Democrats’ 3rd District Field Developing For 2018

Despite his comfortable victory in 2016, Democrats are eager to take another shot at Republican Congressman David Young. The Des Moines, Council Bluffs and Southwest Iowa-based district was won by Donald Trump 48.5% to 45%, but the recent Iowa Poll showed Trump’s approval in the Des Moines area at a miserable 31%. Young faced a rowdy town hall meeting last week where attendees were rather unhappy with many of the second-term Congressman’s answers, even on some where he gave off a more moderate reply. Starting Line hears that retired businessman Mike Sherzan has been planning another run for the Democratic nomination […]

Breakout Stars From Iowa’s 2017 Legislative Session

The 2017 Iowa legislative session has been disheartening for many Democrats, progressives and people who care about a fair, just Iowa. But there is one silver lining: tough people step up in tough times, and Democrats have had several leaders to rally behind in these fights. For a state party that has lacked a central, natural leader for several years, the emergence of several strong, inspiring voices has given many activists hope for the future. Let’s take a look at just a few of the leaders and activists who have stood out so far this session.   Nate Boulton Those behind […]

The Dirty Dozen GOP Bills And How To Stop Them

Guest post from Senate Leader Rob Hogg Today, I am writing to ask you to help us stop a dozen bad bills from advancing out of committee this week. Friday marks the “first funnel” under legislative rules, which is a first procedural hurdle that will stop some legislative proposals for the year. If we can stop these bills this week, it will reduce the damage that could be done later. The new Republican majority has already done a lot of damage to Iowans, including: > Major mid-year budget cuts (SF130) that closed correctional facilities and laid off correctional workers, forced […]

Camp Wellstone Activist Training For 2017 Launches in Iowa

Guest post from Chelsea Lepley Progressives in Iowa and around the country have taken note of the energy and enthusiasm of citizen gatherings, the size of which has not been seen in the lifetimes of many of the people who have come together to march, protest and speak out for an America at risk. Iowans are calling members of Congress and state legislators, packing town halls, crowding the rotunda, and encouraging one another to run for office. Now comes the hard work. It’s time to capture the momentum of these recent political moments – and ensure they have the longevity […]

Republicans Waging Quiet War On Iowa’s Universities This Session

Guest post from Eric Saylor Statehouse Republicans have mounted several high-profile legislative attacks on their political opponents this session, Planned Parenthood and public sector unions chief among them. However, Republicans are also pursuing their goals through much quieter channels, though no less devastating ones. In some cases, poisonous measures are nestled within the text of a bill. For example, deep within SF 29 – ostensibly a bill to eliminate Iowa’s Department of Education – there is a paragraph on p. 45 that casually eliminates the institutions of Iowa Public Television and Iowa Public Radio. In other cases, the legislation is decentralized, comprising several bills […]

Republicans Have Brought Authoritarian Rule To Iowa Statehouse

Guest post from former Senator Dennis Black I served 12 years in the Iowa House and 20 in the Iowa Senate, basically parts of Jasper and Polk Counties.  I retired in 2015, with Senator Chaz Allen seeking and winning the seat. I thought I’d observed and experienced just about everything until watching the deliberations and actions of legislators on Senate File 213 and House File 291, bills that gutted Iowa’s collective bargaining law. Make no mistake about it! Iowans elected an authoritarian Republican Majority in the House and Senate.  They are, and shall continue to be the empitomy of the […]

That Was The Weirdest Thing I’ve Seen In Iowa Politics

I’ve watched as Donald Trump buzzed his helicopter directly over Hillary Clinton at the Iowa State Fair, then come back for a second pass. I’ve attended a Ben Carson event that turned a downtown bridge into a lavishly expensive family fun concert complete with Disney princesses and a gigantic American flag. I’ve seen protesters rush stages, candidates fall off of them and voters get in fist fights in the crowd. I’ve seen a lot of weird things in Iowa politics. And then I saw Ron Corbett’s final “State of the City” speech yesterday. The two-term Cedar Rapids mayor and former Speaker […]

Republicans’ Toddler Militia Gun Bill Is Back

The Republican-controlled Legislature is on track to reward gun-fanatics with their dream agenda!  Perhaps the most senseless piece of this legislation is the gun extremists’ goal of giving handguns to kids. This nutty and dangerous expansion would allow toddlers to use handguns with parental supervision. Current law allows children over age 14 to handle a handgun with parental supervision. The proposed bill would lift that restriction so that any age child could have control of a handgun under a parent’s supervision. You couldn’t make this stuff up! It was passed by the House Republicans in 2015 but the Democratic-controlled Senate […]

Todd Prichard Promises A Fight To Win Back Blue Collar Voters

A packed room of nearly 100 Democratic activists in Des Moines’ Beaverdale neighborhood gave Todd Prichard a positive reception Tuesday night as chatter increases over his likely run for the governor’s office. Prichard, a state representative from Charles City, previewed a very early version of a stump speech, focusing on several stories from his blue collar upbringing in Davenport and his service in Iraq. “I am considering a run for Governor,” Prichard acknowledged right off the bat to the gathered crowd, adding that he’s doing his due diligence to get around the state and listen to voters. He spoke to local […]

Branstad Celebrates Behind Closed Doors With Koch Lobbyist

Governor Terry Branstad’s bill signing ceremony for the most anti-labor bill in recent Iowa history was reserved for a very special guest. Drew Klein, the state director and lobbyist for the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) got an extraordinary front row seat at the private closed door signing. Branstad demanded a secret signing ceremony, shutting out both the press and the public as he signed away the rights of 180,000 Iowans. The Republicans’ devious manipulation of this labor-killing legislation has repeatedly betrayed the Iowa legacy of open and transparent government. Governor Branstad’s final poke in the eye to Iowans was […]