to happen." Mid-American owns the Intrepid wind project in southwestern Buena Vista and northern Sac Counties.
Fallon said he would support an ethanol mandate and would "help the small mom-and-pop stores" do any necessary upgrading of equipment.
Rather than being divisive, Fallon said he sees the current debate among the Democratic candidates for Governor as being a good thing.
"It can be healthy," Fallon said. "It's healthy for Iowans to have a good debate in the primary and the general election."
As far as some of his fellow Democrats are concerned, said Fallon, "I'm at odds with the leadership of the party as far as the issue of money. I'm really not about partisan politics. I don't think my message is Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative. It's a common sense message."
While he's a registered Democrat, Fallon has openly endorsed libertarian policies. He believes government should focus on basic services and "corporate giveaways" should stop.
"Give people the liberty to live their private lives without government meddling," Fallon said.
Fallon noted that he was the only no vote in the House on the sexual offender residency bill. The U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to hear a challenge of the law that allows cities to keep convicted sexual offenders from living near schools or daycare centers.
"It creates an unworkable illusion of protection" by clumping all offenders together, Fallon said, noting that only 15 percent of sexual offenders are likely to reoffend.
"It's not a real solution to a real problem," Fallon said. "It's an attempt by some politicians to look like they're tough on crime. A law is smart or stupid. This is stupid."