Not every Iowa Republican is jumping for joy over everything said by Republican presidential candidate John McCain. During Friday night’s debate, McCain repeated something that raised the ire of Republican Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture.
Northey says: "Senator McCain said he’d oppose ethanol subsidies. He’s said that many times. I’d certainly vehemently disagree with him as far as whether that policy makes sense or not. Senator Grassley does (support ethanol subsidies). A lot of Republicans do."
McCain’s opponent, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, has expressed support for ethanol and other renewable fuels, but that’s not enough to sway Northey away from the G-O-P. Northey says: "Still, when you look overall at his stance on trade, you look at his stance on regulation, I’m very concerned with what Senator Obama would do as far as regulating our farms and our other businesses out here, environmental regulations and other kinds things that could cause real problems. I think that John McCain’s a stronger candidate but I vehemently disagree with him on his ethanol stance."
Iowa has more than 30 operating ethanol plants and Northey says the industry is very important for Iowa’s economy, employment and the corn crop. Northey says, "Iowa’s the number-one ethanol state. We have more production here than any other state and we actually produce more ethanol in this state than we use in gasoline. If we could only use ethanol and didn’t need any gasoline in our cars, we wouldn’t have to have any gasoline in this state. That’s how significant that production is in Iowa."
Northey made his comments during a stop in Jewell on Saturday night. Meanwhile McCain is coming back to Iowa this (Monday) afternoon and is to headline a roundtable discussion on economics in Des Moines. The meeting is by invitation only.