Two Democratic presidential candidates focused on rural issues as they campaigned Tuesday in Iowa. During a stop in eastern Iowa, Illinois Senator Barack Obama said he would press as president to boost production of ethanol made from cellulose, not just from kernels of corn.
"It’s going to be important for us to invest heavily in cellulosic ethanol and more advanced biofuels that offer the prospect of farmers being able to make money not simply on growing corn for ethanol, but also wood chips and animal waste and other strategies," Obama said during a stop on a farm near Fairfax, Iowa. Obama also called for creation of new federal programs to help farmers grow organic crops.
Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, meanwhile, campaigned in the western half of Iowa, arguing it’s time to forbid federal farm payments to corporations. "We need to make it easier for family farmers, strengthen family farmers," Edwards said during a stop in Greenfield.
Edwards also advocated creation of a rural investment fund. "It’s sometimes hard to get investment money, capital, into small towns ’cause it ends up in the big cities and never gets here," Edwards said. "And the result is it’s hard to get the money to start businesses to create jobs."
The actor who played the character "Cooter" on "The Dukes of Hazard" campaigned with Edwards in Iowa on Tuesday. Actor Ben Jones once campaigned for Bill Clinton, but Jones said it’s now time for Democrats to leave the politics of "Slick Willie" behind. Jones served two terms in congress, representing a district in Georgia.
Ric Hanson of KJAN in Atlantic contributed to this report.