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News-Herald Weekly Question for your Iowa Legislators

February 15, 2013
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

During the 2013 Iowa Legislative session, The Chronicle and News-Herald will submit questions to the Tama County delegation:

State Senator Steve Sodders (D-State Center) and State representative Dean Fisher (R-Garwin.)

If you have a question you would like considered for submission, send it to the newspapers.

Article Photos

State Representative Dean Fisher (R-Garwin)
State Senator Steve Sodders (D-State Center)

WEEK?FIVE: "A move is being made to add Iowa to the list of states with publicly-funded campaigns. Do you support this legislation?"


State Senator

Steve Sodders


I have concern about publicly funded campaigns especially until we get Citizen's United under control.

This was the Supreme Court ruling that allows Corporations to be treated as a person and thus allowing for unlimited funds from corporations to flood the political system.

I would support the Congress in passing a law making sure that corporations are not treated like individual person for campaign purposes.

State Rep. Dean Fisher



No, I do not.

By publicly funding campaigns we create multiple problems. First, it would require that we tax the people to fund these campaigns, adding to the public burden in a heavy handed manner. Second, we would stifle freedom of speech. Third, we would end up promoting candidates that don't have broad public support. Fourth, we would limit creativity in campaigns.

Taxes and public spending obligations high enough, to the point where they are severely damaging our nations economy and threatening our childrens future. Forcing all campaign financing into the tax and spend culture of our government would be yet another financial disaster as politicians try to pump up their spending limits at someone else's expense. Our nation is bankrupt, our postal system is bankrupt, our Medicare and Medicaid system is grossly over budget and heading for bankruptcy, and our Social Security system is headed for bankruptcy. Letting these same people, politicians, who would be directly benefitted by this campaign spending at everyone elses expense just seems like an exceedingly bad idea.

Campaign funding is a direct reflection of our political speech. By supporting the candidates of our choice with our dollars we send direct messages about what direction we want our government to take. By funneling funds through the government and setting funding levels all the same we would eliminate that valuable channel for our voices to be heard.

If we have public funding of campaigns, then all campaigns at the same level would have to receive the same amount of funding, no matter what the candidates message and level of support is. This would encourage many single issue and marginal candidates to file in primaries, siphoning valuable tax dollars to their campaign. We would have candidates with little or no support running for many offices simply because they can now get the same funding as a more popular candidate. A candidates ability to obtain funding is a direct measure of how much support the community has for that candidate. My own campaign ran on donations from well over a hundred donors reflecting broad support in the community, and I worked hard to generate those donations reflecting my desire to run as well. Under a taxpayer funded scheme a candidate with practically no support could run and never have to lift a finger to generate those campaign funds.

Many times campaigns are successfully run on a shoe string. The candidate with a strong clear message, lots of support from his friends and family, and lots of shoe leather can win. By providing a set amount of taxpayer funds to each candidate much of that creativity goes by the wayside, there is less incentive to find new ways to run a campaign. Furthermore, every campaign is different. For example, a candidate in Polk county or Linn county has a very focused media market for TV commercials, and those campaigns may require a lot of money to be competitive. A candidate in my district has a very fractured TV market, it would be cost prohibitive to run commercials on TV stations in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Ames, all cities that serve my district.

Candidates should be responsible for generating their own campaign funds. It makes them work harder for the job, it sorts out the serious candidates from the fringe candidates by forcing them to gain public support, it promotes creativity, and it protects our God given freedom of speech.



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