Ed Fallon was born in Santa Monica, California while his father was stationed there as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. He grew-up in Saugus, Massachusetts and was heavily influenced by his Irish grandparents and relatives during repeated trips to the family farm in Roscommon County, Ireland. While only marginally interested in academics in high school, he excelled as an athlete, setting the school record in the high jump and as a member of the 4×400 indoor track relay team.
He studied music and philosophy at Marlboro College in Vermont after which he traveled the world for six years. He worked on farms in Nova Scotia, walked across southern England during blue bell season, stayed for three weeks with Carmelite nuns at a monastery in Cairo, spent time on a kibbutz in Israel, and served as a Franciscan Volunteer on an Objibwe reservation in northern Wisconsin. From 1985 – 1987, he attended Drake University, where he received a degree in religious studies.
In the late 1980s, Ed worked in the peace movement. He organized the Iowa stretch of The Great Peace March and founded Des Moines Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Well-versed in the writings of Mahatma Gandhi, Ed became friends with Gandhi’s granddaughter, Sumitra Kulkarni, and traveled to India in 1995, staying with her and her family and studying ways in which modern Indians continue to use Gandhi’s ideas of non-violence to address contemporary social and political problems.
From 1993 – 2006, Ed served fourteen years in the Iowa Legislature, representing residents of downtown Des Moines, the surrounding neighborhoods and the City’s northeast side. Ed’s focus as a lawmaker was to champion the needs of constituency groups treated unfairly by government or neglected by the majority of policymakers.
As a state lawmaker, Ed worked to give a voice to the voiceless, including family farmers, workers, the poor, minorities, prisoners and the GLBT community. He led the way on several key initiatives, including efforts to address urban sprawl, reforming laws to protect land from eminent domain, ending corporate giveaway programs, opposition to the death penalty, reforming the delivery of human services, opposition to the official English bill, and marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. His 1996 speech in defense of GLBT equality has been often quoted and published, and gained him an invitation from Congressman Barney Frank to testify before the U.S. Congress.
In 1998, Ed helped found 1000 Friends of Iowa, a land-use and anti-urban sprawl group. He served as its executive director for five years. In June of 2006, he ran for Governor in the four-way Democratic primary, receiving 26% of the vote. Ed also ran for Congress in 2008, losing to incumbent Leonard Boswell in the primary.
In 2009, Ed began a career as a talk show host with the Fallon Forum. It remains one of the few independent talk shows in Iowa, and currently broadcasts on four radio stations — two in Iowa and in New Orleans, LA and Fayette, MO.
In 2013, Ed spearheaded the Great March for Climate Action, and in 2014, led 35 climate activists on a 3,000-mile trek from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. Ed was one of five marchers to walk every step of the way.
In March of 2015, Ed walked 400 miles along the length of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline. He now continues his work to advocate for the farmers and landowners he met during that walk, and is vocal about the need to stop the proposed pipeline. In November, 2015, Ed walked 200 miles from Normandy Beach to Paris in advance of the U.N. Climate Summit. He currently serves as the director of Bold Iowa.
Ed is an accomplished musician on several instruments, with a focus on the piano music of Frederic Chopin. He speaks some French and Spanish. He was raised Catholic, was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church for 20 years and considers himself staunchly ecumenical. He lived in the inner-city of Des Moines for nineteen years and now lives in the Sherman Hill neighborhood. An avid gardener, he grows a lot of his food on 2,000 square feet of urban garden. He also raises laying hens. Years ago, Ed established a community garden in the inner-city of Des Moines, and he maintains strong connections to his family’s farm in Ireland, where he organized the planting of 25,000 oak trees in 2000.
Ed has two adult children: Benjamin, who works as a merchant marine and is Third Mate on a commercial freight vessel, and Fionna, who is studying for her Masters of Social Work at Boston College and is active with immigrant rights’ issues.
Ed’s spirituality continues to inspire and direct him in his work, and he is not hesitant to say that his life is committed to working for social justice, both within and outside the political process. While Ed feels that he has been able to accomplish much during his years as a state lawmaker and in other venues of public service, he insists that the most satisfying part of his job is when someone says to him, “Years ago, you helped me and my family with a problem, and our lives are now better for it.”
Ed Fallon may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 238-6404.