Offer youth another perspective of success

Offer youth another perspective of success

Gazette Column
Back roads have always been my friends, offering equal helpings of calm and clarity via a car window. I turn on two-lane highways and gravel roads in the same way an alcoholic turns to a bottle, unable or unwilling to resist the siren call of a few moments of peace and possibility. The answers I seek may lie just around the next corner or just over the rise and, even if they don’t, I’ll still have a few moments before more unanswered questions arrive. During one such binge a few weeks ago, as I passed through Maquoketa, my breath caught on rolling hills of farmland bathed in amber evening light. Unable to continue, I pulled to the shoulder to contemplate the Grant Wood reproduction etched by the setting sun. Honestly,…
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A ‘rock star’ caucus won’t serve rural America

A ‘rock star’ caucus won’t serve rural America

Gazette Column
If rumors are believed, this is the day Iowa Democrats have either been wanting or dreading: Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her entry into the 2016 presidential contest. The past few weeks have seen the official entry of Republicans Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, also to mixed emotions from the GOP faithful. Unfortunately, my concerns following the 2008 and 2012 contests are growing. I’m not convinced the new normal of Iowa caucus life as a string of mega-events, requiring tickets for entry and little time for truly critical audience participation allow for an adequate airing or thoughtful discussion on the complex issues surrounding rural communities. Campaign stops and events surged to unprecedented proportions in the 2008 contests. During his first trip into Iowa following a 2007 announcement, for instance,…
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