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Readers Respond

Thursday, January 31, 2008

King represents 5th District well

From JIM MEYER / Odebolt

There was an article recently criticizing Congressman Steve King for his votes on ag issues. I do not know what precipitated the attack, other than Steve's endorsement of Fred Thompson for President. The comments were way off base, but writers tend to get carried away to see if anyone is reading the column. I did read the comments and feel compelled to offer support for Congressman King.

Steve has lived and worked many years in the district which he now represents. Although not a farmer, he worked the land with his construction business. Steve has probably spent more time around crops, livestock and farmers than the columnist who seems to write with agricultural authority. The first thing he did after being elected to Congress was to hire Wayne Brincks to be his eyes and ears in the district while he was tending to business in Washington D.C. Wayne put together a large group of production ag folks from the west half of Iowa to get feedback on critical Ag issues. I have met with this group several times and did provide testimony at a U.S. House Ag Committee hearing that was held at Dordt College. Steve not only meets with this group but understands and pays attention to what is said. This committee input seems to have more influence on the Congressman than one person's comments in a weekly column.

Congressman King realized early on that agriculture production and more recently renewable energy are extremely important to the livelihood of almost all people in District 5. Steve's presence on the agriculture and small business committees indicate his interest. In regard to the missed vote on the Renewable Fuel Standard, I agree that was an important vote, but to assume PAC money was the reason is a real stretch. When a columnist does not like an elected official, they can propose any reason they want without documentation. All of the commodity organizations in Iowa including beef and pork have not been critical of the RFS. It is really unfortunate when an Iowa based columnist tries to be divisive on this issue when the organization leadership has worked so hard to look at the big picture. Congressman King has introduced and supported renewable energy legislation and is almost as adamant about success as he is for 4-lane Hwy 20.

I support the 25 X 25 group. We need to continually build goals that are going to encourage renewable fuel usage. Congressman King is certainly in this camp, but he needs to be sure the livestock industry survives as well. Apparently those of us that support 25 X 25 need to be more accountable in regard to how we will meet this goal. Steve King needs to be commended for not giving support to a project that does not have a convincing plan for success. I am confident that when the 25 X 25 group provides a plan that will not put the livestock industry at risk, Steve will be a strong supporter. In fact, he probably needs to be at the table to design the plan.

PACs are a challenge for all elected people. Having served 6 years in the Iowa House of Representatives, I wrestled with the decision to accept or not accept PAC money. I did send one check back because I did not want to be supportive of the way the business was being run. I could never tell for sure whether the PAC was supportive because they wanted me to go along with them or whether they appreciated the support which was already being given. I cannot believe Congressman Steve King would compromise his good judgment based on how much PAC money he was given. And the same PACs contributing to Steve's campaign have also contributed to Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Tom Harkin, and Congressman Tom Latham. Why didn't the columnist feel compelled to mention this?

Steve King is doing a good job of representing District 5. We need to challenge his work occasionally to make sure he knows we are paying attention. But an all out assault on his character and core values is way out of line.