Welcome to Cedar Rapids, Mr. President.
The last time you visited us, you were a candidate for the presidency. Now, you’re the commander in chief. And you’ll no doubt be happy to know interviews by Gazette reporters show some of the local voters who supported you are still in your corner, even after your rocky start.
“I just support most of his ideas and what he is trying to do. I know he is a little bombastic, but he says the things I believe in,” said Jerry Chafee, 79, who backed Trump in November.
The dissatisfaction with politics-as-usual that helped you win here and elsewhere remains.
“I am so angry with our elected officials. Instead of moving this country forward, they seem to be the ones dividing it,” said Tim Gull, 54, owner of Metro Transmission in Marion and a Trump voter. “I don’t believe Trump is dividing things.”
It’s always a big deal when a president comes to town. But we couldn’t help but notice the main event of your trip today is a campaign rally. We’re glad you’re also making a stop to tour Kirkwood Community College, an outstanding educational and economic development asset in our region.
Mr. President, the campaign is over. You won. Now is not the time to rally. Now is the time to sell your policies, listen to Americans with a stake in those efforts and govern.
Iowans have questions and concerns about your plans. They can’t be heard over the cheers of a rally.
Iowa farmers are concerned about how your efforts to rewrite trade agreements will affect valuable overseas markets for Iowa’s bounty. Your budget blueprint includes cuts in crop insurance and other programs our producers depend upon, especially now in tough times. They’re also worried about cuts to science agencies that approve new crop developments and responses to pests and disease.
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Cedar Rapids still is waiting to hear whether the federal government will deliver on its promise to help pay for flood protection in the heart of the city. We hope you’ll let us know how you plan to address the issue and end our wait. And although we understand addressing climate change is not among your priorities, we will point out that the more frequent heavy rains it spawns have brought major flooding to this city twice in eight years. Preparing for the worst is a priority here, not a hoax.
Just a short chat with local leaders clearly would show the project’s importance.
We understand your strong desire to save America’s coal industry. But here in Iowa, we’re already generating a large percentage of our power through alternative energy sources. We’re a state that benefits from economic opportunities sparked by producing energy from the wind, the sun and the crops we grow.
Maybe you’ll see a wind farm or two as you fly in today.
More than 70,000 Iowans face losing health insurance obtained through the Affordable Care Act as uncertainty, indecision and partisan politics roil the health care system. You promised a “terrific” Obamacare replacement, but we haven’t seen anything resembling a terrific plan. There are fears of deep cuts to Medicaid funding for states such as Iowa, jeopardizing care for thousands more. Your appointee to run the Medicare and Medicaid system is the same consultant who advised Iowa to swiftly privatize its Medicaid program, spawning confusion and consternation for patients and providers.
We’ve read troubling reports indicating your attorney general may seek to prosecute medical marijuana providers and users in states where its legal. That’s very bad news for suffering Iowans and their families who have been lobbying hard at the Statehouse for years to gain access to medical cannabis.
You really should sit down with some of those Iowans and hear their stories.
As Iowa struggles to afford its state investments in public schools, human services, the justice system and many other services used by Iowans every day, your proposed budget would make the situation worse. An analysis by the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency shows it would cut $100 million in various federal grants for state efforts aimed at improving classroom technology, cleaning up water, providing affordable housing and supporting job training. Your budget plan, according to the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, would force Iowa to pay $884 million more to provide food assistance to low income families over the next decade.
We hope you have time to speak with some of the state and local leaders who would have to deal with the deep and real impacts of such reductions.
That’s a lot of ground to cover while you’re on the ground in Iowa. But we think it’s critical you understand the real world implications of these and many other policies your administration is proposing.
We concede it’s not as much fun as hearing the cheers and chants of folks convinced you’re making America great again. But it’s what presidents do.
Again, welcome to Cedar Rapids, and safe travels. Mr. President.
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• Staff editorials, including this open letter, are the consensus of The Gazette Editorial Board. Comments: (319) 398-8262; email@example.com