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Ames Tribune: Northwest Iowans have been taken for granted

For years, Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives have coasted to electoral wins in the Fourth District without effort — little campaigning or defense of their legislative records. They refused to debate opponents, knowing that a natural lead in voter registrations would carry them into office.

What did Fourth District residents get for their party loyalty? Not much. Instead, the knowledge they had a so-called “safe seat” let folks like Steve King pursue their own, often outlandish, agendas. Instead of working to bring benefits and business to the rural counties he represented, King sought TV time and national fame by railing against immigrants and conducting private wars on Democrats.

Randy Feenstra promises little change. He, too, has refused to debate his opponent, J.D. Scholten, and is taking it easy, trying to avoid controversy. Feenstra thinks it’s in the bag, and that what he does or says makes little difference — just like King.

Not so with Scholten, who has worn out the tires on his RV, visiting every town in the district and listening to voters — even the many who undoubtedly disagree with him, not necessarily because he’s wrong but because he’s in a different party. Say what you will, but Scholten isn’t lazy and he takes nothing for granted. He genuinely cares for the district, its citizens and its small towns. You may not always like his positions, but you’ll know they’re what he believes is best for his constituents, not just blind adherence to party diktat.

Stop the cycle of neglect. Elect someone truly beholden to the Fourth District. Vote for J.D. Scholten.

— Thomas R. O’Donnell, Ames