An Iowa Lesson On Diplomacy For President Trump

A few years ago, I was having lunch with Kenneth Quinn, who is president of the World Food Prize in Des Moines. We weren’t talking about food production, at least not directly. Quinn had me on the edge of my seat with his riveting description of an evening back in 1997 when he and his wife and three children were watching a movie in their home in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The family’s relaxing evening ended abruptly when an explosion outside their living room blew out the windows. Then automatic gunfire outside added to the tension. Quinn threw his children to […]

Round 2: Kim Weaver’s Fundraising Against King A Game-Changer?

It’s hard to imagine anything positive resulting from Congressman Steve King’s latest anti-immigrant rants and tweets. However, there may be one silver lining to the dark and ugly racist cloud surrounding King: donations are pouring in to Kim Weaver, encouraging her to run against King again in 2018. Weaver challenged King in 2016, but failed to take out Iowa’s most embarrassing Republican Congressman. Iowans and many Americans are repulsed by Congressman King’s latest tweet attacks on immigrants, and are expressing their support for Weaver with their donations. Weaver raised over $100,000, mainly in small donations, in the four days following King’s […]

Blum And Young Should Work In Bipartisan Way On Healthcare Fix

Guest post from Austin Haywood of Adel, Iowa Republicans in Congress are making a fatal mistake when it comes to passing a bill that repeals and replaces the Affordable Care Act. By keeping details of the bill secret from everyone, including Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans are setting up their bill for failure. For that reason I encourage the Iowa delegation, including Congressmen David Young and Rob Blum, to vote against the American Health Care Act. In order to really fix our nation’s healthcare system, we need bipartisan efforts that are done in the light of […]

What Starting Line Has Accomplished – And Why You Should Help

In the age of Donald Trump, an independent media that holds our elected officials accountable is more important than ever. This is especially true in Iowa, where the new Republican majorities have rammed through an extreme right-wing agenda that brings something new and disastrous seemingly every single day to the Statehouse. Fortunately for those of us on the left in Iowa, we have a rather robust online news presence from several independent sites and blogs. But it wasn’t always like that, and it didn’t spring up over night. Now it needs your help to keep it going [donate to Starting Line […]

The Real Story Behind Iowa’s Budget Problems

Iowans can be forgiven for not recognizing the dramatic change occurring in how our state operates. After all, no one stood up and announced officials were embarking on this change. But it is time for the people of Iowa speak up and make their views known about the direction we are headed. Otherwise, we may not like the destination that awaits us. During this year’s session of the Legislature — and during recent sessions, too — there have been signs showing the route Iowa is following. Two signs this session involved the Legislature’s decision to grant a puny 1.1 percent […]

Des Moines’ GPS Consulting Shop Expands In Iowa, National Politics

GPS Impact, the Des Moines-based political consulting operation, is expanding its reach once again in Iowa and national politics with several new hires. Trent Schacht, a well-known Iowa digital strategist, is joining the Iowa office. Julia Rosen, their new Director of Digital Strategy who held top positions at ActBlue and, will be based in Brooklyn. And communications strategist Channing Ansley Grace and Brandon Davis, who served as SEIU’s political director and the DNC Chief of Staff, will head up their new D.C. office. Founded in Des Moines in 2013 by Mark Langgin, Jim Kottmeyer and Roy Temple, GPS now has additional […]

Can The “River City” Accept Its First-Ever Pride Fest?

Guest post from Elle Smith Will the Northern Iowa town of Mason City see its first ever Pride event? Teanna Corcoran and AJ Bradbury will test the boundaries of acceptance in this “River City.” What distinguishes a small town from the fantasies that you and I have invented for them in our coastal cities? Born and raised in Mason City, playwright Meredith Wilson dubbed it “River City” in his 1957 stage musical The Music Man. It’s a barely fictionalized portrait of Wilson’s childhood home depicting “Iowa-stubborn” citizens. In The Music Man, prejudice, small-mindedness, and gossip litter the community. The mayor’s wife […]

Jake Highfill Admits He Has Blacklist Of Constituents

Saturday’s Johnston legislative forum with Senator Brad Zaun and Representative Jake Highfill resulted in a shocking and outrageous disclosure by Representative Highfill. A question from one of his constituents caused Representative Highfill to admit that he keeps a blacklist of constituents he considers threats because they disagree with him. Johnston resident Vicki Harris asked Representative Highfill why he never responded to her emails or her Statehouse notes sent to his desk at the Capitol. Representative Highfill said he had 15 requests from Harris on his desk, but refused to respond to her because he felt threatened by her notes. Harris is a […]

Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert Eyes Secretary Of State Run

Throughout the debate over Secretary of State Paul Pate’s voter ID bill, the most vocal and consistent critic came from Johnson County. County Auditor Travis Weipert attended nearly every committee meeting and public hearing that discussed the bill, pushing back on Pate and Republicans’ assertions on voter fraud and challenging the need for new voting restrictions that would make it harder for Iowans to vote. Now Weipert, 36, may face off with Pate at the ballot box next November. “I’ve been meeting with auditors of both parties across the state, and there’s wide agreement we need new leadership in the […]

Protect the Environment. Oppose Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee

Guest post from Mark Langgin, Citizens for a Healthy Iowa Next week Senator Chuck Grassley will chair hearings considering Judge Neil Gorsuch for an appointment to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch was nominated by President Trump, who was chosen to be a rubber stamp as his administration moves to dismantle longstanding environmental protections. Judge Gorsuch’s philosophy on environmental protections is squarely on the side of polluters versus safeguarding clean air and water. He has repeatedly turned away challenges by groups seeking to protect natural resources and would undermine agencies’ abilities to enforce our laws. These cases in particular highlight Judge Gorsuch’s […]