(Carlisle, IA) – Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Matt Whitaker made his 5th stop in Warren County on his farm listening tour. The afternoon event was held at the Carlisle Antique Tractor Museum and attracted ten local residents including Carlisle Mayor Ruth Randleman.
Whitaker, an Ankeny native and former U.S. Attorney, demonstrated that he had a growing grasp on agricultural issues. A Whitaker staffer told Caffeinated Thoughts was partly due to what he had learned from the previous stops on the tour which focused on agriculture. Whitaker also shared conversations that he has had with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.
“We need to get the word out about how good Iowa Agriculture really is.” Whitaker said in response to a question about how Iowa Agriculture can be promoted in a better light. “It is 25 percent of our economy and it is an important part of Iowa’s landscape.”
“Farmers need to continue to tell their stories,” Whitaker added. “And continue to use good land practices. Continue to use things like precision farming and apply chemicals and fertilizers so that their not applying to much and have it run off their field. Also if you understand how we got to this spring, we had one of the driest years on record, lower yield crops, and then we had heavy rain. That’s just a recipe for having run off.”
There were several complaints about the restrictions and regulations that tie up farmers. Don Russell, a retired farmer outside of Carlisle, said “I see in recent years with government, I’m talking about the FSA office and NRCS office, that you do not do anything without getting down on your knees and asking them first because they think they have their crop insurance claws into us. Because they think if we want to have that subsidized crop insurance we had better play by the rules, and some of their rules are pretty controlling and controlled by people who have never farmed in their life.”
“And it’s bureaucrats who write a regulation today, and then tomorrow they have to write another regulation or they will lose their job.” Whitaker responded. “I think the overregulation of our economy are a great cause for concern…. It seems to me that one of the foundations of our country is free enterprise, and the good farmers and the good small business owners succeed. And the ones that aren’t good, don’t succeed. By inserting the federal government and overregulation like we have across so many different industries is not good for what America is founded on.”
He said he wants to bring a common sense approach to Washington, DC. He offered a solution of providing a sunset for every regulation introduced to explore if it still makes sense to have in place.
Whitaker turned his attention to education. “Look at the Department of Education – 5000 bureaucrats in Washington, DC that think they know what is better to educate my kids in public schools than I do or more than the school board does or that their teachers do.” Whitaker advocated getting the Federal government out of education. He told Caffeinated Thoughts after the event that he is against the Common Core State Standards, and is leery of any state standards.
Infrastructure and immigration were also issues of concern. With immigration, Whitaker emphasized border security and rejected amnesty. “They system is broke,” he said. He said we have to have some way to get illegal immigrants out of the shadows and get them paying taxes. He seemed to be in favor of giving children of illegals some status. He said the immigration fix needs to be common sense and is reflective of today’s economy and our future economy.
“Let’s bring the best and brightest from around the world and have them contribute to our economy. Let’s not give amnesty to those who come here illegally, but at the same time, let’s make it work. I mean, everybody wants to complain about it, but nobody ever wants to fix it,” Whitaker said.
Whitaker also said that unlike the current officeholder who is retiring, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), he would live in Iowa and not buy a house in Washington, DC. He also pledged that he would term limit himself as he didn’t think it was meant to be a career.
Russell told Caffeinated Thoughts was impressed with the event with Matt Whitaker. “I liked his honesty and straightforwardness,” he said. Russell said he hasn’t had a chance to meet other candidates so he’s keeping an open mind for now, but liked what he learned about the candidate.
Glenn Meacham, a retired farmer who lived outside of Carlisle, told Caffeinated Thoughts that he was encouraged by what he heard from Whitaker. He said that he was keeping an open mind about the different Republican candidates as Whitaker was the first he was able to meet.
You can watch video of this event below: