Four of the Democrats who are running for governor spoke at this weekend’s Iowa Farmers Union convention in Marshalltown. Former Iowa Department of Economic Development director Michael Blouin told the group he wants to find new ways to keep young people — and young people who grow up on the farm — in Iowa. “I’ve come to dislike very much the comment I heard all over the country from employers everywhere: ‘Our best employees come from Iowa,'” Blouin said. “I don’t want ’em coming from Iowa. I want ’em staying in Iowa.”Sal Mohammed, a Sioux City businessman, offered a similar message. “If you go anywhere in the nation and you say you are from Iowa, people want to hire you,” Mohammed says. Chet Culver, Iowa’s Secretary of State, told the Farmers Union he had focused as the state’s Commissioner of Elections on attracting young people to political action. “I’ve got good news this morning,” Culver said. “Since 1996, in this state, we’ve had a 100 percent increase in 18- to 24-year-old (voter) turn-out. That’s not bad.” Ed Fallon, a state Representative from Des Moines, told the group of farmers he would fight the monopolies he sees taking agriculture in the wrong direction. “Jim Hightower, one of my heroes, in his recent book ‘Thieves in High Places’ Jim has a chapter called ‘Even the smallest dog can lift its leg on the tallest building,'” Fallon said, as laughter broke out. “I see my campaign about rounding up all the little dogs in Iowa who are sick and tired of seeing profit come before people, who want to see change for the common good. Let’s work together to take back state government from the tall buildings who have cast an ominous shadow on us little dogs.” Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, the Democrats’ 2004 vice presidential nominee, also spoke to the Democratic-leaning farm group. Edwards said his party hasn’t always kept faith with farmers. “I sometimes think that Democrats think is that what rural America is is a place that you fly over between New York and California,” Edwards said. “We don’t focus like we should on fighting for people who live in rural America, on fighting for family farmers.” Edwards told the group federal farm subsidies should be reserved for “family farmers” and denied to big, multi-million dollar operations.
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