In the 2000 election, George W. Bush lost Iowa, but just barely. "In this upcoming election in 2004, the farm vote will once again be important," says Dean Kleckner, former president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. "Whether it's farm policy, energy issues or taxes, there are key issues of interest to Iowa farmers. Those issues will be addressed in this campaign."
Kleckner, a member of the Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Iowa Farm Team Steering Committee, made those comments Dec. 17 as the committee members were announced at a press conference in Ames.
"President Bush understands that the success of America's farmers is essential to the success of our economy. Our Iowa Farm Team is made up of leaders who have a great understanding of President Bush's common sense policies that have made a difference for the farmers of Iowa," said Marc Racicot.
Keppy, Kleckner lead re-election effort
Racicot, a former governor of Montana who is a Republican, is now serving as national chairman of the Bush-Cheney '04 re-election committee.
Glen Keppy will serve as the state chair for the Bush-Cheney '04 Iowa Farm Team. He is a farmer in Scott County. Rusty Harder will serve as the co-chair for agri-business. Dean Kleckner and Merlin Plagge will serve as honorary co-chairmen.
"President Bush has been a strong leader for farmers in Iowa. He signed into law the 2002 Farm Bill which has had a tremendous impact on Iowa farmers. He has been unwavering in his support of the ethanol and bio-diesel portions of the energy bill. He pushed hard for the elimination of the death tax and will make its repeal permanent. Iowa's farmers deserve another four years of President Bush's principled leadership," said Keppy.
"We are honored to have such a seasoned group of leaders at the helm of this team in Iowa. Their efforts will be crucial to a Bush-Cheney victory in '04," Racicot added.
Bush's Iowa farm team steering committee
Duane Acker is past president of Kansas State University and former chairman of the Iowa Agriculture Finance Corporation. He is also former chair of Southwest Iowa Egg Co-op. Acker is a retired corn and bean farmer who also raised beef cattle and resides in Cass County.
Varel Bailey is past president of the National Corn Growers Association. He farms and raises livestock in Cass County.
Steve and Julie Berger run a corn, soybean and pork operation in Washington County.
Pam Bolin is a member of the board of directors for Swiss Valley Farms Dairy Co-op. Her family farms in Butler County.
Craig Christensen is chair of the National Pork Board and farms at Ogden.
Lumir Dostal farmed for 40 years in Linn County. He was a charter member of the United Soybean Check-off Board and a member of Farm Bureau. He recently retired from the Linn County Board of Supervisors.
Jack Drake, a member of the Iowa Legislature, is current chairman of the Iowa House Agriculture Committee and is a farmer in Cass County.
Marlowe Feldman is a retired grain and hog farmer from Buena Vista County. He is former county Farm Bureau president there and was on the board of the Iowa Association of Electric Co-ops.
Rand Fisher is President of the Iowa Area Development Group and a member of the board of directors for the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. He's also former chair of the Iowa Rural Development Council.
Thurman Gaskill is a state senator and farms near Corwith, Iowa. He's also the past chairman of the Iowa Senate Committee on Agriculture.
Chuck Gipp is the Majority Leader of the Iowa House of Representatives. He is a farmer from Winneshiek County.
John and Connie Grieg operate a feedlot and grow corn, soybeans and alfalfa in Emmet County. Connie also raises 200 purebred cattle. John is past president of the Iowa Cattlemen and former member of the Iowa Board of Regents. He also spent 6 years as an Iowa legislator in Des Moines.
Ron Gruenhagen is a corn and soybean farmer in Muscatine County and is very active in the county Farm Bureau.
Rusty Harder is the owner of E-Markets, a business in Ames. He's agri-business chair of the Bush-Cheney Iowa Team and lives in Story County.
Rick Hawbaker is a partner at Van Wall Equipment, Inc., in Perry.
Stan Herr is the currently an Iowa Farm Bureau Regional Manager and also owns a corn & soybean farm in Linn County.