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By Staff | Apr 22, 2016

Iowa Congressman Steve King is infamous for speaking his mind promoting ideological conservative causes. He has been one up on Donald Trump for saying something outrageous, being criticized by the (liberal) media for it and then seeing his poll numbers increase in his district.

He represents what they call a “safe district” which makes him impervious to a partisan challenge to his seat by Democrats. It also means that his job performance as a constituent representative, listening and responding to the needs of his district can be poor with no electoral consequence.

If you google “least effective Congressman” you will get lists of ineffective Congressman from insidegov and govtrackus.com. Their criteria are simple: How long has a Congressman served, in King’s case a long 14 years, and how much legislation has been enacted as a direct result of his effort.

In both instances, based on those narrow criteria, Iowa Congressman Steve King is rated as the least effective Congressman in Washington today. He is No. 1 as worst performer on their lists. No one has been there longer and accomplished less legislatively in either party.

During his terms King has introduced an average number of bills relative to other Representatives but nothing, nada, has ever become law according to the legislative history. That is not to say that King has not introduced some important legislation that his district constituents sorely needed enacted.

I give you the King Amendment to the last farm bill as an example. It was an important bill prohibiting California or other states from violating Interstate Commerce protection setting state standards that were discriminatory to Iowa products: eggs, poultry and ethanol.

I strongly supported the measure. It was defeated. Why? Frankly, because it was named the “King Amendment.”

Steve King has so alienated other members of Congress, including the leadership of his own party that he has been passed over for committee advancement and anything that has his name on it is dead on arrival having zero chance of enactment.

If the “King Amendment” had been named the “Latham Amendment” I think it may very well have become law.

King has so soiled his nest in Congress creating so much ill will that he can no longer be effective even if he wanted to. Paul Ryan sees the problem of political dysfunction as what Ryan called “identity politics – winning by dividing.”

This is something that King has practiced. His alienation by the Washington process enamors King with a portion of his conservative constituency that is his core base. He is their middle finger stuck up at what they see as the Washington establishment.

However, if you are trying to make it in the real world where business is important and legislative participation is a necessary constructive thing to having your interests represented and promoted, Steve King is not your man.

When Paul Ryan was working hard in Congress attempting to put together a budget, where was Steve King? He wasn’t there; instead he was standing behind Ted Cruz on the podium cheering him on, traveling the campaign trail.

According to the Congressional voting record, Steve King essentially took a paid leave of absence from Congress to serve as the Cruz campaign co-chair.

According to govtrack.us King missed 28.5 percent of Congressional votes from January to March 2016.

He has been busy promoting ideology rather than doing the job that he was elected to do. If a Democrat had missed that many votes, the conservative constituency would be livid.

Most Iowans have a very low opinion of Congress yet we send the least effective Congressman to Washington to represent us in the entire country. Do you suppose that there may be a connection?

I am not a Democrat. I have voted for Steve King before, in fact, when he was first elected he came to me for advice on ag policy, which I gave until he stopped taking it. My primary advice to King was to vote on ag issues like Chuck Grassley. By supporting Ted Cruz, King abandoned his constituent interests on ethanol, trade and legal immigration.

That is why the Cruz vote total from Sioux County, Iowa’s top ag county, in the primary was much lower than for conservatives, Santorum and Huckabee, in previous primaries.

Steve King has been able to neglect his duty and obligation to general constituents because of the strong conservative base to which he is an icon.

He doesn’t have to produce any legislative results … just pretend to have their values.

I am endorsing State Sen. Rick Bertrand in his primary challenge of Steve King. I frankly don’t want a Democrat, but I do want a functioning working congressional representative that will go to Washington and work with House Speaker Paul Ryan to “govern.”

That is what we send representatives to Washington to do and Steve King is using his office for other purposes. That needs to end.

We need a conservative Congressman focused on economic growth that has his constituent’s interest as first priority.

I have met Rick Bertrand and determined that he understands what the job of U.S. Congressman from the 4th Iowa District is.

Steve King has lost his perspective, purpose, and even his ability to function as an effective representative for the district and we need to make a change.

Bertrand for Congress.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.

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