Despite the cold and windy September weather, nearly 1,000 Iowa Democrats faithfully drove to the Indianola Balloon Field on Sunday for the 31st annual Tom Harkin Steak Fry.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, the event headliner, spent much of his time on stage talking about American sources of alternative energy and bucking the power wielded by “petro-dictators” in the Middle East and Latin America.
“We need to grow our own fuel,” Schweitzer said. “We need to do it now. Biofuels are here to stay. Biofuels are the future of America.”
In introducing Schweitzer, Harkin called him a valuable “WMD”—a west-of-the-Mississippi Democrat. He also made reference to the success a previous steak fry speaker had in the presidential arena.
Iowa’s two U.S. senators called Wednesday for the Bush administration to release disaster relief funds authorized weeks after this summer’s floods.
Iowa is still waiting for $85 million in community block grants that were part of the disaster relief package signed into law June 30 by President Bush. The money, part of $300 billion for Midwest states hit by floods and tornadoes, is hung up in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s distribution process.
The money could be used for buyouts of flooded property, infrastructure repair or mitigation projects.
In their joint letter, Democrat Tom Harkin and Republican Chuck Grassley told HUD Secretary Steve Preston, “There is a desperate need for this assistance to be made swiftly available.”