A rural Bridgewater resident will be one of ten Iowans taking center stage today in Des Moines, rubbing shoulders with five Democrat Presidential candidates –or at least grilling them on their stance on issues related to agriculture and health care. Virgine Martin says she’s a little nervous about appearing on stage at the "Heartland Presidential Forum," but she’s determined to get her questions answered.
She says if she was allowed to ask just one question, it would be "What are you going to do to control the expansion of corporate farms? She says she cannot compete with the prices. Martin and her husband raise nearly 600 pigs on their 800-acre farm in Adair County.
The couple joined Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI) and were part of a failed petition drive to stop corporate farms from opening in Adair and Cass Counties. She says they’re getting less money for their pigs now, than before the factory farm became operational. Martin says she hopes the presidential candidate hope she speaks will support the establishing of regulations on corporate farms.
She says she hopes the candidates address how corporations can build, where they can build, how many in a specific area, and if necessary, put a moratorium on them. Martin is undecided on who she’ll support in the caucuses, but she likes North Carolina Senator John Edwards’ and Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s farm policies.
Another issue that concerns her is healthcare, she says we need to get control of our insurance companies. The forum takes place at the Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines beginning at 1:30 p.m. today (Saturday). The program will be broadcast on TV’s C-SPAN 1.
Democrat Presidential candidates scheduled to attend include Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and Barack Obama. None of the Republican candidates have accepted the invitation to attend the forum, which is sponsored by the Washington, D.C. based Center for Community Change and ICCI.