Today, Radio Iowa offers the third of three profiles of the leading Democrats in the race for governor. Forty-eight-year-old Ed Fallon has spent a good bit of his life moving around. Fallon’s the son of a career military man who moved his family around the country to various posts.
Fallon enrolled in college in Vermont, but left to experience Europe. Fallon returned to the U.S. and wound up in Iowa — his wife’s home — and completed his education, switching from the study of music to earn a degree in religion from Drake. The Fallon’s settled in an inner-city neighborhood in Des Moines and 14 years ago Fallon ousted a long-time state legislator, winning a seat in the Iowa House that he’s held ever since.
A few years ago Fallon helped found a group called “One Thousand Friends of Iowa.” It has the goal of redeveloping inner cities by stopping the tide of concrete rolling over farmland as crop ground is converted to suburban landscapes. For the past two years, Fallon has been traveling the state, meeting Iowans one-by-one and asking for their vote to be Iowa’s next governor.
Fallon has never accepted contributions from lobbyists or political action committees and campaign finance reform is one of his campaign promises. “Iowa is home to some of the richest farmland and most genuine, hard-working people in the world and prosperity and justice ought to be every person’s birthright, and yet state government is off course,” Fallon says. “Special interests with deep pockets have essentially turned elections into auctions and they’ve essentially turned the state budget into their own private feeding trough.”
Fallon’s biggest budget complaint is over the Iowa Values Fund which so far has handed out about 130-million dollars in grants to businesses. Fallon calls it corporate welfare, and he suggests “throwing” state taxpayer dollars at companies — like the 24-million dollars the state gave Maytag in the past decade — is a waste. “We have to be honest with ourselves. There’s only so much we can do to tinker with a free-market economy,” Fallon says.
Fallon calls for redirecting state efforts toward helping small businesses. He also pledges to repeal millions of dollars worth of state tax-breaks approved over the past decade and redirect the money to K-through-12 schools as well as Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I which are partially supported by state taxdollars. “Education is absolutely essential,” Fallon says, lamenting the 62 percent jump in tuition at the state colleges over the past four years. “We have been underfunding education significantly.”
Fallon has raised the ire of fellow Democrats in the past. Fallon backed Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader in 2000, a decision Fallon says in hindsight he regrets. Fallon also has a penchant for pressing nerves, sponsoring reams of bills during his tenure as a legislator including one that would have cut the pay of coaches at the state-supported universities.
Abortion rights has been an issue in this race, a Fallon has stressed to many crowds that he has been a consistent supporter of abortion rights. This is what he said during an interview with Radio Iowa in March after South Dakota’s governor signed a bill banning most abortions in that state. “When you go out to buy a new car, you look under the hood and it’s really important for people considering which candidate they want to support to look at our track records, check under our hoods, see what we’ve done, not just what we’re saying we’re going to do, but see what we’ve done. See what we’ve stood for in the past,” Fallon said.
Fallon is often classified as a liberal, but he holds conservative views on some issues. For example, Fallon has consistently voted against legalized gambling in the state.