Letter Writer Schools Rep. Rod Blum on How Civil Society Works

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If there is a silver lining to today’s brutal political landscape, it’s that people across the country are awakening and beginning to civically engage with politicians who are trying to send them up the river.


In town halls and newspaper letters to the editor sections, voters are holding their elected officials accountable for trying to take away their health care or send premiums skyrocketing in the name of tax breaks for the wealthy.

One of the latest Republican congressmen to be exposed is Rod Blum, from the 1st District in Iowa. Blum is a special kind of Tea party cynic, who explains his support of the Republicans’ American Health Care Act by stating that it’s not actually a repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, but rather a “tweak” of it.

On Monday, Blum walked out of an interview with local TV news station KCRG after a reporter asked why the congressman was requiring IDs for entry into a town hall in Dubuque, IA scheduled for later that evening. The congressman, who insisted the interview be conducted with a dozen African American children used as political props, left after being asked if he would accept political donations from outside his district yet block voting Iowans from the town hall.

Later, at a packed Dubuque Senior High School, those who passed the screening confronted Blum again on several issues, particularly health care. In one exchange, the congressman asked, “Why should a 62-year-old man have to pay for maternity care?”

One would think that a sitting congressman would not need a civics lecture on how democracy works. But since Blum apparently does, voter Barbara Rank, from Hidden Oaks Court, was there to provide it. In a letter to the Telegraph Herald (link behind a pay wall), Rank responded, “Why should I pay the salaries of politicians I didn’t vote for, a tax cut that doesn’t affect me, or a loophole I can’t take advantage of?”

Her response was eloquent and a sad reminder that we are even discussing these issues on Mother’s Day. And also that the wrong people are holding elected office.


Here’s her full letter:

Weekend Editor, Splinter