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Kiowa County Signal - Kiowa County, KS
  • Kent Bush: Braley calls foul on opponent's chicken claims in Iowa senate race

  • Iowa senate race offers clear choice
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  • Iowa’s Senate race presents voters with a clear choice.
    Do you want a guy who can get chickens off your property or do you want a gal who has castrated hogs?
    It is really that simple.
    For the record, Americans for Prosperity has thrown its substantial financial investment behind the hog castration candidate.
    E-I-E-I-Oh my.
    Joni Ernst, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa National Guard, made headlines in the primary when she told voters she knew how to cut pork because she had castrated hogs on a farm. Cutting pork from Congress’s spending bills and castrating hogs may not be the exact same thing, but Iowa’s Republican voters were convinced that it was close enough and selected her to be their candidate in November.
    The Democrats chose trial lawyer Bruce Braley who has served in Congress for eight years.
    Braley ran into a little farmyard trouble of his own in the campaign. Braley has a vacation home on Holiday Lake. A neighbor at his weekend and holiday house has some chickens that are used as therapy animals for children she counsels. Chickens apparently are pretty effective at helping creating a bond that helps children open up to a therapist in ways they won’t without chickens.
    When I think of “chicken therapy,” it is usually a basket full of hot wings and a huge Diet Coke as I try to forget my troubles. I have never considered communing with chickens that are still alive. But what do I know? I don’t have a therapy practice on a lakeside getaway in Iowa.
    Those chickens however, were connecting with more than the woman’s patients. They were also making a connection with Braley and his wife that was less therapeutic. Apparently the couple didn’t like the fact that her chickens came home to roost at their home just down the hill.
    In fact, they filed a complaint with the homeowners’ board. I get that. If you don’t really know your neighbor, why have the uncomfortable conversation about appropriate chicken migration when you could just ask someone else to handle it?
    The fact that a chicken problem could escalate to the point where it might affect an election is somewhat remarkable.
    The first chicken-related incident following the complaint to the board came when the hen owner saw Mrs. Braley mowing the lawn and visited her during a break. She offered the Congressman’s wife a dozen fresh eggs. Rather than just expressing gratitude, Mrs. Braley reportedly told the woman, “I can’t take these eggs. I just want you to know that I’ve filed a complaint against you.”
    Page 2 of 2 - At least she was honest and direct.
    But as the board drags its feet in Chickengate – the answer to the question, “Which came first, the chicken fence or Chickengate – Braley decided to do what he could to speed the process.
    As a lawyer, he knows his rights when it comes to chickens roaming around. I guess there is a class on that or something.
    So Braley called one of the board members complaining about their inaction. He then said he wanted to “avoid a litigious situation.”
    Which court has jurisdiction over chicken claims? It would make a great case for Judge Judy. Either way, suing someone over problems with a few chickens scratching around is seen as a “non-Iowan” activity.
    Of course Karl Rove isn’t one to miss a good chicken fight. So his PAC, American Crossroads jumped in the race to support Ernst against the candidate who would sue a woman and her therapy chickens.
    Braley says Ernst is just hoping to use this fine-feathered distraction to take the focus off of her TEA Party extremism.
    Tom Harkin is probably rethinking his retirement. I am sure the voters in Iowa wish they could just vote for none of the above and move on.
    Kent  Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: kbush@butlercountytimesgazette.com

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