Saturday, July 30, 2016

Northwest Iowa, Haven't You Had Enough?

I was born in Iowa, raised in Iowa, and educated in Iowa.

And I'm ashamed that US Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was born in the Hawkeye State, too.

Matter of fact, I'm heavily ashamed.   

I remember when he decided he wanted to go out for a seat in this country's House of Representatives. 

The year was 2002, and King was seeking the seat that, at the time, was held by fellow Republican Tom Latham. (Redistricting sent Latham to head for another Iowa Congressional district to fight to keep his place in the US House.) 

The reconfigured 5th District- the prize King was looking for- included Council Bluffs. (Meanwhile, Latham ended up having to fight another Republican incumbent, Greg Ganske, for the right to represent Iowa's 4th District.) 

At the time, I read an Omaha World-Herald article that talked about one of King's early campaign stops...a church in Council Bluffs. In the article, it talked about how some African-American people were standing in the back of the same room where the then Iowa state senator was campaigning.

Storm Lake native King asked: "Is this the back of the bus?" 

I thought to myself: "Jim...can you say 'red flag?'"  

King (a state senator since 1997) went on to top three other GOP hopefuls in the 5th District's House primary; on 11-5-2002, he crushed his Democratic opponent, a Council Bluffs city council member named Paul Shomshor, 62%-38%. 

SAK grabbed every county in the district except Pottawattamie...the one that contains Council Bluffs. 

He went on to win the next four elections by landslides, winning reelection during that eight-year period by an average margin of 26.5%. In 2008 and 2010, King snared all 32 counties in his district. 

Then came 2012.

Because of the 2010 Census, a House seat was taken away from the Hawkeye State. (Iowa's population grew by 4% between 2000 and 2010- not nearly enough of an increase to allow the state to keep five places in the 435-member House of Reps.)

While the new 3rd District (Southwest Iowa) resulted in Latham having to fight Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell for the right to represent it, the reshaped 4th District (Northwest Iowa) placed King in competition with Christie Vilsack, the former Iowa first lady who moved back to the state to try to kick King out of Congress. 

King went forth, 53%-45%; then in 2014, he mowed down Jim Mowrer, 62%-38%. 

You know what hurt about King's win over Vilsack?

Six months after launching his sixth term of office, the man who calls Kiron, IA home popped off about proposed immigration legislation: "For every [undocumented immigrant] who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds- and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."

I cringed when I found out ol' Kingie said this.

*It wasn't the first time I cringed over something King said or did as a US representative. Three years earlier, King defended the use of racial profiling by law-enforcement officials: "It's not wrong to use race or other indicators for the sake of identifying people that are violating the law." 

*In an early (2005) House vote, King voted against the $52 billion package earmarked for victims of Hurricane Katrina. His excuse: "Whatever happened to fiscal responsibility?" 

I'll bet the next time a major atmospheric disaster hits Northwest Iowa, Steven Arnold King- if he's still in the House- will be the first to scream for money to repair the damage (especially if a tornado levels Kiron).  

*A lot of the information going into this post came from Wikipedia; because of, I found out that King has a Dixie Swastika (oops...I mean Confederate flag) on his office desk. 

Didn't somebody tell this man that Iowa was part of the Union during this country's Civil War? 

*King's one of the many, many reasons the Republicans can't draw Latino/a/x American voters...thanks to remarks like this about HUD Secretary Julian Castro: "What does Julian Castro know? Does he know that I'm as Hispanic and Latino as he?"

Yeah, Steven.

And I'm Spongebob Squarepants.  

*And how about Steve King's recent efforts to prevent Harriet Tubman's profile from replacing that of Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill?
In trying to block this country's Treasury Department from modifying the currency, King called the attempt to put Tubman on the $20 "sexist" and "racist."

To him, it's not about the Underground Railroad's conductor. "It's about keeping the picture on the $20. Y'know? Why would you want to change that? I am a conservative. I like to keep what we have." 

It's a good thing King was in high school in 1964 (the year he turned fifteen)...when Benjamin Franklin's profile on the half dollar was replaced with John F. Kennedy's. (But then, King probably wrote a letter to the editor of his high-school paper to complain about the change.)

*If you're not cringing along with me right now, maybe this is the tip of the iceberg for you: King's equally infamous remarks delivered at last week's Cleveland Hatefest (oops...I mean Republican National Convention). 

Iowa's longest-tenured current US rep appeared on MSNBC's coverage of this year's GOP confab. He was part of a panel moderated by Chris Hayes (of All In fame); Esquire columnist Charles Pierce was there, too.

Pierce talked about how the 2016 Republican assembly could be the last one where "old White people would command the Republican Party's attention." 

The message made King bristle, so he said: "I'd ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?" 

Well, if this gun-rights advocate from Northwest Iowa had calmed down for a little bit, he would've realized the Chinese gave the world gunpowder. And he would've come to understand that we use Arabic numerals (that's right, 0 through 9) in our everyday lives.

Plus, King would've come to dig that the corn harvester (what's Iowa without corn?) came from the mind of Henry Blair, a Marylander who came up with this invention in 1834. 

Blair was the first African American (or one of the first) to receive a patent after coming up with an invention. 

And all that's just scratching the surface. 

So, there you have it. If you live in Sioux City, LeMars, Spencer, Storm Lake, Spirit Lake, or some other community in Northwest Iowa, ask yourself what Steven A. King has done for your House district...other than keeping it in the headlines. 

Are you really proud to get "represented" by the man InsideGov labeled as the least productive member of Congress? (What legislation of his has King managed to get out of committee?)

What keeps you voting for this proven bigot?

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