Lessons From Space For Lawmakers On School Funding

I have reached the age where I don’t particularly enjoy being reminded I’m getting old. Another reminder came last week and hit close to home — close to my childhood home. John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, died Thursday at age 95. He was the last surviving member of NASA’s Mercury astronauts. As a young boy, I was transfixed by space. I could rattle off details about our astronauts. I crammed my head full of facts about the tiny craft that carried them into space. I spent hours sprawled in front of our black-and-white television watching the news of […]

Ron Corbett Looks To Challenge Kim Reynolds For Iowa Governor

In a radio interview this morning with Simon Conway on WMT Radio, Republican Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett announced he will not seek reelection for mayor. Instead he is taking a very serious look at challenging Kim Reynolds for Iowa Governor in 2018. Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey declined to primary eventual-Governor Kim Reynolds for the Republican nomination shortly after the announcement that Terry Branstad would be nominated as President-Elect Donald Trump’s ambassador to China. That would make Reynolds the incumbent running for reelection in 2018, rather than a Lt. Governor seeking the office on her own. That situation makes a potential primary challenge […]

Dave Loebsack Launches Post-Mortem On Iowa Democrats’ Losses

One the greatest remaining frustrations from the past six years in Democratic politics has been that after the blowout losses in 2010 and 2014, the party did no real self-reflection or analysis of what went wrong. It seems we’ll finally get that effort, at least in Iowa, after the 2016 defeat. Congressman Dave Loebsack announced at the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee meeting yesterday that he is launching and funding a post-mortem analysis of the 2016 election. “We just have to be straight about this – we have to admit that we’re not doing particularly well as a party in the […]

IDP Chair Candidates Talk Millennial Involvement, Rural Outreach At Forum

Seven of the eight candidates who are vying to lead the Iowa Democratic Party next year gathered to take part in a forum at Grand View University in Des Moines last night. The Political Party, an organization formed this year to engage young progressive millennials, hosted the event. Icy weather deterred some local Democrats from attending, but the event still drew about 60 attendees, with many watching online (you can watch a recording of the entire forum on Starting Line’s Facebook page). The panel, moderated by Stacey Walker, Mandy McWherter and Zach Mannheimer, went through a series of questions that […]

Two Chances Coming Up To See IDP Chair Candidates At Forums

The Iowa Democratic Party is set to select its next party chair on January 21 in what is expected to be a wide-open contest following the 2016 losses. Eight candidates are vying for the position: Sandy Dockendorff, Derek Eadon, Mike Gronstal, Bob Krause, Blair Lawton, Kurt Meyer, Julie Stauch and Kim Weaver. Krause just recently announced his bid this past week. Two major public forums are set for this Friday and Saturday to give Democrats and the State Central Committee members (the 49 people who vote on it) a chance to ask questions and let the candidates lay out their proposals. All candidates […]

Iowa Democrats, We Need You As You Need Us

Guest Post from Christian Ucles I write this post in hopes that whoever plans to run for position as Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party heeds the call to not ignore one of the most loyal set of voters of the Democratic Party. People of Color (POC) stand to lose their livelihood in this upcoming Trump administration and now more than ever the Democratic Party in Iowa and nationally can’t ignore our communities any further. In the last three months of the election I worked as the Latino Coordinator for the Hillary campaign in Iowa and worked to encourage, empower, […]

A Campaign Post-Mortem On A 2016 Iowa House Race

A guest post from Kent Kroeger, who managed his brother Gary Kroeger’s State House race in Cedar Falls/Waterloo “Winning campaigns is a thrilling experience, but losing campaigns crush your soul,” veteran Republican communications strategist, Michael McKinnon, recently wrote in The Daily Beast. Having worked on my brother’s unsuccessful Iowa House District 60 campaign this past election, I understand McKinnon’s lament all too well. My brother, Gary Kroeger, the Democratic candidate for the Iowa House District 60 seat that covers most of southern Waterloo and Cedar Falls, was running against Walt Rogers, a three-term Republican incumbent and an assistant leader in […]

Chris Hall Blasts Branstad, GOP For Lagging Economy, Tax Giveaways

Yesterday’s revised estimate of Iowa’s projected revenue for the 2017 fiscal year shows a decrease in available funds, leading to some tough decisions in the upcoming legislative session. Republicans immediately suggested budget cuts, though Governor Terry Branstad said he would prefer public education funding be spared from reductions. Democrats will likely take aim at some of the corporate tax cuts passed in recent years. Revenue estimates decreased by around $100 million from a previous report two months ago. The $7.2 billion estimate for 2017 is still an increase over 2016 revenue, but it’s less than originally expected. Republicans are coming into the 2017 […]

How To Get Iowa’s Education System Back To Excellence

Guest post from Jack Hatch on his upcoming book – the fourth security: education Iowa is moving in the wrong direction on education. After national rankings in the top 3 states, Iowa today is ranked 24th among states on a broad range of metrics from early childhood education to high school graduation. The picture in higher education isn’t much better when Iowa is ranked with the third highest student debt. The state’s regression to the mean on education is an astonishing reality for most Iowans, who have become accustomed to educational excellence as a bipartisan norm only to see our […]

All Hands On Deck: How To Fight Back In The 2017 Legislative Session

The Iowa Legislature will return this January with Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, eager to implement a broad-reaching conservative agenda. They have waited 20 years for full control of Iowa government, and with Terry Branstad and/or Kim Reynolds in the Governor’s office (depending on Branstad’s ambassador appointment), they finally have it. Iowans can expect Republicans to move very quickly on ramming through a slew of far-right legislation that could fundamentally change Iowa society, including a push for school privatization, gutting collective bargaining for public employees and weakening water quality plans. The same hard rightward shift in policies that Wisconsin […]