Calling out Jeff Renander

Letter to the Editor · Wednesday, October 13, 2010
A call to my GOP friends:

It’s true, I have good friends and family in the GOP, and this letter is mainly for their consumption. While looking over our local ballot for the November election, I was startled to see a name from the past. Jeff Renander is the Republican candidate for the position of county attorney. For those of you who went to the University of Iowa in the late 80s and early 90s, this name might also ring a bell. He was the editor-in-chief of the Campus Review during that era.

For those of you who are not familiar with that paper, it was a conservative publication that spent a large portion of its energy pushing right-wing ideology and bashing gays and lesbians. But this wasn’t your run of the mill hate rag; this magazine went out of its way to instigate gay bashing through cartoons, posters and endless diatribe. To give you an idea on how vile this stuff really was, I decided to go to the university archives to dig up some examples.

The most widely publicized of these examples was published in July of 1990 (Vol. 6, No. 5). This issue contained a large depiction of Bart Simpson aiming a slingshot at the viewer and uttering the words ‘Back off f-----” (derogatory name for homosexuals). Underneath the depiction were the lines, “AIDS Activist,” and “Another Lost Opportunity.” One doesn’t have to be a genius to understand this message.

A year later in the July 1991 issue (Vol. 7, No. 5), the paper published “Top ten reasons I.C. gays/lesbians have a yearly parade.” The number one reason on this list was, “It gives area drivers something to aim for.” Again, the message is pretty clear.”

So what I’d like to ask of my Republican friends and family members is this: Do we really want to elect a county attorney who for years was in charge of a paper that spewed such vulgarity? Is this the type of person we want our children to look up to and respect? More importantly, is this the type of person we want representing Cedar County in the court room? If Jeff Renander was on the ticket as a Democrat, I’d be urging my friends to vote for the Republican candidate, but it just so happens that he’s the Republican nominee. This issue is too important to divide us by party. Please join me on Nov. 2 in rejecting Mr. Renander and this type of hatred.


David Johnson

West Branch
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