Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Vote In Sunshine Wasn't The Only Special Interest Group At The Straw Poll

Ames provides venue for interest groups


August 11, 2007

Special interest groups have peppered the area around Hilton Coliseum, site of today's Republican Party straw poll, advocating for such issues as pro-life and pro-guns. Here is an account of what some of them are saying or doing:

“We’re trying to reach out to people and let them know what we’re all about,” said Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Christian Alliance.

The alliance is concerned about such issues as marriage, advocating for a constitutional amendment that clearly defines that marriage is between a man and woman. Another key issue for the group is immigration; they favor stronger borders.

Scheffler said the multiple marriages by some of the top Republican candidates, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is problematic. Giuliani is not attending today’s Ames event.

“I think it’s fair to say that people are looking at a couple of things," Scheffler said. "They’re looking at where candidates stand on the issues, but they’re also concerned about somebody’s moral character. ... We can’t dispose of the rhetoric and then play a different game.”

The Iowans for Right to Work Committee is handing out fliers with a picture of Iowa’s top government leaders, including Gov. Chet Culver, Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker Pat Murphy, under the headline: "Iowa’s right to work law attacked by the Four Barons."

The flier alleges that “union bosses spent untold millions of dollars” in 2006 to the four politicians. The leaflet says such groups are now “working hard to gut” a law that guarantees that Iowa workers cannot be forced to join a union or pay union dues.

The issue came up during the 2007 legislative session, but didn’t make its way through the legislative process. It is likely to come about again next year, noted Dimitri Kesari, director of government affairs for the right-to-work group’s national headquarters.

“Iowa really is ground zero in where unions thought they could pass it this year,” Kesari said.

He said several hundred people had signed the petition by 9:30 a.m.

“We’re gathering more ground troops so when the fight comes back in January, they’ll be enough people to let the legislators know if they vote wrong, don’t bother coming back to the Legislature,” Kesari said.
Read more here and here.

Editor's Note:
There were many groups that were unregistered without a formal booth who were on the ground at the Iowa Straw Poll. We were the only such group who were targeted for repression of our message. More videos that document this repression will be forthcoming.

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