Iowans advocate for change at inaugural Internet Uncaucus (Video)
Alexander Grgurich delivered one of the 13 soapbox speeches given at the first Iowa Internet Uncaucus.
A group of citizens braved chilly October weather on Saturday to meet on the Locust Street bridge in downtown Des Moines for the Iowa Internet Uncaucus, a part of the nine-city Internet 2012 Bus Tour created by reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and general manager Erik Martin.
Participants viewed 13 soapbox presentations by members of the community advocating changes that ranged from greater participation in local elections to water conservation measures. Votes were tallied in person, via text and on the Des Moines Register's website for streaming video viewers.
Des Moines was the fourth of nine stops between Colorado and Kentucky on the Internet 2012 Bus Tour, a roadtrip to raise awareness for internet freedom and openness.
"Let's do something bold," Martin said of the groupthink that inspired the caravan. "We went though a couple of ideas. Iowa's really known for the caucuses — let's flip that around. Let's sort of hack that and try that the other way around."
For the Des Moines stop, reddit joined with their several local sponsors to set up a platform — literally and figuratively — where fresh ideas could be heard, with hopes some of those ideas would filter up to the policymakers in Washington and just down the street.
The event in Des Moines was made possible by support from Dwolla, the Register and several other local companies and organizations, including the Technology Association of Iowa and Bow and Arrow Productions.
The winner of the Uncaucus voting was Carl Blake, a local hog farmer who took up the issue of preserving family farming. Blake took the stage for five minutes to give an impassioned plea about why Iowa needs more local hog processing facilities that are USDA-certified in order to make local farmers' products available on a wider scale. He mentioned micro-investment sites like IndieGoGo where producers are trying to underwrite a processing plant and other hydroponics projects.
Complete results of the Uncaucus voting can be found on the Des Moines Register's website.
For more from the Iowa Internet Uncaucus, including interviews with organizers and footage of the event, see the video below.
Credits: Photos and video by Christopher New.