Murphy and HoggPictured: IoWorld Editor Dick Murphy (l) listening to Sen. Rob Hogg (r).

By Dick Murphy, Editor, IoWorld

Iowa Democrats have presented four candidates seeking to oppose Senator Charles Grassley in the general election on November 8th, 2016.  All four candidates have interesting backgrounds and experiences qualifying them to serve as one of Iowa’s two senators (Republican Joni Ernst being the other) if elected in November.   The endorsement committee interviewed three of the four candidates and reviewed questionnaires submitted by all four.  Rob Hogg, Patty Judge, and Bob Krause participated in interviews, while Tom Fiegan did not show for his interview.

IoWorld has chosen to endorse Rob Hogg an Iowa Senator from Cedar Rapids as the candidate with the best ideas for enhancing Iowa’s role as a global entity.  Hogg is a fresh candidate who can articulate his vision in a way that is not only informative, but inspirational as well.  Hogg sees Iowa as a leader in twenty first century technology addressing the issue of climate change.  He has already published a book, America’s Climate Century: What Climate Change Means for America in the 21st Century and What Americans Can Do About It.

IoWorld recognizes climate change as a 21st century issue of global concern presenting not just danger but opportunity as well.   And Rob Hogg has already distinguished the difference between the two.   He can explain how Iowa should be moving from an agricultural economy to an agricultural/environmental economy.  And, when addressing budgetary issues regarding climate change, Hogg used the quote from Ged Kearney, “Austerity is not a pathway to prosperity.”   In other words, we need to invest in our future and Hogg believes he knows how.

Unfortunately, all four Democratic candidates have expressed opposition in some form or another to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiated by President Obama and endorsed by Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.   The pages and chapters of the agreement and side agreements are intensely legalistic.  I have no intention of presenting the pros and cons of the TPP  in this endorsement article.  I do think it is appropriate to point out that former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is an attorney and the current Secretary of Agriculture.  His endorsement recognizes that in compromise agreements there is give and take, but he points out that benefits definitely will enhance the agricultural/environmental opportunities we have in Iowa. 

We have published previous endorsement of candidates for president using as a criterion their degree of support or opposition to the TPP.   With the United States, other TPP participating countries include; Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.  This bloc of countries represents forty per cent of all global trade and some of the United States’ most prolific trading partners.

Hogg, our endorsed candidate, strongly supports the Paris Climate Change Agreement adopted by 195 countries as a means to begin the 21st century solving environmental issues.  Yet, he prefers that trade agreements be bi-lateral.  IoWorld recognizes the difference between climate and trade agreements.  But, we hope as a US Senator, Hogg’s view on trade agreements will become more inclusive.

There is insignificant difference among the Democratic candidates regarding immigration.  The interesting discussion on this topic centered on each candidate’s personal family connections and the difficulties they encountered with Congress’ current inaction.  None would build a wall.  Nor, would any endorse refusal based on religion.  Hogg pointed out that our inaction has caused a backlog of 450.000 pending cases and growing. 

Iowans have always appreciated our Senators who shed party affiliations to collaborate on legislation that benefits the citizens of Iowa.   Hogg emerged as the candidate most likely to be able to work closely with Senator Joni Ernst while serving Iowans.  He can point to a record of floor managing legislation for renewable energy, flood mitigation, infrastructure, and reform of criminal justice—all supported by Senator Ernst while they were colleagues in the Iowa Senate.

This endorsement of Senator Hogg over the other Democratic candidates should not imply that the endorsement carries into the general election.  If Senator Hogg is the candidate to oppose Senator Grassley, the door opens again for endorsement of either candidate.  We believe that by endorsing Hogg, we have presented Iowans with an opportunity to determine the direction we want to take for this century.  Hogg vs. Grassley presents an incumbent who has a reputation that Iowans have endorsed over several elections versus a fresh face with ideas he believes are better suited for the 21st century.  It’s a good match and Iowans will be fortunate to have this opportunity.  We only hope Iowans pay close attention to this election.  It may be just as important as the presidential election.