Ag Policy Blog

More Follow Up from the Heartland Forum

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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As I mentioned in Saturday's item, I got a little tied up with the candidate press gaggles at the Heartland Forum in Storm Lake, Iowa, especially those of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.

Because of that, I didn't give a fair shake to three other candidates who were there: Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.

Here are some highlights from other articles or tweets posted on their comments at the forum:


Civil Eats noted Ryan said Rust Belt and rural communities face many of the same issues. "The only way forward is for us to come together politically."

Art Cullen, Storm Lake's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, also asked Ryan if he sees conservation programs as a solution. "These are the kinds of programs we need to 'beef up,' no pun intended."

Ryan also compared the drivers of devastation in his urban/industrial district with what he sees happening to Iowa agriculture, sees that it is monopoly power & control of government policies, says flatly that the current “market” structure is a scam.

"I'm looking at this system, and I'm looking what happens in rural America when it comes to concentration and monopolies, and you know what we call that in Youngstown? It's a scam."

Ryan said there should be a rural-urban coalition looking at rebuilding both cities and small towns. "We're all suffering from the same thing."

He added, "Part of the problem in 2016 was Democrats didn’t even go to rural America."

On immigration, Ryan added, "I hope we are strong enough as a country" to accept and welcome refugees.


Highlighting comments from Castro, a former San Antonio Mayor and former HUD secretary, the Sioux City Journal noted that if he is elected president and Democrats in 2020 also win majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, he would move swiftly on immigration reform legislation.

“Every country in the world of course wants to have a secure border and should. We can have a secure border and also be compassionate and recognize the value of our immigrant community,” Castro said.…

The Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune added other Castro comments on immigration, "We don't have to choose between having a secure border," and recognizing the value of immigration to our communities with compassion, he said.

"I never thought I'd get great Mexican food in Iowa, but I have," he joked with the moderators. Castro is no stranger to Storm Lake--this is his fourth visit.…

The Des Moines Register pointed out Castro sees Storm Lake as a strong community because of its immigration. Tyson Foods employs more than 3,000 people in the community, many of whom are immigrants.

"I'm very proud of the story of Storm Lake in many ways. Y'all have shown other communities how it can be done," Castro said. " … Y'all have seen here in Storm Lake the value of the immigrant community."…

Castro also said in response to audience questions the environment that EPA would do its job if he were president.

"I would point people to the EPA that actually believed in environmental protection," he said.


Delaney pointed out rural America doesn't get its share of venture capital and that translates into major disparities between rural and urban economic development and jobs. That's not opportunity, that's birthright." He highlighted that 80% of venture capital goes to 50 counties out of 3,100 counties nationally.

On immigration, Delaney said he would change immigration laws to make it easier for people to come to the US legally. Delaney said he wants comprehensive immigration reform “like we almost and should’ve done in 2013" and make it part of his "100 day agenda."

Delaney has proposed a "Heartland Fair Deal," which he detailed as allowing student loan forgiveness in rural America; new Small Business Administration programs for rural businesses; an infrastructure and climate bank; and better access to rural health care.

Chris Clayton can be reached at

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