Iowa Congressman Steve King in many ways has become the face of rural American politics. He often attracts the national spotlight through his racist anti-immigrant rhetoric and rants against a multicultural America.
King made national news again recently, this time for saying that “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” But ironically for King, Latino immigrants are the single biggest hope for rebuilding rural America — specifically his rural America. Populations in 31 of the 39 counties King represents have declined between 2010 and 2015.
And the eight communities that have staved off the decline have Latino immigrants to thank. That’s why most folks, even in King’s America, welcome the new Americans revitalizing their rural communities with open arms (often at a potluck). And that’s why King is an outlier on immigration — even in his own district.
On today’s episode, we speak with Douglas Burns, a fourth-generation Iowa journalist and co-owner a number of influential local papers across King’s district including the Carroll Daily Times Herald in Carroll, Iowa. We discuss how King’s Constituents have largely embraced the changing demographics in their district and how progressives can win again in small towns like Carroll.
About the Guest
Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa journalist. In 1996, he returned to Carroll, Iowa to write for his family's newspaper, the Carroll Daily Times Herald -- which he now co-owns -- after studying at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and writing for papers in Florida and Northern Virginia. He also served as the press secretary for U.S. Rep. Pat Danner of Missouri. In addition to his twice-weekly columns at the Carroll Daily Times Herald, his work also has appeared on Salon.com, at the Center For Rural Strategies' Daily Yonder, and he is a frequent guest on Iowa Public Radio.