Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack Announces the Rural Iowans for Obama Steering Committee
DES MOINES – Today, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack announced the members of the Rural Iowans for Obama Steering Committee. Two members of the Rural Steering Committee, Bruce Rohwer, a corn farmer from Northwest Iowa and member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and Cathy Lafrenz a small business owner, who runs Miss Effie’s Country Flowers from rural Scott County joined Mr. Vilsack on the call.
The Rural Iowans for Obama Steering Committee is a groundbreaking organizing operation in rural communities. The campaign will have the largest presence and largest ground game in rural Iowa that any President candidate has ever had in the state of Iowa.
This group will work to promote the President’s strong record of supporting rural America and our nation’s small businesses, farmers, working families and students by creating rural economies built to last and rewarding small town values like hard work and fairness. This group will also draw a contrast between the President’s strong record supporting rural communities and Mitt Romney’s out of touch view of the issues that matter most to rural communities.
"Iowa's rural towns represent the value of family and community," Vilsack said. "Iowa is a place that--with hard work and determination--can provide a bright future for you, and a brighter one for your children." He continued, "I'm proud to join my fellow Iowans in supporting President Obama and his vision for rural America. I know he and Vice President Biden will always support the promise and value of rural America."
Obama for America Iowa also announced the Iowa Grown tour highlighting the strength of our rural communities and President Obama’s plans to continue to support growing our small town economies. Rural Steering Committee members will hold roundtables with rural Iowans over the next few months. The first roundtables will be held next week in Carroll, Fort Dodge, Adel and Indianola.
“I am proud to join the Rural Iowans for Obama Steering Committee because under this President, Iowa farmers are seeing unprecedented prosperity,” said Rohwer. “Under President Obama, Iowa farmers are seeing record farm income, record agricultural exports and the growth of renewable energy industries for wind and biofuels that are revitalizing small towns across Iowa.”
The Steering Committee is comprised of a diverse group of men and women, both young and old, with experience in a range of fields from farming and business, to education and health care.
“Today, not all Iowans are farmers or live in rural America, but Iowans identify with the values our small towns and rural communities. That’s why today we’re excited to launch Rural Iowans for Obama,” said Lafrenz. “I am a small business owner who chose to start a business in rural Iowa. We have seen tremendous growth and we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary in business.
Small businesses are a vital part of revitalizing Iowa’s rural communities.”
The members of the Rural Steering Committee include:
- Aaron Lehman, Polk City: Sixth generation farmer with a corn, soybean, and hay operation.
- Bill Gannon, Mingo: Former Iowa legislator and corn and soybean farmer from Jasper County.
- Bruce Rohwer, Paullina: Corn farmer from Northwest Iowa and a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
- Cathy Lafrenz, Donahue: Small business owner in rural Scott County, running Miss Effie’s Country Flowers.
- Chris Petersen, Clear Lake: President of the Iowa Farmers Union and runs a family farm operation near Clear Lake.
- Dillon Thiner, Graettinger: Student at Simpson College and past member of Future Farmers of America.
- Gary Lamb, Chelsea: Long-time diversified farmer in Tama County.
- Helen Miller, Ft. Dodge: Representative Miller has served in the Iowa House since 2003 and is the Ranking Member on the House Agriculture Committee.
- Jack Kibbie, Emmetsburg: Retiring President of the Iowa Senate and cattleman from Palo Alto County.
- Jake Krapfl, New Vienna: Grew up on a farm, Iraq War veteran and writing instructor at Northeast Iowa Community College.
- Jennifer Herrington, Clarinda: Mental health professional, Page County Democrat Chair and Neighborhood Team Leader for OFA-Iowa.
- Jennifer Steffen, Birmingham: Corn, cattle, and soybean farmer in Southeastern Iowa and has served on the State Soil Conversation Committee.
- Kevin Middleswart, Indianola: Former Warren County Supervisor and an Iowa Farm Bureau member who operates a diversified farm producing corn, soybeans, cattle, and timber.
- Matt Russell, Lacona: State food policy project coordinator at Drake University Law School and raises sustainably-grown foods on the 110-acre Coyote Run Farm in Warren County.
- Morgan Hoenig, Mt. Pleasant: Young entrepreneur operating MoGo Organic, which produces fresh produce in Henry County.
- Neil Hamilton, Waukee: Directs the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University Law School.
- Dr. Neil E. Harl, Ames: Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Emeritus Professor of Economics at Iowa State University.
- Patty Judge, Des Moines: Former Lt. Governor and Iowa's first woman Secretary of Agriculture, ran a cow-calf operation in Albia
- Rob Hach, Alta: CEO of Anemometry, a wind turbine installation company headquartered in Alta. The company was selected as SBA's Iowa 2010 Small Business Persons of the Year Award winner.
- Sharon Ambrose, Walnut: Teaches at Atlantic Elementary School and is a rural Neighborhood Team Leader for OFA-Iowa.
- Warren Woods, Creston: Serving as Mayor of Creston since 2008.