Elizabeth Warren has snagged another Iowa endorsement for her progressive message, one that shares some background in the type of prairie populism that Warren is preaching on the Iowa campaign trail.
Today, the Warren campaign announced that former Iowa Congressman Berkley Bedell has thrown his support behind Warren.
“I am 98 years old now, and my heart cries out for my grandchildren over our broken government and the degradation of our planet,” Bedell said in a statement. “Elizabeth has the grit, the determination and the plans to make the changes we need to secure our country and our world for our grandchildren.”
Bedell is from Spirit Lake, Iowa, and represented the sixth district in Congress from 1975 to 1987. While Bedell’s northwest region of Iowa is now the most Republican part of the state (and home to Steve King), the former congressman continually won reelection, representing the rural district during the Farm Crisis of the 1980s. Bedell was well known for his brand of prairie populism that former Senator Tom Harkin shared, advocating for farmers in the House while pushing for stricter regulations on large corporations. He also fought Ronald Reagan’s efforts to shift meat inspector duties from the USDA to the industry itself.
“I’m honored to have Berkley’s support in our campaign for big, structural change and opportunity for all,” Warren said. “Whether speaking out against the Vietnam and Iraq wars, defending family farmers or challenging corporate power, Berkley has always led with principle and represented the best of Iowa.”
Bedell backed Howard Dean in the 2004 caucus, Barack Obama in 2008 and Martin O’Malley in 2016.
Some political observers have seen similarities between Warren’s anti-trust push to break up large agribusiness mergers and the kind of populist politics that Democrats like Bedell once championed, ones that were effective in winning over rural voters. It’s part of a long history of the Midwest prairie populist political movement that politicians like Nebraska’s William Jennings Bryan rose to national prominence with for advocating for common people like farmers over elite business owners.
Warren has also been previously endorsed by Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan.
“I’m thankful for the many great Democratic candidates running for president, but one rises above the rest for her passion and her fighting spirit. I’m endorsing Elizabeth Warren for president, and I invite you to join me,” Bedell said.
by Nikole Hytrek
Photo by Julie Fleming