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To the Editor:
In response to the June 12 DTN/Progressive Farmer letter to the editor entitled "Our Country Has a Heart Problem" -- I would like to offer a bit of a remedy. I appreciate the author's observations that, "We have become callous, indifferent, uncaring, narrow-minded and intolerant" and that "What is good for our country has been superseded by what is good for a political party." I am only 20 years younger than Mr. Butler, the 72-year-old author. But I share his observations that divisiveness and close-mindedness seems to have more recently prevailed in ways that showcase intolerance and damage some of our most important institutions.
I worked as a nurse for 20 years (primarily in busy emergency departments) before I became an economist. I studied with plenty of agricultural business students at Iowa State to earn that degree. I am a life-long Iowan and took care of many a tough farmer -- whom sometimes alarmingly tried to cure or repair themselves before they came to the ER for treatment. As self-sufficient and resourceful as they often were, it was heartwarming to see them give in to the fact that they were only human and accept help. I grew up in a rural neighborhood just outside Cedar Rapids, Iowa's second-largest city. As a child I didn't understand or experience what is sometimes described as the "rural-urban divide" -- conflicting interests between Iowans living in cities and small towns. I had an asthma attack in the neighbor's chicken coop, rode their horses bareback, and ended up detasseling corn for my first formal company job. My family hosted foster children for the state of Iowa throughout my childhood. We welcomed exchange students from multiple countries into our home and I used the detasseling money to go to Costa Rica in 1984. It seems I was raised to have the good Midwestern neighborly sense to know that we have to look out for each other as we are all in this world together. So when I became an economist to promote economic justice and work on healthcare reform, I never lost faith in Iowans as independent thinkers. We generally are people who come up with resourceful, creative solutions, and always seem prepared to lend a helping hand to our neighbors.
This year when the campaign season for Iowa's next U.S. Senator began, I sensed a familiar urgent call to duty. That old ER nurse initiative, and the practical-minded solutions I had been working on as an economist since 2009, culminated in a cure for what Mr. Butler so vividly describes. What is best for Iowa and our country is to make sure that our people have a genuine voice in Washington. There is no provision for political parties written into our Constitution, so today we have the choice of working with them -- or working around them when they fail us. If we want to re-establish the "honor and integrity" that "have been supplanted by the quest for power and money," I believe that electing a dedicated, completely non-partisan U.S. Senator to represent Iowans may be the best way to start. We cannot pass up this historic opportunity to set an example for more functional government, collaborative legislation, and real campaign finance reform. Our state can lead the way to realizing meaningful change that essentially allows the ideals of our founding fathers to triumph.
-- Suzanne Herzog, Iowa independent candidate for U.S. Senate 2020
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