Ed Fallon

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Ed Fallon
Ed Fallon Head Shot 2013.jpg
Member of the Iowa House of Representatives
from the 66th district
In office
Preceded byGary Sherzan
Succeeded byAko Abdul-Samad
Personal details
Born (1958-03-01) March 1, 1958 (age 61)
Santa Monica, California
Political partyDemocrat
ChildrenTwo adult children.
ResidenceDes Moines, IA
Alma materDrake University

Ed Fallon is an American activist, politician, talk show host, and author. He is an American politician from the State of Iowa. He was previously a Democratic candidate for Governor of Iowa and the U.S. Congress, and served as a member of the Iowa General Assembly from 1993 to 2006.

Early life[edit]

The son of a member of the U.S. military, Fallon was born in Santa Monica, California in 1958, but spent the majority of his formative years living in Saugus, Massachusetts. After two years at Marlboro College in Vermont, he spent several years traveling around Europe, Canada, and the Middle East. At one point, having exhausted his financial resources, he was homeless for a time before returning to the United States.[1] During his travels, he acquired some fluency in Spanish and French.[2] He knows how to play seven musical instruments, including the guitar, the accordion, the Irish whistle, and the piano.[3]

Upon returning to his native country, he moved to Iowa, where he attended Drake University between 1985 and 1987, earning a bachelor's degree in religious studies. Fallon also worked as a field canavasser for Iowa Citizen Action Network during this period. After graduating from Drake, he became a community organizer in the inner city of Des Moines, the result of his opposition to the then-dominant policies of President Ronald Reagan and other conservative Republicans. After organizing the Iowa portion of the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament in 1986, Fallon founded the Des Moines Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament[4], which ultimately became Clarion Alliance, a non-profit focusing on peace and conflict resolution issues[5].

State legislature[edit]

In 1992, he decided to enter electoral politics, challenging Democratic State Representative Gary Sherzan, a ten-year incumbent, for re-nomination. Although Sherzan outspent him by almost a two-to-one margin, Fallon won the primary with 63% of the vote and went on to an easy victory in the general election.[6]

During the 2000 presidential election, he made headlines across the state when he endorsed the candidacy of Green Party nominee Ralph Nader over that of Democrat Al Gore because of Gore's choice of Joe Lieberman as a running mate. Fallon admitted in 2001 that, while people's frustration with the Democratic Party was legitimate, his decision to back Nader was a mistake.

The leaders of the Iowa Democratic Party, angered at Fallon's actions, stripped him of his place as ranking member of the House Local Government Committee. He was voted off the Polk County Democratic Central Committee and, when the state was redistricted in 2001, 70% of his former constituents were moved to another district (which was done through a non-partisan process). Facing a three-way primary in what was for all intents and purposes a new district, Fallon was not expected to survive. Instead, he won 68% of the vote in the primary and won re-election to a sixth term.

Run for governor[edit]

In October 2002, after progressive Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash, Fallon decided that he wanted to emulate Wellstone's impact on his state's politics by running for Governor.[7] After spending almost two and a half years testing the waters and preparing for his run, he announced his candidacy on April 9, 2005 at a rally at the Iowa State Capitol, becoming the first candidate to officially declare.

During the course of the race, in which he faced Secretary of State Chet Culver and former state economic development director and Congressman Mike Blouin, Fallon positioned himself as a candidate focused on populist concerns. The main focal point of his campaign was a pledge to enact voluntary public financing of elections, a pledge that he reinforced with his refusal to accept donations from political action committees and lobbyists and his self-imposed limitation of $2400 in contributions per person.[8] He was also in favor of creating a locally owned renewable fuels industry, universal health care, reforming the Departments of Human Services and Corrections, ending government handouts to big business, and increased funding for public education. He opposed urban sprawl, legalized gambling, factory farms, and the Iowa Values Fund, a multimillion-dollar corporate incentive package that he dubbed "corporate welfare."[9]

In January and March 2006, more delegates pledged to him were selected to attend the state party convention than those of any other candidate. If no candidate had won 35% of the vote in the primary, convention delegates would have awarded the nomination. In late May, he received the endorsement of the Iowa Sierra Club and the Iowa City Press-Citizen, becoming the first candidate to receive support from a major newspaper.[10]

In the primary on June 6, 2006 the winner was Chet Culver with 57,976 votes (39.09%) and Fallon ran third out of a field of four, receiving 38,160 votes (25.73%). Although this result was not the win that Fallon and his supporters had hoped for, it was considerably in excess of the 5 to 10% that pundits had speculated he might receive at the beginning of the race.[11]


On November 10, 2006, three days after the midterm elections, during which candidates that Fallon had campaigned for were elected Governor, Secretary of State, and to the state legislature and the United States Congress, he announced in an e-mail to supporters that he would take a hiatus from electoral politics, during which he would form a new political activist organization, dedicated to social justice, clean elections, and encouraging local and state action to address global warming.

On December 28, 2006, Fallon appeared in Des Moines at the first official presidential campaign event of former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, taking tickets and passing out Edwards campaign literature. Edwards, who was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004, has taken positions similar to Fallon's on campaign finance reform and universal health care, and has called for an end to poverty and an immediate withdrawal from the Iraq War.[12]

On January 11, 2007, Fallon announced in an e-mail to supporters that he had co-founded a private business called "Independence Movement for Iowa," or I'M for Iowa. According to Fallon, the organization will seek "independence" for Iowa from "special interest campaign contributions"; "poverty, injustice and discrimination"; "fossil fuels and foreign oil"; "government subsidies for big business"; and "government officials who operate without the public's interest in mind, often behind closed doors, and with a lack of integrity and accountability.".[13] Questions were raised about I'M for Iowa in March 2007 about whether the organization was following campaign finance laws and behaving in an ethical manner."[14] However, these claims were based on the misunderstanding that I'M for Iowa was not a private, unincorporated business.

Congressional run, 2008[edit]

On January 8, 2008, Fallon formally filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for Congress.[15] He formally announced his candidacy in a press conference in Des Moines on January 16, 2008.[16]

Media reports noted that Fallon carried the 3rd District in the 2006 gubernatorial primary, and examination of the caucus results shows that John Edwards, whom Fallon endorsed, did much better in the district than did Senator Hillary Clinton, whom Boswell endorsed. Edwards carried six counties in the district, while Clinton carried none. Fallon was defeated by Boswell in the Democratic primary on June 3, 2008, by a 61 to 39 percent margin.[17]

Talk show host[edit]

Since 2009, Fallon has hosted the Fallon Forum,[18] a call-in talk show. The program discusses a wide range of contemporary issues. In Des Moines, the Fallon Forum airs live on La Reina, 1260 AM and 96.5 FM. The program is rebroadcast on stations in Ames, Iowa City, Fayette (Missouri) and New Orleans (Louisiana).[19] Fallon was arrested with a number of others on October 8, 2011 on the Iowa Capitol grounds when police broke up the Occupy Des Moines encampment, part of the Occupy Movement.[20] Fallon was found not guilty of trespassing by a jury on March 9, 2012.[21]

Climate advocacy[edit]

On March 1, 2013 Fallon announced the start of a campaign aimed at inspiring society to take action on climate change. Fallon assembled a team and launched the non-profit, Great March for Climate Action. He is planning for up to 1,000 individuals to march across the nation, from Los Angeles, CA to Washington DC, in order to motivate both the general public and elected officials to address climate change.[22]

On March 2, 2015, Fallon started a 400-mile hike along the proposed Dakota Access pipeline in Keokuk, to protest and rally support.[23] On May 18, 2015 Capitol Police were called for a disturbance in the Governor's Office. Ed Fallon was found refusing to leave. Fallon was there to protest the Dakota Access pipeline. Fallon was escorted off the premises and was charged with criminal trespassing. He posted bond that evening.[24]

From late 2015 to early 2016, Fallon worked with The Climate Mobilization to approach presidential candidates campaigning for the Iowa caucuses urging a more realistic and ambitious approach to the climate crisis, an economic mobilization on the scale of the American effort during World War II for 100% clean energy and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.[25] In January 2016, Fallon hosted a "Climate Emergency Caucus" in Des Moines before the Iowa caucuses, which simulated the state's 2016 Democratic presidential primary caucus. Bernie Sanders won the vote with 67% of attendees.[26] Fallon endorsed Sanders for president, and spoke publicly in his favor in advance of the Iowa caucuses.[27]

Since its formation in 2016, Fallon has served as the director of Bold Iowa.[28][29] Bold Iowa's mission is to build rural-urban coalitions to fight climate change; prevent the abuse of eminent domain; protect Iowa’s soil, air, and water; and promote non-industrial renewable energy.[30]

Fallon wrote his first book, Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim, published in 2018.[31]


  1. ^ "From the Sidelines, Fallon Soldiers On". The Des Moines Register. 2008-11-09. Retrieved 2008-11-12.[dead link]
  2. ^ "Exalting the e-word". The Economist. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
  3. ^ "Ed Fallon's Facebook Profile". Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  4. ^ Lewis, Melanie (1989-10-12). "D.M. schoolchildren taught ways to make peace in conflict". Des Moines Register.
  5. ^ "Voting with their dollars: Iowans reassess military spending". Hawkeye. 1991-11-01.
  6. ^ Roos, Jonathan; Fogarty, Thomas A. (1992-06-03). "Szymoniak narrowly foils Hatch challenge; Fallon upsets Sherzan". Des Moines Register.
  7. ^ Bureau, Todd Dorman, Globe Gazette Des Moines. "Culver wins Democratic slot for governor". Mason City Globe Gazette. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  8. ^ Evidence suggests Fallon may challenge Boswell in Dem primary Archived 2007-12-25 at the Wayback Machine Iowa Independent
  9. ^ Gable, Erik (2005-04-20). "Fallon pitches bid for governor". www.ffledger.com.
  10. ^ "Our Campaigns - IA Governor - D Primary Race - Jun 06, 2006". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  11. ^ Bureau, Todd Dorman, Globe Gazette Des Moines. "Culver wins Democratic slot for governor". Mason City Globe Gazette. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  12. ^ Radio Iowa Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Iowa Politics Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Iowa Independent Archived 2008-04-03 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ CQ Politics | Even More Politics for Dems in Iowa Archived 2008-11-05 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Iowa Politics Archived 2008-01-23 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Boswell Wins Democratic Primary". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  18. ^ http://fallonforum.com/
  19. ^ Fallon Forum
  20. ^ http://www.dailyiowanmedia.com/live/2011/10/10/occupy-demonstrators-arrested-in-des-moines/
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2012-03-09. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2013-06-11. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ Larry Burkum (6 March 2015). "Former Iowa lawmaker walking to protest proposed pipeline". KCRG-TV9. ABC News. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  24. ^ Brianne Pfannenstiel Ed Fallon arrested at statehouse, Des Moines Register, 18 May 2015
  25. ^ Glover, Mike (2 October 2015). "Ed Fallon walks the walk for climate action". The Iowa Daily Democrat.
  26. ^ Haley, Charley (30 January 2016). "Sanders a favorite at climate change rally". Des Moines Register.
  27. ^ "Iowa Progressives Weigh Clinton vs Sanders as One of Whitest U.S. States Kicks Off Presidential Race". Democracy Now. 1 February 2016.
  28. ^ "Iowa Regulators Approve Bakken Oil Pipeline Construction". whotv.com. 2016-06-06. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  29. ^ "Our Team – Bold Iowa". Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  30. ^ "Mission – Bold Iowa". Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  31. ^ "Reflections on roadkill, life's meaning illuminate Ed Fallon's walk against climate change". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2019-01-19.

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