Fighting Climate Change in Steve King Country?

Climate Change – How the 4th District of Iowa Can Be Leaders by Carbon Farming

Growing up in the 80s, I was taught to dream big. I love it when the U.S. is innovative and a respected leader. That’s why last week during the international climate talks in Bonn, Germany, I was disappointed when the official American delegates were relatively non-existent and non-influential. This is a stark contrast to climate summits when President Obama was in office and exemplifies America’s division on climate talks. Governor Jerry Brown of California commented on the division when he said, “There’s a debate in the United States between the denialists who pooh-pooh any thought about climate change and the catastrophic dangers it portends, and those who agree with the scientific academies of every country in the world that we’re facing an existential threat and we have to do something about it.”

Earlier this month, 13 federal agencies unveiled an exhaustive scientific report saying:

…humans are the dominant cause of the global temperature rise that has created the warmest period in the history of civilization.

Over the past 115 years global average temperatures have increased 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to record-breaking weather events and temperature extremes. The global, long-term warming trend is “unambiguous,” and there is “no convincing alternative explanation” that anything other than humans — the cars we drive, the power plants we operate, the forests we destroy — are to blame.

The time to address this issue is NOW. The time to create policy is NOW. For those who do not believe in climate change, the question of “Why you don’t believe?” is irrelevant. The question now is “What part of climate change don’t you understand?”

My own representative in the U.S. House (and my opponent), Steve King, has said of global warming, “It’s not proven, it’s not science. It’s more of a religion than a science.” This kind of ignorant denial is harmful not only to the people of this district, but for future generations of people all over the planet. It is imperative that we take immediate action to combat climate change.

The burning of fossil fuels is creating more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere can handle. This is scary stuff. I wish this was an issue we could deal with in 20 years, but it’s not. This issue took on an increased importance for me when I read that the Defense Department classified climate change as America’s top threat. Then, this summer I saw the wildfires of Western U.S.; I saw the hurricane destructions of Houston, Key West, and Puerto Rico.

How has Iowa’s climate been negatively affected by these changes? Here’s how:

  1. More frequent and more intense rains
  2. More intense and more frequent droughts between the rainfalls
  3. More humidity (increase in molds and fungi)

In the last century, we’ve lost half of our topsoil. Our roads and bridges were built to withstand the 100-year flood but that 100-year flood is now turning into the 25-year flood. This is a food security issue and an infrastructure issue. My campaign is a fight to ensure that our farmlands are economically and environmentally thriving because that’s what I want when I pass our family’s farm down to the next generation after me.

What can we do? One of the reasons I love Iowa so much is that we are proud people and we like to be leaders. When I was growing up in the  Sioux City school system, we were “First in the Nation in Education.” Now, we lead in eggs, pork, corn, biodiesel, ethanol and wind energy. My 4th Congressional District is the most rural district in arguably the best agriculture state in the nation. If there’s too much carbon dioxide in the air, the obvious answer is to take some out. That’s why my vision is to have IA04 become a leader in CARBON FARMING.

There are a number of things we need to do to combat climate change. Carbon farming is one that hasn’t been talked about enough, and Iowa is uniquely positioned to lead the way. This takes excess carbon out of the air and puts it into our soil. In each acre of land, there’s about an elephant-sized amount of organisms that use this carbon. This benefits and strengthens the soil by creating organic matter. Carbon farming is a win-win.

Here’s an example of how it benefits. I talked to a couple that carbon farm. Last summer, one of their fields was pounded by an 7 inch rain. (We used to see a 7-10 inch rain about once every 3 years, while this past summer we saw 3 of those.)Because of these farmers’ participation in carbon farming, their soil was strong enough to withstand this rain. Their neighbors’ farm lost a third of its yield and what used to be an ideal flat field has several major dips on it because that storm caused major erosion.

How do we implement this?

It starts with a strong but flexible conservation title within the farm billThe goal is for the Federal and State governments to work together. When I was a kid, I remember my grandpa taking me out to the part of his land that was part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Back then the idea of the program was to put whole fields into the program. Now we know if you put a field that was part of CRP for 10 years back into rotation, you can lose the 10 years of organic matter in as fast as 9 months.

That’s why I believe in target conservation. Every farm is different. Every acre of every farm is different. We have the technology now to identify the areas that would benefit the soil, benefit the climate, and maximize the yield by implementing target conservation. Increasing the use of prairie strips is one notable example of an instrumental way to help deal with Iowa’s current water crisis.

There’s no going around it. The burning of fossil fuels is changing our environment. It’s affecting Iowa and changing the way we need to look at farming. Food security is dependent on soil security. We aren’t inheriting the land from our parents, we’re borrowing it from our children.

Standing Tall for All by Standing Tall for Climate,

J.D. Scholten

A big “THANK YOU” to Liz Garst, Darwin Pierce, David Thoreson, and the other academic experts that helped contribute to the research and understanding of this important issue.

ENOUGH! Standing Tall Against Sexual Harassment

Perhaps the tipping point was when we elected a President who was famously taped saying it’s okay to “grab them by the pussy.”

Perhaps the tipping point was when victims of sexual harassment showed tremendous courage and stood up, using the power of social media to let others know they weren’t alone by sharing their own stories with #MeToo.

Over the last several weeks. we’ve seen an overwhelming and alarming number of high-profile men who have been accused of sexual harassment.

I am deeply troubled by all of the celebrities and people of power whose victims are coming out more and more each day. In situations like these, we traditionally look to leaders to lead. More than that, we rely on them to be leaders in correcting the problems in our society. Yet, even in the Halls of Congress, there have been complaints of sexual harassment.

Last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan heard from many members with real concerns about the House’s policies on sexual harassment, some even coming forward with their own personal stories of #MeToo. To Speaker Ryan’s credit, in response he (and others from both parties) proposed mandatory preventative sexual harassment training for members of congress. Who could possibly be against that?

Steve King, that’s who. His response to a tweet urging preventative sexual harassment training for members of Congress:

Steve King@SteveKingIA

A simple call for continued mutual respect and common courtesy is all this situation calls for.

And just in case that isn’t enough, this week Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused of sexually abusing a 14 year old child. And Steve King? He completely disregards the possible victim in the situation by citing a Breitbart article framing this as being all about a candidate’s allegiance to the President.

Steve King@SteveKingIA

Judge Roy Moore told to withdraw by Senators who won’t or can’t help move Trump agenda. 

Now, I am fully aware that these are just allegations and that Moore has not been convicted of anything. However, these accusations are about sexually abusing a child—a 14 year-old child! And yet, Steve King takes this opportunity to make this an issue about Republicans and their internal struggles when the real issue should be finding out if these allegations are true and if this person has the moral character necessary to hold office.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what job you hold, or what political party you belong to. This is not a partisan issue. Sexual harassment and abuse of power is morally wrong!

I was fortunate enough to be raised by a mother who has been an advocate for women’s rights and equality since the ‘60’s. I was raised to treat women, to treat all people, with respect. I am absolutely sick of our politicians and people in power degrading women and people they hold power over. I am absolutely repulsed by King, my own Representative (and my opponent), putting party politics and his personal agenda above morality and decency.

In times of crisis, I have followed what my inspiration, my Grandma Fern, would always tell me, “Just trust your faith.” Just this past Sunday I attended mass with my dad and the Priest’s sermon was about the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The beauty of this rule is that you don’t have to be Catholic or religious to follow it. It’s basic civility.

People like Steve King, who are so out-of-touch that they refuse to even recognize the seriousness of this problem only serve to enable the abusers. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised when the person who was one of the first to defend Todd Akin’s “illegitimate rape” comments comes out against sexual harassment training or defends an accused child abuser before the facts are in. But that doesn’t mean we have to stand for it either.

It’s time we all stand together and take the power away from those who continue to abuse it. I’m here to join the millions of Americans who are disgusted by this behavior and are standing up to say ENOUGH!

Standing Tall for All,

J.D. Scholten

I’m with Tulsi—you don’t get to choose your team!

ou don’t get to choose your team. That’s an important lesson I learned while playing professional baseball in a career that brought me to seven different countries and included hundreds of different teammates. In the last week, two things have reminded me of this lesson.

One of those things was an article published by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard whom I recently had the great pleasure of meeting. I highly recommend reading it for yourself (you can find a link HERE). Much of what she talks about really hits home for my district which is currently represented by Republican Steve King, perhaps the most divisive member in all of Congress. Rep. Gabbard points out that in today’s troubling political climate:

It is more important than ever to… love and treat all others with respect, to be inclusive rather than exclusive. The divisiveness that threatens the fabric of our nation — whether due to race, religion, political ideology, gender, sexual orientation, or other — must end.   ~Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

I stand with Tulsi in calling for an end to politics of division and in promoting a nation of inclusiveness.

I was also reminded of the importance of unity over division when I attended an important event last week, and I wanted to explain why I chose to be a part of it.

I attended Dr. Stephen Kirby’s event at the Sioux Center Library to protest the discrimination of the Muslim faith. As a Christian, I follow the Golden Rule of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” And when Ronald Reagan described his “Shining city upon a hill” in his Farewell Address, with “the doors open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here,” he’s speaking of  an inclusive, coexisting society.

I have read excerpts of Dr. Kirby’s work. I know that he is a former member of the LAPD who has his PhD in International Affairs with an emphasis in Soviet Foreign Policy. I question his authority about writing on Islam because he’s not a scholar in theology and his doctorate is from a different field. His books are merely divisive opinion pieces.

I firmly disagree with his message. For example, if you use some of the same logic that he uses about Muslims, then somehow I would be linked to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) because of my Catholicism.

I acknowledge that he has the freedom of speech. I also have the freedom of speech. And Muslims have the freedom of religion.

I was there because I believe in an inclusive, coexisting society. I was there to stand up for the 3.3 million Muslims in America which include two members of Congress, 900 police officers in New York City, and the 5,900 active members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

I was there because one of the most amazing people that I have met in my life and am honored to call a great friend is Muslim. After graduating from Penn State University she joined the Peace Corp and served in Morocco. She later earned her Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and is currently working on her PhD while being a mother to an adorable little boy. The overwhelming majority of American Muslims are productive and valuable members of this country just like she is.

When I played professional baseball, I didn’t get to choose my teammates. It didn’t matter if my third baseman was from New Jersey, the Dominican Republic, Texas or wherever. In baseball, it wasn’t important that we were often a team of different religions, different ethnicities, or different political beliefs. We worked together for a unified common goal. That’s my mentality as a candidate for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. And that’s why I stand with Tulsi Gabbard in calling for America to come together and to leave the rhetoric that divides us behind.

Standing Tall for All,

J.D. Scholten

P.S. Say you stand with me in supporting unity over division by supporting our movement to unseat Steve King!