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Jim Hightower Gives American Legislative Exchange Council Protest A Texas Twang

Pamela Foye Bosben
Flickr CC
Former Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, shown in a file photo, joined protesters outside the American Legislative Exchange Council convention today in Dallas.

More than 100 demonstrators showed up Wednesday at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, where the American Legislative Exchange Council was holding its annual meeting. One of the protest headliners was Jim Hightower, former Texas agriculture commissioner.

The council, a conservative organization known as ALEC, is a lightning rod for groups the AFL-CIO and the United Steelworkers.

These days, Hightower does radio commentaries, writes columns for political newsletters and takes part in demonstrations like this one.

Interview Highlights: Jim Hightower...

...On the protest: “I’m here because this bunch over here, corrupt coziness between corporate power and our state lawmakers all over the country are stealing our democracy and so we have to stand up. The powers that be aren’t going to save us on this one because they own the powers that be. So, we the people have got to get out here and alert other people of what’s going on.”

...On legislation about genetically modified organisms that ALEC has pushed: “Nearly all corn is genetically modified now. 95 percent of soybeans are, etc. So we wanted to fight that and various communities have wanted to pass legislation, locally, saying, ‘We don’t want that stuff in our town. We don’t want it in our fields around us, we don’t want it in the food that we serve in our schools.’ So ALEC has modeled a piece of legislation to go to state legislatures and outlaw towns, the people themselves, from having the democratic power to say what they want locally.”

...On his past work in office: "What we pushed was something that now exists all over but at the time didn’t exists at all. Famer’s markets, organic production of food, diversification of our crops and family farmers uniting with workers, with environmentalists, consumers."