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Kevin Kinney’s Summer Barbecue

Inside State Senator Kevin Kinney’s barn in rural Johnson County. Photo Credit – Dominic Patafie.

The weather was perfect for a barbecue.

The first large political gathering in our new state senate district took place on Saturday, Aug. 27, in rural Oxford. Kevin Kinney is a full-time farmer seeking re-election to the senate after an incumbent Republican and he were mapped into the same new district by the state legislature. Kinney is running a strong campaign.

I volunteered to help with the event, arriving two hours before the starting time. The Kinney family had already done most of the set up, so I was able to take a walk around the farm and talk to the senator. The farm runs a cow-calf operation with 40 brood cows. We discussed the configuration of his corn and bean planter. I also asked some questions about the corn crop using this photo on my mobile device. Corn is drying out.

Field corn.

State Auditor Rob Sand was the featured guest. When he wasn’t speaking to the group, he socialized, took selfies with attendees, and distributed bumper stickers that said, “Bowhunter. State Auditor. Rob Sand Finds Bucks.” Lieutenant Governor candidate Eric Van Lancker was added to the speaker lineup. In addition to giving a short speech, he spent most of the event socializing with attendees. Both Sand and Van Lancker were present for the duration of the event.

My assigned duties were at the registration table where I greeted almost everyone who attended. Getting to know people is one of the reasons I attend political events, so it was a perfect assignment. A number of Johnson County Democrats I’ve known for decades came out. No one did a head count, yet I estimate 150 or so attendees.

Overflow parking with cattle at the Senator Kinney Summer Barbecue Bash, Aug. 27, 2022.

By all accounts, the food was good. Being mostly vegetarian, I skipped the meal except for a couple of slices of watermelon and a cookie. There was plenty to eat. After the speeches and meal were finished, people lingered while drinking beverages from large coolers and talking in groups. It was the kind of event that is becoming increasingly rare in Iowa Democratic politics. As I mentioned to people when they signed in, it was a great day for it.

If re-elected, Kevin Kinney would be the only Democratic, full-time farmer in the Iowa Senate.

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