The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the Editor: Conlin for Senate

We’re Fighting with Roxanne.

Sometimes rare opportunities emerge, big and small, to catalyze a transformational change—to set a brushfire in the corridors of power. In 2006, Grinnellians saw such an opportunity when Eric Palmer declared his candidacy against archconservative Danny Carroll, the number three Republican in the Iowa House. We worked hard, turned out a record number of students, and delivered Eric the slim margin of victory he needed. As a result, Democrats took over the majority in the Iowa House for the first time in a decade. Eric and the new House leadership went on to raise the minimum wage for the 300,000 Iowans who were making $5.15 an hour, substantially raise teacher pay, lift the state ban on stem cell research and pass civil rights legislation to protect Iowans of all ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations from discrimination in the workplace.

2010 again represents such an opportunity. This time, however, the target is bigger—the stakes are higher. The opportunity is for Iowa to send its first woman to Washington, Roxanne Conlin, and to defeat one of the most powerful conservative leaders in the nation, Chuck Grassley. Just in case you haven’t been introduced, Grassley is that exceedingly senile and frustrating figure that’s been running around the airwaves talking about death panels and “pulling the plug on grandma.” During the course of his 50 plus years in public service, he has been the unapologetic embodiment of everything that is so wrong with Washington. He has taken millions of dollars from the health insurance and coal industries, sent our troops to fight an unnecessary war in Iraq, and gave out bailouts to Wall Street while leaving Main Street behind. To top it all off, this year the League of Conservation Voters gave Grassley’s environmental voting record a zero percent rating, he voted against equal pay for women twice and, when asked to denounce Uganda’s proposal to introduce the death penalty for homosexuals, Grassley initially refused.

Compared to Chuck, Roxanne would be an unmistakable breath of fresh air. We’d not only be sending Iowa’s first woman to Washington, we’d be sending an emphatic message: business as usual isn’t acceptable. Having gotten to know Roxanne over the past few months, I can tell you that she gets it. Roxanne had to wait tables to help support her family as a young girl, but still managed to work her way through law school, graduating at the tender age of 21. She went on to become one of our nation’s first female U.S. Attorneys and, later, the first female president of the powerful U.S. Trial Lawyers Association. She knows that healthcare is a fundamental human right, that we need to start getting serious about climate change and that no one should be denied the right to marry. Most importantly, she knows that sometimes we need to stand up and fight for the progress we wish to see.

Yes, change has been invariably slow and disappointing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth fighting for. Let’s send Roxanne to Washington and make Chuck put up the red light!

—Matthew Horowitz ’10, Colleen Osborne ’13, Emily Roberts ’10, Jordan Levine ’10 and Austin Frerick ’12

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