Eddie Mauro
"Senator Joni Ernst sold out the U.S. to special interests and Big Industry"
U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Eddie Mauro seeks to unseat Joni Ernst come November 3. He talked to LPO about his priorities and the urgency for new leadership in the U.S. and the world.

On June 2, Iowa Democrats will go to the polls to choose the candidate who will face Republican Senator Joni Ernst in the November election. Five candidates are seeking the Democratic Party's nomination. LPO met with Eddie Mauro, a businessman, and activist who has been involved in the fight for human rights in Iowa and much of the world for the past 30 years.

Why are you running for the United States Senate?

We're running for a number of reasons. First, I think Americans are looking for a leader to address the problems that are facing this country, someone with the urgency and courage that we need at this moment of History. Not just Americans, but I think people in Mexico and around the world are looking for some leadership, real leadership today.

What's your opinion on the work of Senator Joni Ernst?

Honestly, I don't think a lot of it. I wouldn't be trying to run to replace her. I think she's sold out this country to special interests and Big Industry. She's not out there fighting for hardworking Iowans, hardworking Americans. Not really building a very good, cohesive, world order that would be good for all of us today, to have some stability. She´s been part of a divisive destructive team of people that are bent on creating fear, anxiety, and division, rather than bringing people together around a common cause.

"Trump is seriously dangerous; I hope 2016 taught people a lesson"

In which ways would you say she has betrayed the country?

You know, about every policy position. She follows Donald Trump too closely. So, here in Iowa, I think she sold out farmers when it comes to Renewable Fuel Standards. I think she's sold out this country and this world when it comes to climate and the environment, making it easier for polluters to pollute our air, our water. Putting the future for our kids and grandkids in Peril. She sold out this country when it comes to our immigration policy. Stoking fear and anxiety instead of creating a lawful, cohesive manner that we can get people moving in and out of this country in a reasonable way.

Speaking of immigration, what would be an ideal comprehensive immigration reform for you?

It's very complex and it deals with a lot of phases. First, we got to go invest in some of these countries where people are coming from. We have to figure out why are people leaving their homes to put themselves in harm's way to walk thousands of miles to try to get to a better life. At one time, in earlier immigrant times, it was hard for us to do much about that. We didn't have the strength to do that. But today we do. So, we could go to the triangle today, to Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador, try to help root out corruption, try to invest in those communities so that people want to stay there. Invest in those schools, and invest in infrastructure, in in the climate environment. That would be helpful. And then for those people who are leaving that are coming on our borders, to make sure we have a secure border. Everybody wants a secure border. It needs to be lawful, but it also needs to be effective and efficient. People shouldn't be waiting for 6-12 months for a hearing to enter this country.

We want to have sensible gun legislation and gun rules to reduce gun violence both in the United States and in Mexico, and Central America. I think that the free-flowing of weapons out of this country into Mexico has caused all kinds of gang and drug activity that we need to get out in front of.

President López Obrador of Mexico has been trying to push for a Marshall Plan to, in cooperation with the U.S., develop Central America. Do you think that's a good idea?

Absolutely. I think we need the cooperation of all the other stronger countries in Central and South America and to rally around each other. Go back and look at what we all did to help Colombia once upon a time. Colombia was a place where nobody wanted to go to full of corruption, full of drug activity, and the one Columbia plan that the United States helped lead and other countries in Central and South America were part of, has now made that a destination for people. People are now fleeing other countries to go to Columbia. We need to look at what we did well there, and where we still short at, and then try to duplicate that in other countries in Central and South America to make this hemisphere more stable for everybody.

There's been a lot of talk in Mexico regarding gun control in the U.S. since American guns are flowing into the country and into the hands of the drug cartels. Do you have a position on gun control?

I think we should all be concerned about it in this country. The Second Amendments is a big deal here, and we'd want to respect the Second Amendment of the United States, but we also want to have sensible gun legislation and gun rules to reduce gun violence both the United States and in Mexico, and Central America and other parts of this Hemisphere. I think that the free-flowing of weapons out of this country into Mexico, Central America, and South America has caused all kinds of gang and drug activity that we need to get out in front of. We need some real leaders today that want to go and address that in a meaningful way.

And what would that look like for you? The ideal gun policy?

We got to get background checks. Every gun that is sold needs to go through a background check. I'm a big fan of licensing. I own a gun. My gun should be licensed. I think we need to take a look at how many guns somebody can buy at one time. I'm interested in domestic violence and suicide in our country and other countries around the world. We need to have a longer waiting period so if somebody is going to do something, they can come to their senses before they harm themselves or somebody else through suicide or domestic violence. In areas where those kinds of rules have been put in place, we've seen a reduction in gun violence. We can reduce gun violence. We need to do that and still respect lawful gun owners, their right to go hunting and do gaming and things like that.

Senator Sanders has been very critical of the USMCA. What are your thoughts on the trade deal?

I think the USMCA was helpful on the American side for agriculture. I think there were some improvements made to it over NAFTA when it comes to manufacturing, especially in the auto industry, and I think there were some improvements that were made to it when it comes to environmental practices as well. So, there's been some improvements made to it. I know Mr. Trump might want to take all the credit for that but that happened because Democrats pushed back. It wasn't going anywhere until Democrats demanded some changes. So, it's been improved. I still worry about where disputes are going to be handled, especially by big corporations and Wall Street. Those disputes are not going to be handled in the United States, but outside of the jurisdiction, which will allow for corporations to skirt maybe and work around the agreements. There are some holes in it, still not perfect. I don't think the answer is to scrap them completely. And this current administration has done that with too many things. The TPP, or NAFTA, or the Paris Climate Accord, or the nuclear deal with Iran. If we think they're short, let's go keep negotiating and figure out how we can continue to build a better economic world for North America. Or a safer world between the United States and Iran.

We have inequality in economics, in education, in voting rights, in housing. We have a huge inequality issue and my friends on the other side of the aisle have purposely created that inequality and they look to perpetuate that through the policies that they espouse.

What will your priorities be once you reach the Senate?

I got my hands on lots of things. I run offices around the country. I've got a project in Africa today, we install water systems. I do all kinds of community involvement things. I want to go to the United States Senate and do a lot of things. We need a sense of urgency and leadership, and courage to tackle a lot of these issues. We must talk about our climate and environment, that's paramount to all of us. We must talk about meaningful economic security for all Americans, from the bottom up. We got this trickle-down initiative and it's not working very well. The president and Joni Ernst are going to tout how great the unemployment number is, the fact of the matter is there might be a lot of people working but they're still struggling. Over a third of our state still lives in poverty today.

Do you believe there is an inequality problem in the U.S.?

Absolutely. Inequality in economics, in education, in voting rights, in housing. We have a huge inequality issue and my friends on the other side of the aisle have purposely created that inequality and they look to perpetuate that through the policies that they espouse.

"We can win Texas, by 2020 we will have 400 thousand more Latino voters than in 2018"

What are your thoughts on the wall Mr. Trump wants to build between Mexico and the U.S.?

Yeah take that as scrap and recycle that for something else. It's not useful. I think both countries would want to have a secure border. There are mechanisms we can have at our various ports of entry to manage better. We shouldn't need a wall if we did a better job of helping all our countries that are impacted by economic security and to make people not want to come to the county illegally. And then if we had a better policy where people who do want to knock on our door, they don't have to sit there and wait for someone to open the door for a year, two years, or seven years. We can expeditiously move people in and out of this country easier than that. We don't need a 2,000-mile wall that can't be built and that's going to encroach either on Mexican sovereignty or on private citizens of the United States. It's just not very plausible. It's a great selling tool. It's worked really well for this president and he's gonna sell the hell out of it again. Some people are going to buy it because of the fear, but he's a conman and it's a con job. I don't care how high you build that wall. If I want to go build a better life for my kids there's no wall tall enough or deep enough or wide enough to stop determined loving mothers and fathers.

Speaking about the messaging, what do you think would be the most effective message for the Democratic nominee to beat Trump?

It's a lot of things. Mainly, fear doesn't win. We can't let fear beat us. And that's where a lot of people voted for this guy in 2016. He's still doing it today. He was just in this state pretty much telling farmers that they are screwed if a Democrat gets elected president. We've had lots of democrat presidents and we've had farmers do very very well during those eras. We have to talk about where we stand, how we can work with people, how we can bring people together, how we can bring our urban communities and rural communities again. Folks on the other side have done a great job at dividing us. The fact of the matter is if a rural farmer is out there struggling to put food on his table because you can't make enough money growing food, he has the same common problems that a person living in inner City Des Moines is having trying to buy that food, but we've allowed this president and Republicans to divide everybody, to think there's something to keep them separate from each other. And that's been effective, we need real leadership. That's one of the things if think I can do really well in the state. And in this country.

I understand that there are currently five Senate candidates on the Democratic side. Why do you think there are so many people interested in this race this year? Has there been a political awakening in the U.S.?

People get into this for many reasons. What you'll find about me is I've been involved in community service organizing and activism for almost 30 years. Some people decide to run for office to become an advocate. I've been an advocate in the fight for justice and now decided I want to get inside the room where some of these decisions are being made and that separates me from the other four candidates. They're good people. Well-intentioned people. Some of them were woken up in 2016. I've been walking this walk for a long time. I'm not just talking about fighting for immigrant rights, fighting for women's rights, fighting for workers' rights and farmers' rights or healthcare. I've been part of that for a very long time.

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