Governing Under the Influence is a a Project of
American Friends Service Committee
4211 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312
It’s been an exciting month of December for us with AFSC’s Governing Under the Influence project to expose corporate control over our political system. As we prepare for the last month before the Iowa Caucus on February 1, here’s a quick recap.
Iowa Starting Line just published an article titled The Top Issue Groups Organizing in the Iowa Caucus and included a profile about GUI with a picture of our banners at the top!
Thank you to our co-sponsors and everybody who attended our recent Iowa speaking tour entitled “Who Profits from Immigrant Detention and Mass Incarceration?” We averaged about 40 people attending events in Cedar Falls, Marshalltown, Des Moines, and Ames. Check out our newsroom for media coverage. Here’s an excerpt from my latest blog post covering the tour – For-Profit Prisons, a Field of Nightmares:
“If you build it, they will come,” said Caroline Isaacs, AFSC Arizona Program Director, quoting a famous line from the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams,” which was filmed in Iowa. But Caroline wasn’t talking about baseball, she was talking about the growth of private prisons in her home state of Arizona. It’s just not right to get paid for depriving human beings of their liberty.”
During the tour, we also introduced our two new GUI caucus resolutions found on our new GUI resource page. One calls to end the daily 34,000 immigrant detention quota, the other for transparency and disclosure of corporate spending in elections and lobbying. If you’d like to introduce these resolutions on February 1, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-274-4851 ext. 23 for more details.
Last week, we bird-dogged Senator Marco Rubio three times in Ankeny. Senator Rubio didn’t take questions from the audience and, while waiting in line, he ignored our question on immigrant detention…twice. We asked him about supporting the $1 trillion nuclear weapons plan, and Rubio expressed his support, stating, “No country in the world faces the threats America faces…the bottom line is that deterrence is a friend of peace.” We asked Governor John Kasich about why he hasn’t been answering the question on immigrant detention and said, “This seems as though this is a program that doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Governor Jeb Bush is the first Republican candidate to tell us he does not support the detention quota. However, when we asked Gov. Bush about the detention quota in Newton, he said “I’m not sure if that is true, but if it is true, we shouldn’t have it.” We will continue to educate Gov. Bush on specifics about the quota and the federal budget to further his understanding of the problem.
At the same event, I questioned Gov. Jeb Bush about corporate lobbyists contributing to wasteful spending in the military, including the $1.5 trillion F-35 fighter jets and $1 trillion nuclear weapons plan. While agreeing on the waste and expressing the need for military procurement reform, Bush believes more competition will lower these costs and called defense contractors “aggregators.” “You can’t have just three defense contractors basically doing all the major weapons systems,” he told me.
Our New Hampshire GUI squad has been doing great work lately, too. Outside the Democratic Debate in New Hampshire on December 19, our GUI staff and volunteers were “shining the light” on the military-industrial complex and corporate money in politics – and they made the NH Labor News.
Our NH intern spoke with Governor Chris Christie about ending the immigrant detention quota. Unfortunately, Gov. Christie responded with a quick “No,” and continued “…We should be detaining a lot more people than what we are doing…What we are doing is not nearly detaining enough, and not removing enough people.”
Will you help us ask Gov. Christie about detaining and deporting immigrants in Iowa next week?
Gov. Chris Christie will be in Iowa on Monday, Dec. 28 through Wednesday, Dec. 30 in Dubuque, Davenport, Muscatine, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Marshalltown, and Waukee.
Here is our Iowa candidate calendar to see when other candidates are making the rounds in Iowa over the holidays. Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders are making many appearances across the state this week.
Still unsure about asking questions to presidential candidates? Watch this video from a GUI activist about why she bird dogs candidates in New Hampshire. People like her are changing the conversation of our political leaders to make peace, justice and democracy a priority.
Onward through the holidays,