Tuesday is a big day in Iowa. It’s Election Day, and in 950 cities across the state, voters will elect city council members and, in some cases, mayors. If recent trends are any indication, turnout will be embarrassingly low. Voting tomorrow is a good idea for three reasons:
1. Voting makes a difference! Lest we forget, George Bush beat Al Gore by only 200 votes in the 2000 General Election. (Okay, the other school of thought says Bush didn’t actually win but was appointed by the US Supreme Court. But we won’t go there today.) And as a state lawmaker I sat between Becky Reynolds, who won her first election by 142 votes, and Bill Witt, who won his first election by only 16 votes. Iowa is a better place because of their service.
2. Local officials are (or should be) accessible. Arguably, local government has a more profound impact on our day-to-day lives than any other level of government. You can call Des Moines City Councilman Skip Moore and say, “Hey Skip, what’s this bug eating my redbud tree?” There’s a good chance Skip’ll be out there to look at your tree the next day. Try getting that kind of response from your state or federal elected officials.
3. Democracy depends on it! Sure, there are plenty of other things democracy depends on. Freedom of speech. The right to assemble. Public education. Strong local economies. Baseball. But who we elect to represent us, the folks in charge of enacting laws and ordinances, is critical. We want good people doing that, do we not? Letting a bunch of zombies run city government is not going to be good for you or your redbud tree. Fortunately, in Des Moines at least, we are not at risk of zombies winning any of the three seats on the ballot. All of the candidates are respectable, non-flesh eating types. And I thank those who came on my program and share their views: Skip Moore, Cal Woods, Chris Diebel, Bill Gray and Jean Minahan.
Monday, Jonathan Neiderbach and I preview this week’s Des Moines City Council election. We also look at the $81 million proposal for courthouse improvements and expansion in Polk County. We take a look at some of the city council races in metro suburbs as well.
Tuesday, we have an extended program (5:30-6:30) and discuss last week’s developments on the climate-change front. We talk with Kathleen McQuillen of American Friends Service Committee about drones. Josh Mandelbaum of the Environmental Law and Policy Center joins us to discuss the ongoing conflict over Iowa’s water quality. And Cheryl Thomas with Iowans for Gun Safety weighs in on the latest tragic school shooting in Nevada.
Wednesday, Graham Gillette joins Jonathan Neiderbach and me for a review of the outcome of Tuesday’s election. We also discuss the shape of next year’s statewide and federal elections. And we remind folks of the upcoming Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit on November 9th at Drake University.
Thursday, State Rep. Dan Kelley is back in the studio with us. And we talk with Michael Garvin with the Caribbean Renewable Energy Consortium.
Join us live, Monday-Thursday, from 6:00-6:30 pm on the Fallon Forum website. Call-in at (855) 244-0077 and add your voice to the dialogue. Video and audio-only podcasts available after the program. The Fallon Forum also can be heard on KHOI 89.1 (Ames) Wednesdays at 5:00 pm and KPVL 89.1 (Postville) Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. Thanks!