Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs made his mark on Mount Vernon. Many in town made their mark on him, too. Wirfs and his mother, Sarah, took The Gazette on a tour of his hometown, revisiting scenes around what essentially is the one square mile where he grew up. This story is a little about what can hold you back. This is mostly about what moves you forward.

Government

Elizabeth Warren proposes 'strong rural America' policies

Her farm polices call for breaking up anti-competitive mergers

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) waves to the crowd Feb. 10 after she finishes her talk during a Cedar Rapids organizing event at the Veterans Memorial Building (The Gazette)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) waves to the crowd Feb. 10 after she finishes her talk during a Cedar Rapids organizing event at the Veterans Memorial Building (The Gazette)

A strong America requires a strong rural America, according to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is introducing her plans to address farm policy as well as rural infrastructure and health care during a four-day swing through Iowa.

“But both corporate America and leaders in Washington have turned their backs on the people living in our rural communities and prioritized the interests of giant companies and Wall Street instead,” Warren said. “Our failure to invest in rural areas is holding back millions of families, weakening our economy, and undermining our efforts to combat climate change.”

Warren supports Medicare-for-all because even for those with insurance coverage, she said, “rural America is quickly becoming a medical desert.”

In less than a decade, 112 rural hospitals have closed, and those that do remain open operate on razor-thin margins from uncompensated care, lower patient volume, and insufficient reimbursement, she said.

Warren also wants to block hospital mergers unless they will maintain or increase access to health care.

To narrow the digital divide, Warren proposed a public option for broadband through publicly-owned and operated networks, and restoring net neutrality regulations.

Warren also proposed to spend $2 trillion in green research, manufacturing and exporting to create more than a million new jobs to reverse manufacturing losses in rural communities. She wants to spend another $400 billion on clean energy research and development at land grant universities, rural areas and areas that have seen the worst job losses in recent years.

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Her farm policies call for reviewing — and reversing — anti-competitive mergers and breaking up vertically integrated agribusinesses. She also supports a national right-to-repair law for farmers, reform country-of-origin labeling and restrict foreign ownership of American agriculture companies and farmland.

Instead of subsidizing industrial agriculture, Warren would guarantee farmers a fair price, reduce overproduction and pay farmers for environmental conservation.

She said she’d pay for her policies by higher taxes on the ultrawealthy and large corporations. That includes an annual 2-percent wealth tax on fortunes over $50 million and ensuring that large and profitable American corporations don’t get away with paying zero taxes.

Warren’s Iowa itinerary includes participating in Friday evening’s North Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake and speaking on the Iowa State Fair soapbox at 3 p.m. Saturday.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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