2008 Primary: Remix? Redux? Rematch?

You may have followed the 2008 Democratic primary in Iowa's third congressional district. It pitted incumbent Leonard Boswell of Des Moines against Ed Fallon of Des Moines.  Boswell is a long-time state legislator who was the Democratic Party's 1994 candidate for lieutenant governor; he went on to run for congress in 1996 where he's served since 1997. Fallon is a long-time state legislator who ran for governor in 2006, losing in a Democratic primary to Chet Culver, the current governor.

Earlier today, Fallon and his wife, Lynn, sent out a mass email to their "Independence Movement for Iowa" which they call I'M for Iowa.  Then came the response from Mark Daley — a long-time aide who has served as a campaign manager for Boswell and currently is the congressman's press secretary.  Read the dueling memos/letters below.  As you read, ponder this:  is Fallon contemplating a second run against Boswell in 2010?  Another point of context:  Boswell was a farmer for years in the Davis City area and he currently serves on the House Ag Committee.

First, the I'M for Iowa email:

Dear Friends,
In last year’s Democratic primary for Congress, Leonard Boswell touted his endorsement by Al Gore. In one flier, despite Boswell’s long history of voting against the environment, Gore lauded Boswell for being “on the front lines” to address global warming. Perhaps Gore hoped that his endorsement would encourage Boswell to turn over a new leaf.  
Well, last week Boswell let Al Gore down. Landmark climate change legislation – HR 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act – is struggling to move forward in the U.S. House. Gore endorsed the bill, saying it carries "the moral significance equivalent to that of the civil rights legislation of the 1960s and the Marshall Plan of the late 1940s."  
Boswell, on the other hand, made national news saying, "As this bill stands today, I can't vote for it. I don't know of anyone else in the {House Agriculture} committee who can."  
Gore’s glowing endorsement meant a lot to Boswell, and if Boswell truly wanted to be “on the front lines” in the fight to address climate change, he would throw his weight behind HR 2454.
Instead, as Open Left’s Chris Bowers wrote this week, “Boswell, along with seemingly all other Democrats on the Agriculture Committee, is hijacking climate change legislation unless it removes the EPA's authority to regulate carbon. This demand would actually be a step backward for climate change policy in the United States.”  
Boswell’s position on HR 2454 is, regrettably, consistent with his long history of opposition to pro-environment legislation.
In August of 2001, he voted against an amendment that would have raised fuel efficiency standards to 27.5 mpg.  
In July of 2005, he voted for $14.5 billion in tax breaks and incentives for energy companies, even though House Democrats opposed the bill 124-75.

In June of 2006, he voted to end a 25-year moratorium on offshore oil drilling.  
In February of 2007, he voted for an amendment to permit offshore drilling for natural gas, which House Democrats opposed 194-38.  
Also in February of 2007, he signed a letter to the House Speaker and Majority Leader calling for legislation to support continued use of coal “for decades to come.”   
And in July of 2007, he voted against an amendment to prevent the expediting of oil shale drilling, which House Democrats supported 202-27.   
America and Iowa need Congressman Boswell to turn over a new leaf. New climate-change scenarios show even greater temperature increases, more rapid ice melt and higher sea-levels than previously expected. Legislation such as HR 2454 is imperative.  
Ed & Lynn Fallon 

Second, the Memorandum that's Boswell's response:

To:       Interested Parties
Fr:        Mark Daley, Congressman Leonard Boswell’s Office
Re:       H.R. 2454, Climate Change Legislation
Da:       June 16, 2009

The US House is currently working on legislation designed to curb carbon emissions and clean air across America. Congressman Boswell is extremely concerned about our environment and shares the goal of this legislation.  The proposed legislation is currently being crafted and a final version has yet to emerge.  Despite his ardent support for climate change legislation, the current version threatens to unfairly increase energy costs for Iowa families and others across the Midwest, while giving windfall profits to coastal energy companies.  Additionally, the legislation would greatly increase the cost of doing business for Iowa farmers and ranchers and excludes them from being a part of the solution.
Below are the three top areas of concern with this legislation:

1. Iowa Farmers Would Shoulder Added Costs
    a. As the bill currently reads, there is no mention of agricultural offsets; therefore, Iowa’s farmers will be forced to shoulder the cost of increased fuel, fertilizer and electricity without any assistance.

2. USDA must be the agency to oversee the offset program 
    a. The U.S. agriculture and forestry sectors are estimated to annually account for 6-8% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions but is estimated to sequester up to 20% of their emissions.  The proposed legislation provides no role for USDA.  As the agency responsible for conservation and forestry programs that help with carbon sequestration, it is critical that USDA be involved in determining agriculture’s role in any climate change proposal.  USDA must be responsible for the agriculture offsets portion not EPA. 
    b. In Iowa there are 99 USDA Farm Service Agency county offices – the infrastructure is already in place at USDA and not at the EPA.

3. The 50/50 Allowance Allocation Formula Would Increase Energy Costs for Iowa Families While Helping Companies on the Coasts
    a. Because 50% of the allowances a utility will receive would be based on its retail sales – not historical emissions – the formula is heavily biased against the Midwest and will lead to windfall profits for companies who rely less on fossil fuels than most Midwest companies for their electrical generation. If this program is really about reducing emissions, then the allowance formula should be based entirely on a utility’s historic emissions.  Basing 50% of the formula on retail will result in an unfair geography tax, with consumers in the middle of the country seeing far greater rate hikes than many on the coasts.  All Americans should share equally in the increased costs of combating climate change, and it is manifestly wrong to expect certain consumers to absorb rate hikes 2 to 4 times higher than others.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.