Fireworks Set For A Political Weekend In Iowa

Get ready for a wild weekend in Iowa politics.

One of the most progressive organizations in Iowa, Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement Action Fund (CCI Action Fund) has scheduled their annual convention, Revolution Iowa: From Protest to Power, for Saturday, July 15 in Des Moines. Their Keynote speaker is Senator Bernie Sanders.

Simultaneously, one of the most conservative, far-right Iowa groups, The Family Leadership Summit, is scheduled for the same day in Des Moines with a special appearance by Presidential Counselor Kellyanne Conway.

More amazingly, they will be in the same convention complex at the same date and time, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Family Leadership Summit is meeting in the Community Choice Credit Union (formerly Vets Auditorium) and CCI Action Fund is meeting at the Iowa Events Center. These two facilities are joined and share parking and multiple entrances. Des Moines will be hosting two of the most diametrically opposed political activist groups in the state right next to each other.

At one end of the building (far left end) will be Senator Bernie Sanders, the best known and most powerful progressive voice in America.  At the other end of the building (far right side) will be the best known Trump spokesperson, the queen of fake news, Kellyanne Conway. These two groups will be competing to get the attention of both the local and national media for the spotlight and to dominate the news cycle, and provide the media with a stark contrast in political rhetoric.

They’re two separate events, but it’s difficult to imagine that there won’t be some intermingling, protesting and/or at the very least some lively conversations between these two opposing groups. It certainly may provide some lively coffee break and lunch conversations.

Sanders and Conway might be considered the main bout if this was a contest for most powerful political messaging. However, both sponsoring groups will be demonstrating their political muscle as well.

Representing the left, CCI and their sister organization CCI Action Fund are the activist leaders in Iowa. They are leading the charge against confinement agriculture, water pollution, fighting for immigration reform, Fight for $15, opposing oil pipelines, promoting healthcare for all and civil rights. In addition to their keynote speaker, Senator Sanders, their convention speakers include a long list of local and national leaders.  One of their featured speakers will be Alicia Garza, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter.

Their workshops include:

— From Protest to Power: Where’s My Place in the Movement?

— Undocumented and Unafraid: Rising Up in Trump’s America

— The Fight for Our Lives: Medicare for All!

— Co-Governance: Doing Politics Differently

— Climate in Crisis: Building the Movement for a Just Transition

Knowing CCI, one might assume they have something planned to challenge the ultra-conservative folks at the other end of the convention complex.

The Family Leadership Summit features Conway, but the CEO and President of the Family Leader Bob Vander Plaats is a lightning rod for controversy as well. He is perhaps best known for his opposition to same-sex marriage and his efforts in removing three Iowa Supreme Court Justices for their votes in support of gay marriage.

Both Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst will be speaking at The Family Leadership Summit. Senator Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, is also listed as a speaker. The Summit promises to be a religiously-inspired conservative political event. One of those conservative religious leaders that will be speaking is Jim Garlow. He is a California Pastor that led the opposition to same-sex marriage in 2008. Under his leadership, California passed Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriage.

Saturday should be an interesting day in Des Moines with this volatile political mix of the right and left. You can still register for the CCI convention at:


by Rick Smith
Posted 7/11/17
Conway photo via Gage Skidmore

3 Comments on "Fireworks Set For A Political Weekend In Iowa"

  • (trying again…) Oh, to be a fly on the wall this Saturday! Of course we know which group will get the most/favorable coverage (how can Bernie possibly compete against all that home-grown “talent”?) I swear; people like Vander Plaats and Garlow (not to mention Cruz’s strange father) are like vampire. We keep killing them with our steely (legislative) knives, but we just can’t kill the beasts.

    • What we need to do is to get as many pictures of our Senators, and I am sure Terry’s girlfriend will be there also.

      Let Iowa know where they stand. Not for the people of Iowa, but for the Rich and the far right.

      They need to be governing , and not supporting the rich and far right.

  • Don’t just wish you could be a fly on the wall on Saturday – join all the folks who are planning to attend the CCI event and get a front row seat for all the action! You don’t have to be a CCI member to attend and the workshops look to be both educational and entertaining. Also, Bernie should provide a few fireworks. We’re going to have a great time and maybe offer a poke in the eye to those who deserve it.

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