News / USA

Economy Important to Iowa Voters, Despite Healthy Farm Industry

Kane Farabaugh

Republican presidential candidates are spending millions of dollars in Iowa trying to win voters. The infusion of campaign cash comes while the Midwestern state is also benefiting from several years of good crop growth. Because of its healthy farm industry, Iowa is suffering less from the slow economic growth and high unemployment seen nationwide.  But there are still concerns on the campaign trail.

It’s been a good year for the Machine Shed in suburban Des Moines, Iowa.

Presidential candidates use manager Alan Ruden’s farm-themed restaurant as a place to meet voters ahead of the Iowa presidential caucuses every four years.

“We get a lot of traffic from candidates and people asking about candidates. You have to come to the Machine Shed, and it’s well recognized as a place for a stop on their tour. The candidates know that,” Ruden said.

Texas Governor Rick Perry among them.

The sign above the entrance says “Farming is everyone’s bread and butter” and retired farmer Dean Kleckner says Iowa’s farms have had good years.

“The finances of Iowa is pretty good right now, mainly because agriculture is pretty good right now.  And that ripples through the economy, whether you’re farming or not, you’re spending money because the economy is good,” Kleckner said.

The Des Moines visitors bureau says the 2008 presidential campaign brought about $100 million into Iowa. But there are fewer candidates this year, so even with strong spending by contenders such as Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, this year's figure is expected to be lower.

Even so, Republican presidential hopefuls spent about $10 million on advertising alone in December.

But Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the campaign’s effect on the state’s overall economy is minimal.

“I’ve seen studies that said it’s significant.  I’ve seen other studies that in comparison to, you know, we have a 25 or 30 billion dollar agriculture economy. It’s not a huge proportion of the state economy, but we love having it here,” Northey said.

Campaign money has not created many jobs and Northey remains concerned about the state’s unemployment rate of 5.7 percent.

“We still have higher unemployment than we’d like.  We’re lower than the national average, but still would like to generate more jobs and competitiveness than in other places,” Northey said.

Machine Shed manager Alan Ruden isn’t concerned about his job, but he still worries about the economy.  A bad farm year means fewer customers.

So far, none of the Republican candidates, including Rick Santorum, has won his support

“I’ve made up my mind twice, and both of those candidates dropped out of the race,” Ruden said.

Ruden says this will be his first caucus, and he’s waiting until the last minute to make up his mind on who he will support.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More