U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) spent an hour talking to area farmers and business people at the Perry Public Library Friday afternoon as he passed through on his Dignity of Work listening tour.
The Ohio Democrat told a funny story to open the discussion and recalled working on a dairy farm in his youth, but overall he did a lot more listening than talking in Perry.
Adel small business owner and Dallas County Democratic Party Chairperson Bryce Smith introduced Brown and set the tone for the talk.
Sharing the round table with Brown were Boone County farmers Vern Johnson and Keith Puntenney, Greene County farmer and former Iowa House of Representatives member Eugene Blanshan and Jasper County farmer and former Associate Administrator of the Risk Management Agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tim Gannon.
Also chatting with Brown were two recent Perry-area Democrats who were unsuccessful in their bids for seats in the Iowa House of Representatives in the 2018 general election, Boone and Greene county farmer David Weaver and Stuart County farmer Warren Varley.
Weaver’s parents, Gary and Mary Weaver of rural Rippey, rounded out the talking circle.
The discussion among the dignified workers ranged from the ethanol market and the effect of Trump’s tariffs on commodity prices to health care and college debt. The talk grew animated once the subject touched rural revitalization.
Brown started his political career in 1975 as an Ohio State Representative, served as the Ohio Secretary of State from 1983 to 1991 and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1993. In 2006 he succeeded Mike DeWine in the U.S. Senate from Ohio.
Brown has not announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for U.S.president in 2020, but he has been quoted as “seriously” considering a presidential run.
The members of the national, state and local media attending the afternoon meeting far exceeded the number of local citizens, but ThePerryNews.com caught up with one local Democrat, Joyce Conklin VanKirk, and asked her what she thought of Sen. Brown’s event.
“Hungry as I am, I’ve only taken one bite of the apple today,” VanKirk said. “By 2020, I hope to sample each variety. I’m looking for an inspirational Obama variety.”