So who’s the first target of the newly minted Iowa Senate Republican leadership team? Who is the first entrenched interest group to feel the steely wrath of its march back to the majority?
Why, it’s edgy teenagers.
From the desk of Minority Whip Steve Kettering, R-Lake View:
Minority Whip Questions State Funded Ads
JEL ads have negative effect on Iowa towns
DES MOINES – Today Senate Minority Whip Steve Kettering (R-Lake View) sent a letter to the Iowa Public Health Department Director, Thomas Newton requesting a response to a series of billboard advertisements paid for by the Just Eliminate Lies campaign. Below is the letter.
Wednesday November 19, 2008
Dear Director Newton,
I was dismayed upon learning that an organization, your Department supports financially, recently put up billboards near my hometown of Lake View. The billboards, paid for by JEL, are potentially hurtful to my community and the citizens that I represent.
As you may know, Lake View is a small community that relies on a strong tourist economy to prime our economic pump. While JEL is attempting to push a message through the use of shock value that tobacco kills, I am concerned the only shock that will come of this is a decrease in our tourist economy.
We can all agree that keeping kids from smoking is a positive action, I do however, question the means in which JEL is pushing this message. By advertising in an irresponsible manner this organization and the Department of Public Health could be hurting more citizens of Iowa than it helps.
I am urging you to contact the leaders of JEL and request that they remove this advertisement and apologize to the community of Lake View. This type of shock advertising has no place in Iowa and I am further disappointed that taxpayer money was potentially utilized for this project.
Please feel free to contact me regarding this request.
JEL stands for Just Eliminate Lies and is essentially a group of teenage anti-tobacco crusaders whose efforts are bankrolled by the state Department of Public Health. The group’s latest ad campaign tries to “shock” us by pointing out that tobacco-related death rates are roughly equivalent to wiping out whole small towns. It’s caused a minor stir and generated publicity, which, of course, would be in the dictionary definition of `advertising.’
I’m sure the crazy, newfangled notion that tobacco kills people has prompted many would-be tourists to make an abrupt, screeching U-turn and hightail it right out of Lake View. Everything would have been fine if it wasn’t for those meddling kids, and their dog, Scooby Doo.
Last year, Republicans complained about health department ads that pushed for the controversial indoor smoking ban. Imagine, health officials against smoking! The ads probably got more attention and airplay because of the GOP complaints.
So JEL ads are generating buzz and the smoking ban that the health department pushed for in ads last year passed. Huh. Maybe, instead of attacking it, Republicans should hire IDPH to produce the party’s campaign ads in 2010. Just a thought.