AUGUST 18TH, 2008 | TomHarkin
By WILLIAM PETROSKI | Staff Writer
Read the original story at The Des Moines Register
The United States should reduce its reliance on imported oil, provide everyone access to a good education and have a health care system that people can afford, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, said Wednesday at The Des Moines Register’s Soapbox.
THE RACE: Harkin, 68, who grew up in Cumming, is a Democrat seeking his fifth term in the U.S. Senate. He earlier served 10 years in the U.S. House, winning election in 1974 by defeating a veteran Republican incumbent. He is a graduate of Iowa State University and a Navy veteran who served as a jet pilot. He’s opposed for re-election by Republican Christopher Reed of Marion.
KEY MESSAGE: Harkin spoke fondly of still owning his boyhood home, and he made it clear he considers himself in touch with Iowans who view hard work and education as the keys to success. Government should provide a ladder, but not an escalator, to help Iowans who want a better life, he said. He said young people shouldn’t have to graduate from college with mountains of debt, and wellness and prevention should be key factors in curbing health care costs.
CROWD: Harkin was accompanied to the Soapbox by a small but enthusiastic group of sign-toting supporters who chanted, “Go, Tom, Go.” About 100 people stood nearby and listened to his talk. When Harkin spoke of energy policies, one man in the crowd said loudly, “Drill. Drill. Drill.”
ISSUES: The United States should increase production of renewable fuels, said Harkin, adding that critics are wrong who claim ethanol production is taking food out of the mouths of hungry people. He also said use of electric cars should be expanded. He said he’s proud of his work in passing a farm bill that will be good for agriculture and rural America. In addition, he said the United States needs to get out of Iraq.