Clinton Makes News on TPP, Emails, Felony Voting Rights in Cedar Falls Stop

The “Scooby” van and its important occupant returned to Iowa once again this week as Hillary Clinton made a two-day swing through the caucus state. She met local activists at house parties in Mason City, Waterloo and Dubuque on Monday and Tuesday. Her one public event (well, to press anyway) in Cedar Falls featured a small business roundtable followed by a short Q&A session with a hungry press corp. She made a surprising amount of news both from the press questions and discussion with the panel members. Starting Line attended the Cedar Falls event Tuesday morning. Rather than a full […]

Monday Power Ranking: Iowa Caucus – Democrats

Welcome to Starting Line’s newest series: Monday Power Rankings! At the beginning of each week we’ll rank the candidates’ standings in different races, cycling through a number of different Iowa contests. We’ll often visit the presidential race on the Democratic and Republican side (probably the GOP side more since they’ll have more movement), but we’ll also take a look at the primaries for the 1st and 3rd Congressional districts and look ahead to the Iowa gubernatorial primaries in 2018. We start today by looking at the Democratic field for President. (Forgive the quality of the graphic, I’m working on it.) […]

Ken Rizer Votes To Cut Local Domestic Abuse Assistance

In April State Representative Ken Rizer visited Waypoint Services, a Cedar Rapids shelter that helps women suffering from domestic violence and other crisis situations. Just a few weeks later, he voted for a budget that slashed funding for the very services the women he met depend upon. As the Iowa Legislature’s 2015 session slogs on well past its scheduled end date, several important programs have unexpectedly come under the chopping block. On May 5th, Marion’s Rizer, along with most of the Republican House caucus, approved a Justice Department budget that included a 15% funding cut over last year to programs […]

Martin O’Malley Staffing Up In Iowa Ahead Of Announcement

As news breaks that an official Martin O’Malley presidential announcement is set for May 30th, Starting Line hears his campaign is beginning to staff up in Iowa for a caucus operation. We’ve heard from several sources that Joe O’Hern was recently hired to serve as the Caucus Director for O’Malley’s Iowa team. Jake Oeth, brought on earlier in the year to help lay early groundwork for O’Malley, is expected to serve as the state director. O’Hern worked as the Iowa Democratic Party’s Coordinated Campaign director for the 2014 cycle, while Oeth was Bruce Braley’s political director. Starting Line also hears […]

Keys to Winning Dallas County

Who do Democratic presidential hopefuls need on their side to win in Dallas County? We continue our profile of important Iowa counties. We previously covered Clinton County and Woodbury County. Main Cities: Waukee (largest), Adel (county seat) Population: 77,400 (10th largest in the state) About the County: As more and more rural Iowans leave their communities for the Des Moines suburbs, Dallas County continues to rapidly grow, with Waukee, West Des Moines and Clive leading the way. Dallas County has topped Iowa’s counties in growth in recent years, its population jumping 17% between 2010 and 2014. It’s a Republican stronghold where […]

Ankeny Parents Frustrated Over Education Debate, Kevin Koester’s Role In It

Ankeny hasn’t earned the title of one of Iowa’s fastest-growing communities by chance. The lure of one of the state’s best school districts has brought countless young families to the Des Moines metro’s northern suburb. But many Ankeny parents now worry whether that world-class education will remain in the years to come for their children, thanks to the Iowa Legislature’s inability to fund schools at an adequate level. Kevin Koester, the Republican State Representative for the southern half of Ankeny, has sided throughout 2015 with his party’s refusal to compromise on their 1.25% allowable growth funding increase. That has many […]

Iowa Travel Guide: Sioux City

Some folks have misconceptions about Northwest Iowa’s population center, but I would actually rank Sioux City 3rd in the state (behind Des Moines and Iowa City) as the best city for a fun restaurant, bar and entertainment scene. Once a major manufacturing center, Sioux City slowly lost its industry base over the past two decades. It’s remade itself into the entertainment hub of the tri-state area, bringing in a Hard Rock Cafe Casino, improving on the restaurant options on 4th Street, and adding in the new Pearl Street bar district. It’s also home to some of the best authentic Mexican […]

Sunday Grab Bag: GOP’s Keystone Conundrum, Hillary’s Immigration and ISIS

Good morning readers! As always, a lot happened in the political world this week. Enjoy our Sunday Grab Bag of shorter takes on a number of Iowa and national political topics: The Catch-22 of Keystone and Eminent Domain The most interesting exchange I’ve seen so far from the 2016 trail happened Thursday night at a Carly Fiorina event in West Des Moines. A younger man asked Fiorina whether she supports eminent domain laws. Somehow by the tone in which he said it, I just knew exactly where he was going. Fiorina did not. Of course I oppose it, she responded, […]

In Cedar Rapids, Gore Elevates Climate Change As Key 2016 Issue

[Guest Post by Senator Rob Hogg] The Climate Reality Project training led by former Vice President Al Gore in Cedar Rapids this week reflected the growing public interest in climate change and its solutions.  Over 120 Iowans from across the state, and nearly 400 people from around the world, attended the three-day training held at the Doubletree Convention Complex in downtown Cedar Rapids from May 5 to 7. In a venue that had to be rebuilt after the Flood of 2008, Gore urged Iowans and the others in attendance to make “the climate crisis” a central issue in the coming […]

Missing an Opportunity? Democrats’ Marijuana Stance and the Millennial Vote

These days, pretty much everyone is talking about pot – except for national Democrats. And that might be a mistake on their part, because discussing marijuana legalization could be the way into the hearts of millennial voters. A PEW Researcher poll from April 2015 shows that 53% of respondents are in favor of legalizing marijuana, a huge jump from 2006, when 32% were in support. The millennial generation represents the greatest jump in support; 68% of millennials support marijuana legalization in 2015, compared to only 34% in 2006. Despite this increase in pro-legalization desires, though, none of the national Democratic […]