Independent hopeful Luick-Thrams raising issues in U.S. Senate race

Mason City cultural historian questioning the status quo

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Michael Luick-Thrams said he “assumed from the get-go I wouldn’t win” Iowa’s race for U.S. Senate.

That seems a safe bet since the Mason City cultural historian counts about 50 active supporters, had raised less than $4,000 as of June 30 and gets exposure speaking at the State Fair, striking up conversations as he travels Iowa and piggybacking on events like the University of Northern Iowa’s “Indigenous People’s Day.”

“I’m raising issues,” Luick-Thrams told The Gazette Editorial Board Tuesday. “I want to raise issues Grassley and Judge won’t raise” and help Iowans see the real issues as well as understand that voting for the same old, same old isn’t helping.

“We vote for people we know. We avoid risk,” he said. Iowa voters “keep returning people to office who support the status quo.”

So they get Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley — “Uncle Chuck” — who Luick-Thrams said is “great on Social Security and getting your brother-in-law’s Iranian wife a visa.”

Democratic challenger Patty Judge is the “Democratic National Committee’s girl, foisted on the Iowa Democratic landscape … an old boy in a skirt.”

As a historian, Luick-Thrams said he takes the long view and believes the key to Iowa’s future success can be found in its past. Iowa thrived when its water was clean, before one-third or more of its topsoil had been washed down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Now, 71 of 99 counties are losing population. Small towns are struggling as Wal-Marts move in and young people move out.

“We need triage,” Luick-Thrams said. “We need to draw a line … like deciding county seats cannot be allowed to go under.”

Too many current leaders fail to recognize the importance of rural Iowa to the state’s vitality.

“It wasn’t the cities that built the rest of Iowa. The rest of Iowa built the cities,” Luick-Thrams said. “There is something inherently valuable in the rural experience.”

That means challenging many accepted beliefs and practices.

“Why should Iowa feed the world?” he asked. Increasing row crop yields and livestock production is turning the state into a chemical dump.

“We’re raising all of this food in Iowa, but it’s poisoning us,” he said. “There’s a direct correlation between Iowa and obesity” because federal subsidies contribute to the overproduction.

It’s time for a change, and neither Grassley nor Judge can or will deliver because they are “products of The Depression … too blinded by the cornstalks to see the field.”

Luick-Thrams, who has lived and studied in Germany, said Iowans need a senator who can see the bigger picture, someone who has lived outside Iowa, who knows the impact of U.S. foreign policy, someone “who knows what it’s like not to come from (Iowa) framework.”

“We’re being had,” Luick-Thrams said. “I’m the real deal.”

For more on Luick-Thrams’ campaign, visit www.HeartlandParties.US.

For all of The Gazette's Election 2016 coverage, please visit our election coverage center.

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