(Des Moines, IA) A bus once used to hawk ice cream is now being used by a “dove-ish” group, which hopes to convince presidential candidates to agree to lower U.S. defense spending.
“Ben and Jerry’s” bus is on a “U Slice the Pie” tour of Iowa on behalf of a group known as Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities.
“It’s exciting. It’s fun,” said Peggy Huppert, the group’s Iowa director. “It gets our message across in a graphic way, just the fact that the bus is covered with money, literally.”
The garish bus, affectionately named Mabel by its owners, has been parked at various locations throughout Iowa’s capital city this summer. It embarks Sunday on a 530-mile trek across Iowa with the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, known as RAGBRAI. The annual event is expected to draw up to 10,000 cyclists.
The bus will be staffed with three paid performers who’ll park it along the RAGBRAI route to demonstrate the federal budget and the choices politicians could make.
“We have a show,” said Huppert. “I like to watch people’s reactions. Often it really changes their outlook on our federal budget process.”
Ben and Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen will be along for this coming week’s ride to give away ice cream and sound the call for defense cuts.
Huppert said the group would not endorse or oppose individual presidential candidates, but is hoping to convince Iowans to pressure the candidates on the issue.
“The ultimate goal is to educate and empower Iowans to really understand where our money is going. We think most Iowans agree with our message that we need more resources to be directed toward things like education and health care,” Huppert said.
“Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities,” a group of over 500 U.S. business executives and a handful of retired generals and admirals seeks a 15 percent cut in the U.S. Defense budget.