The issues for my campaign as determined by the Committee to Elect Dahl to the U.S. House has been updated from the “Significant Seven” to the Essential Eight.

1) Agriculture Revitalization

I support smaller scale agriculture, an increase in the number of farmers, a reduced reliance on chemicals in agricultural enterprises, and a greater diversity of crop and animal in Iowa. I encourage further research and development of annual crops (such as sweet sorghum) rather than relying on a single perennial in providing Iowa’s ethanol.  I favor increased hardwood tree planting, an expansion of acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and a significant increase in acres planted with vegetables in Iowa.  I support independent producers as the core of America’s agricultural system and would favor laws prohibiting agribusinesses from having contract farmers. I encourage retiring farmers to sell/lease/give their land to 3 or 4 farmers (with one farmer ideally being a beginning farmer) rather than continuing the consolidation of agriculture to larger and larger producers.  The hygienic practices and treatment of workers in meat-processing plants need significant improvement. The USDA should pay for federal crop insurance for all farmers and end subsidy payments being paid to producers in the next farm bill. It would be useful to do some trust busting in the seed business so that farmers could return to using their own seed rather than be dependent on large seed companies for their seed.  The continued use of animal confinement in production needs to be more fully analyzed and assessed due to environmental pollution and human health concerns.

Recommended Readings
Berry, Wendell.  Bringing It to the Table:  On Farming and Food, 2009.

Conkin, Paul K.  A Revolution Down on the Farm:  The Transformation of American Agriculture Since 1929, 2008.

Despommier, Dickson.  The Vertical Farm:  Feeding the World in the 21st Century, 2010.

Imhoff, Daniel, Editor.  CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation):  The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, 2010.

Kirby, David.  Animal Factory:  The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment, 2010.

Rieff, David.  The Reproach of Hunger:  Food, Justice, and Money in the Twenty-First Century, 2015.

2) Campaign Finance Reform

It is imperative that donor disclosure is complete and transparent for any established political action committee/entity where contributions are sought and received. The legal rulings that a corporation is a “person” and that the spending of money is viewed as “free speech” need to be revisited by the U.S. Supreme Court. Public financing for primary and general elections in federal races needs to be allowed for federal candidates if such candidates desire to receive public financing. Each state may set public financing  amounts and have such limits codified.

3)  Education

Instruct the U.S. Department of Education to continue to revise and improve the Common Core, a national curriculum standard, so that states may adopt and utilize as they deem appropriate.
Direct the U.S. Department of Education to work to provide guidelines and best practices to improve instruction by teachers and effective ways to improve morale in school settings.
Foster critical thinking skills in students in Pre K-12 public education at the appropriate developmental level.
Ensure that loans provided to students for higher education will have low rates of interest during repayment and offer generous repayment plans.
Increase the number of AmeriCorps workers in national service in education so that recent graduates may reduce debt levels.

4)  Environment

Draft legislation that any manufactured product in the United States is either recyclable or biodegrades within 30 days of exposure to natural elements so that significant reduction of waster occurs with the eventual goal of zero nonbiodegradable waste.
Support legislation focusing on the establishment of renewable energy sources including wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric.
The surface waters of each state (rivers, streams, lakes, marshes, and ponds) should be monitored for a 2-year period so that chemical pollutants are identified and the pollution time frame is ascertained for the 20 most serious chemical pollutants each year in the state of Iowa.

5) Government Spending

6) Healthcare

7) Social Security

8) Tax Reform Tied with National Minimum Wage Increase