Countdown to Victory: 3 Days
We’re experiencing positive momentum as the Francis Thicke for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture campaign enters the final hours. Francis can win this, and you can help by making get-out-the-vote phone calls (to help, sign up here), by contributing to the $18,000 we need for media buys and voter recruitment calls (click here to make a contribution), and by persuading at least a half dozen friends to fill in the circle by Francis Thicke’s name when they vote Tuesday.
Our internal polls show we’re not only within striking distance, but win the election when voters hear the two candidates’ messages and are able to make a side-by-side comparison. Don’t underestimate the power you have in this election, and spread the word about Francis Thicke’s comprehensive plan for sustainable agriculture in the 21st century. It can make an enormous difference in the outcome Tuesday.
One of the greatest pleasures associated with working on the Francis Thicke campaign has been our candidate’s – your next Iowa Secretary of Agriculture’s – steadfast refusal to resort to negative campaigning. In an election season with a barrage of negative television attack ads on non-issues, Francis Thicke stands head and shoulders above candidates who will compromise their own values with a win-at-any-cost attitude.
That doesn’t mean that Francis Thicke isn’t an aggressive campaigner. He’s not shy about pointing out how his policies differ from his opponent’s, or challenging the status quo to fight for your rights. He’s appealing to you voters on his merits, and on the issues you care about. In a side-by-side comparison on the issues, Francis Thicke is the clear winner.
Safe, local foods – Incumbent Ag Secretary Bill Northey’s policies perpetuate the unsustainable farming practices of Iowa’s two-crop monoculture that, despite what you may have heard, don’t feed the world. Francis Thicke believes there’s room at the table for everyone. He supports development of a comprehensive local foods policy that provides economic opportunities for Iowa’s small- and mid-sized independent family farmers; identifies markets for local growers at university, public school and other state cafeterias; and increases the availability of nutritious and fresh locally produced foods for our children, and for all of us.
In response to the recall of a half-billion eggs at the center of the nationwide Salmonella outbreak that gave Iowa farmers a black eye, Francis Thicke supports an egg-safety oversight program that restores your confidence in the food on your table. His proposed policy, to be paid for by egg producers, would require vaccinations of hens (a practice that has virtually eliminated Salmonella in chickens in Great Britain), regular inspections and testing of buildings and other facilities, and testing of eggs if Salmonella is found.
Bill Northey thinks federal oversight is ample and that producers shouldn’t be subjected to more regulation – even though the United Egg Producers trade group knows vaccinations are the best way to safeguard eggs and is proposing vaccinations as an industry standard that exceeds federal standards, and even though the FDA itself acknowledges that it lacks the inspection staff to adequately safeguard eggs and is seeking help from the USDA.
Local control over CAFO sitings – Francis Thicke opposes a state law, which Bill Northey supports, that lets CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) run roughshod over your property rights. Francis Thicke supports returning democracy to rural Iowa by returning control over CAFO siting to local officials, who know best what works in their communities. Bill Northey says local control is unfair, because you and your neighbors could exert control over your quality of life and stop a CAFO from locating in your back yard.
Alternative energy sources to power agriculture – Bill Northey looks at alternative energy and sees corn-based ethanol, even though he admits this policy caused the industry to overbuild and drove some plants into bankruptcy. Francis Thicke knows that ethanol policy is really corn policy, but recognizes the importance of protecting Iowa’s public investment in ethanol, and he believes available public R&D incentives should be funneled to fuels and energy technology that rely on renewable crops, wind energy and technologies that can convert wind to fuels and fertilizer.
Land and water stewardship – Bill Northey says he’s an environmentalist, but what he won’t say is whether he supports a key measure that constitutionally protects natural resource enhancement funds – Iowa’s Land and Water Legacy Amendment – and if his position differs from that of the Farm Bureau, which is actively campaigning against the amendment’s passage. Francis Thicke has not only endorsed the proposed amendment, but has developed thoughtful policies that protect our natural resources by increasing diversity on the landscape, especially with perennial crops that hold soil in place and begin to rebuild topsoil stripped away by erosion.
Rural revitalization – Whether he’s talking about a potential $300 million economic activity associated with local food production and marketing, increased profits in farmers’ pockets by developing more of the energy on the farm to power the farm, or returning dignity and justice to rural Iowa with local control, Francis Thicke’s policies help make our small communities stronger. Bill Northey’s policies, while not specifically anti-rural growth, don’t promote it and, by encouraging Big Agriculture, actually weaken rural communities, their local businesses and the schools that young families moving to the countryside help populate.
When Francis decided to run for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture more than a year ago, he promised his wife and business partner, Susan, that he would “speak my truth, and not turn into a politician.”
He’s has kept his word throughout the campaign with a positive message that you can believe in and be empowered by. You can count on Francis to keep his word with you, too – to guide Iowa agriculture and food production through challenging times and put our state on a path of sustainability.