Earlier this month, I attended a campaign event hosted by Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump wants to cut red tape? He should start with the CFPB. Why President Trump should choose Maureen Ohlhausen to lead the FTC Trump to speak at CPAC MORE (R-Texas) in Cherokee, Iowa and had the opportunity to ask him a question about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – a policy that is extremely important to Iowans.
The RFS was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2005 and required that each year, an increasing amount of domestic biofuels be blended into our fuel supply. Iowa, being the largest producer of corn, ethanol and biodiesel, has greatly benefitted from this common-sense energy policy that has succeeded in reducing our reliance on foreign oil, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering prices at the pump.
That’s why I wanted to ask him in person, where exactly does he stand on this critical issue? I asked him if he was planning to carry the policy out until its expiration in 2022 or if he would jerk the rug right out from underneath farmers and industry by rolling it back sooner.
Cruz looked me in the eye and expressed support for the RFS through 2022. He also discussed his plan to level the playing field by ending oil and gas subsidies and his desire to pass policies that break though the “blendwall,” or, the amount of ethanol legally allowed to be blended into automobile fuel. I was satisfied with his response and encouraged that he had listened to the concerns voiced by many Iowa voters.
However, in retrospect, Cruz’s answer seems to have been nothing more than the type of phony, disingenuous rhetoric that many have come to expect from pandering Washington politicians.
After Cruz’s response to my question began to receive significant media attention, opponents of ethanol and domestic biofuels – many of them backed by oil and gas interests based in the senator’s home state of Texas – began to attack him. Instead of standing by his statements to me, he reversed course by attacking the RFS and candidates who support it, and pledging to New Hampshire voters that he would “stand up” to the ethanol industry. He has insulted Iowa voters by dishonestly claiming that the RFS is a policy pushed by Washington lobbyists instead of the thousands of voters across the country who strongly support it.
Regardless of where you stand on this issue, it should concern you that Cruz will tell voters in Iowa one thing, and then days later completely change his tune. Cruz would likely say that his answers to my questions don’t represent a change in his original position on the RFS, and they might not, but they sure sounded like slick political talk in order to win over Iowa voters and sidestep the issue at hand. His attempt to pay lip service to the ethanol industry while campaigning in Iowa, and then blasting it at events in New Hampshire, shows that he is willing to do and say anything to advance his political interests. Maybe that’s the way things work in Washington, but that certainly isn’t how we do things here in the Hawkeye State. Ted Cruz has proven that he cannot be trusted to stand by his word, and clearly can’t be trusted by voters.
French is an Iowa farmer.