CEDAR RAPIDS | Potentional gubernatorial candidate Bob Krause is emerging as the GMO-labeling candidate for governor.
"GMO food is a big part of our state economy, where we had $12.5 billion in net farm income last year,” Krause said about genetically modified organisms in food in a news release Sunday from the truth in Labeling Coalition. "GMO labeling is an emerging issue for agriculture. We as a large food state need to set the example."
Krause, who works for a Des Moines defense contractor and a longtime Democratic activist, is planning to run for the party’s 2014 nomination. His concern about genetically modified organism food will be among his priorities for building a world-class Iowa.
However, Krause said Monday that he's not quite ready to declare his candidacy. He's still exploring the race.
"I have a few things to work out" before joining two already announced candidates for the democratic nomination: Sen. Jack Hatch of Des Moines and Rep. Tyler Olson of Cedar Rapids.
When he announces, said Krause, who is retired from the military and Iowa Department of Transportation, passing a state law requiring GMO labeling will be a part of his "World Class Iowa in 10 years" strategy.
"As an agricultural state, need to get ahead of the ball on GMO labeling," he said. "There are lots of questions on GMOs and it's time that a state with a heavy agricultural interest looks at this seriously."
People are suspicious of GMOs in their food, Krause said, "and the more we hide behind the fact that we don’t need GMO labeling the more the questions come up."
His wife, Maryann, died of breast cancer and after reading a French study on GMOs Krause is convinced that a gene in Bt corn "escalates the incidence" of breast cancer.
He sees GMO labeling as an "emerging issue," especially among Democrats.
"It resonates,” said Krause, who was at a Benton County Democratic event Sunday night. "There are suspicions about GMOs and their role in food production and their role in our health."
More broadly, Krause is developing a strategy of addressing Iowa's weaknesses in hopes of turning them around and making the state stronger. He wants to develop a 10-year benchmark plan to get Iowa into the top 10 among states. Chief among those strategies will be raising Iowans’ incomes so, among other things, Iowans are more self-supporting and less in need of welfare.