Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Big Ideas

Democrats have accomplished a great deal the past 3 years including increasing Iowa's renewable energy industries, raising teacher salaries, providing same day voter registration, expanding early childhood education, and enacting a smoking ban.

In a post yesterday at Bleeding Heartland, desmoinesdem laid an agenda of big ideas Democrats at the Statehouse can pursue over the next 2 years.

If Democrats can show that their governance made a tangible difference in the lives of Iowans, it will be easier to give voters a reason to back Culver and Democratic legislators again in 2010. I've got a few suggestions:

-Reduce the influence of money in politics by approving a voluntary "clean elections" system on the model of Maine or Arizona;
-Reject new coal fired power plants (as several of our neighboring states have done) and increase our capacity to generate wind and solar power;
-Allow "local control" of large hog confinements (agricultural zoning at the county level);
-Make progress toward providing light rail in the Ames/Ankeny/Des Moines and Iowa City/Cedar Rapids corridors.

I couldn't agree more with these issues and have written a lot about about each one in the past (read my posts on clean elections, coal plants, local control, light rail). If could add one more it would be high speed rural broadband access. I wrote last summer...
Broadband penetration is a huge asset for economic development, especially in rural areas like Iowa.

When governments are trying to attract companies to locate in the area they should invest in infrastructure such as high speed broadband. It would benefit those companies and spark entrepreneurship among individuals living in the rural areas.
Unfortunately, I also agree with desmoinesdem that Democratic Leadership doesn't seem interested in pushing any of these issues at the moment. There are legislators here and there speaking on these issues, but progress likely won't be made without support from leadership.

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