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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.


Crawford endorsement of Northey ‘not surprising,’ Democrats say

By Lynda Waddington | 11.01.10 | 12:25 pm

Long-time Democratic strategist Jerry Crawford snubbed his party’s nominee for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, providing his endorsement to Republican incumbent Bill Northey. While the move might seem odd at first blush, most feel that the endorsement is little more than an acknowledgment of a shared agricultural goal in the state.

Des Moines attorney Jerry Crawford (Photo: Crawford, Quilty & Mauro)

“Frankly, I’m happy that [Crawford] has decided to come out of the closet,” said Chris Petersen, president of the Iowa Farmers Union and 2nd Vice Chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party. “It’s never been about politics for Crawford, but has always been about securing the interests of industrialized agriculture and his own wealth.”

Crawford, a high-powered Des Moines attorney, has been a fixture within Iowa politics for decades. He has served as the chairman of the Polk County and Iowa Democratic parties, and has been in a leadership role of numerous presidential campaigns through Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. In fact, during 2010 Democratic primaries for U.S. Senate when candidate Roxanne Conlin was called out for having a close relationship with Crawford and accepting contributions from his wife, she noted that it would be difficult to find a person active and successful in Iowa Democratic politics that did not have a picture of  themselves with Crawford.

The attorney, who has lobbied at the state level for Monsanto Co. and other agricultural interests, made waves last winter when he agreed to lobby for Monsanto at a federal level. The agreement places Crawford, a long-standing friend and supporter of former Gov. Tom Vilsack, in close proximity to mostly friendly federal officials just as they launch an unprecedented antitrust inquiry into a wide swath of agricultural industries — including seeds, which are Monsanto’s largest interest.

Legal papers filed in Ohio show that Crawford also represented the interests of the DeCoster agribusiness companies. DeCoster owned, and his son operated, Wright County Egg, an Iowa-based company that was forced to recall millions of eggs in the wake of a national Salmonella outbreak. The Ohio legal matter centered around DeCoster’s attempt to hide his association with another egg company to avoid state regulators. Earlier in Iowa, the DeCoster pork businesses were labeled as state’s first habitual violators of regulations. At that time the mere suggestion of association with DeCoster was likely enough to end the gubernatorial aspirations of Republican Doug Gross.

Although there have been speculation that the origin of donations made by the DeCoster family to the Democratic Governor’s Association could be traced back to Crawford, who once sat on the organization’s board, no proof of such allegations have been made public.

“This is not surprising,” Francis Thicke, Democratic nominee for Ag Secretary told The Iowa Independent Monday morning. “Crawford has lobbied for Monsanto and represented [Austin 'Jack'] DeCoster, who’s company was at the heart of the recent egg recall. I’ve spoken out against so-called ‘big ag’ interests and have stood for increased safety regulation within the egg industry.

“What this shows is that Crawford and Northey have shared values on the future of agriculture in our state.”

Thicke indicated that while he has campaigned for pro-active, sustainable agriculture in Iowa, Crawford and Northey are interested in maintaining the status quo, regardless of the consequences to Iowa’s farms and famers.

Crawford made his endorsement of Northey on WHO-TV Sunday, noting that he was voting for the Republican because of his support for biotechnology.

On Monday, Thicke garnered the endorsement of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the man Time Magazine named as “one of the heroes of the planet” for his leadership in river cleanup.

“Francis has demonstrated he has the vision and leadership necessary to make our food and agriculture safe, healthy, humane and environmentally sound,” Kennedy said.

The Thicke campaign has also been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Hightower, author Michael Pollan, founder Bill McKibben, Food Inc. director and producer Robert Kenner, Land Institute founder Wes Jackson, and Leopold Institute at ISU Professor Emeritus Fred Kirschenmann.

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  • egc52556

    If I read this article correctly, Northey was just endorsed by somebody with dark ties to corrupt ag producers.

    And Northey is OK with that?

  • Anonymous

    It’s no surprise that a Monsanto lobbyist has endorsed Northey. Jerry Crawford has received $150,000 as a registered federal lobbyist for Monsanto see:

    And Northey seems fine with big ag and big Monsanto calling the shots for seed pricing, farmer practices, etc. What is surprising is that Northey would even want Crawford’s backing, when other candidates are trying to distance themselves from him.

  • Kevin Shilling

    Not suprising at all. Northey got campaign money from Monsanto, Jerry lobbies for Monsanto. And why did Jerry wait till the last minute?! So Northey can claim bi-partisan support, instead of the real story of Corporate Greed/Money connection. Which all of this will really tell the farmers who Northey really cares about…..Monsanto!

  • Anonymous

    Will the Dems have the balls to cut Jerry loose? Not likely, as this cycle has been more about money than doing what is right. Besides, word has it this was a tit-for-tat deal.

  • Donald Baxter

    This is so disappointing. When I first moved to Iowa I heard an agricultural economics professor at Iowa State talk about how Iowa resembled a third-world economy. So many of our fortunes and misfortunes are pulled from locations who don’t give a shit about Iowa, its people and its land. People like Crawford whose pockets are lined by agribusiness interests play into the future decline of our state. Short term profits leading to long-term decline. Perhaps it’s illusory that our state has the same number of people it had in 1890. Problem is, it’s the same people.

    • registrycleaner

      It’s no surprise that a Monsanto lobbyist has endorsed Northey.

  • remove ThinkPoint virus

    Yeah, that’s not surprising….

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