Community Leaders Back Connie Ryan By Wide Margin In Senate Primary

Connie Ryan has spent many long hours up at the Statehouse fighting for progressive causes, and a lot of local and statewide community leaders have liked what they’ve seen. A very long list of elected officials, activists, faith leaders, business owners, labor unions and liberal organizations have lined up behind Ryan in the high-profile primary to replace Matt McCoy in the Iowa Senate.

The executive director of Interfaith Iowa since 2002, Ryan has been at the center of nearly every major policy fight in Iowa, making allies and friends along the way. She’s been a constant presence at committee hearings, rallies and marches, leading fellow activists in countless efforts for progressive policies and to fight far-right Republican legislation. And many of the legislators she’s lobbied over the years have now endorsed her.

Senator Pam Jochum hopes to see Ryan join her as a colleague, as do a dozen state representatives, including Jo Oldson, who represents half of the senate district, and Ako Abdul-Samad, Brian Meyer, Marti Anderson, Ruth Ann Gaines and Bruce Hunter of Des Moines. That kind of support can be very useful to a freshman lawmaker, ensuring that they’d enter the Statehouse with a lot of allies. It can take a while to get yourself established up at the Capitol building, but Ryan would start with as many relationships as most veteran legislators have, which helps her chances of actually getting her bills and ideas passed through both chambers.

“The outpouring of support I have received from friends and neighbors in Senate District 21 has been amazing,” Ryan told Starting Line. “It would be my honor to serve the people of the community I have called home for more than four decades.”

Support from local elected officials is helpful too, as coordinating state laws with the people who have to actually implement them on the ground (something that hasn’t happened much under Republican rule) is always nice. Mayor Frank Cownie, city council members Josh Mandelbaum and Connie Boesen, and school board members Rob Barron and Cindy Elsbernd have all backed Ryan.

“I’ve seen the work that she’s done all through the years in supporting so many people,” Mayor Cownie told Starting Line. “She’s been an advocate to make Des Moines a great place, make Iowa a great place and give opportunity for everybody. I just think she’d be a great person to have in the Iowa Legislature. We need strong voices and I think she has one.”

Ryan also has a host of activists and issue leaders backing her. LGBTQ leaders like Nate Monson, Carolyn Jenison, Angela Thorne and Michael Simonson support Ryan; women’s healthcare proponents like Erin Davison-Rippey, Erin Cubit, Jamie Burch-Elliott and Bob and Becky Shaw have endorsed; immigrant rights activists like Sol Varisco, Bridget Fagan-Reidburn are on board. And then there’s plenty of community leaders supporting Ryan, including Connie Wimer, Diane and Keith Krell, Barb Madden-Bittle and Alicia and David Claypool.

All of those people can be helpful in partnering with Ryan in the Senate to actually get legislation passed. But representing the Democratic-leaning Senate District 21 also means being a party leader, helping to raise funds for Democrats and boosting turnout in your precincts to help the statewide ticket. To assist with that, Ryan already has many of the key Democratic activists in the area on board, including Shayla and John McCormally, Roxanne Conlin, Ryan Crane, Bill Ekhardt, Marcia Nichols and Julie Stauch. She also has AFSCME and the Central Iowa Building Trades backing her.

There’s a lot more recognizable names that have endorsed Ryan, more than necessary to list here. See the rest on her website.

Ryan faces Claire Celsi in the Democratic primary for the SD 21 nomination. The district covers the western part of Des Moines and the eastern part of West Des Moines. McCoy is running for supervisor. The primary is on June 5.


by Pat Rynard
Photo via candidate’s FB
Posted 5/28/18

7 Comments on "Community Leaders Back Connie Ryan By Wide Margin In Senate Primary"

    • Jeffrey, I can help with that. Here are just a few:

      Peace Officers for Good Government
      Bill Stowe – Clean Water Advocate
      Asian-Latino Coalition
      Sharon Malheiro – LGBTQ Activist
      Renee Hardman – West Des Moines City Councilperson At-Large
      Kevin Trevillyan – West Des Moines City Councilman Ward 1
      West Des Moines Association of Professional Firefighters & EMS IAFF
      Teamsters Local 238 (representing WDMPD)
      Natasha Newcomb – Des Moines School Board Member – District 3

  • Senate District 21 is lucky to have two strong Democratic candidates for this seat. Claire Celsi has been instrumental in helping ignite a statewide movement for public education in Iowa since the 2016 election through her work on the board of Iowans for Public Education. She was the main organizer of the March for Teachers and Public Workers on the eve of the collective bargaining debate, an event that brought roughly 5,000 Iowans to the steps of the state capitol. Her communications skills have helped us reach out across the state and grow our movement from a few hundred to 13,000+.

    Claire is a natural leader whose positive energy draws people to want to work with her. She is easy to get along with—it’s about the work, not her ego, and she wants to get it right. And Claire is a fighter, yet always upbeat and such a pleasure work with—very collaborative and a great listener. I know she will be a fierce defender of public education, and she has deep knowledge of a broad range of other issues facing Iowans as well. Given what a smart and hard campaigner she is, I know she can win her district in November. It has been my honor to endorse her, and to share that endorsement here.

    Karen Nichols, Board President, Iowans for Public Education

  • Patrick’s riff with Claire Celsi is pretty well known. This just shows, yet again, that Iowa Starting Line is just a blog and not a legitimate media site.

    • Not from me, Kim. It seems to only be Claire that enjoys trashing me behind the scenes all over the place. Which is stupid, because it resulted from a complete misunderstanding on her end that she then decided to go nuclear on for no reason.

  • Pat Rynard is quite unprofessional and biased. I will no longer follow this little blog as it is a fact that Connie Ryan poses as a conflict of interest with her position with Interfaith Alliance. Will she always be able to give us a voice? Will she be willing to step down if need be from her position to represent us? The answer is a resounding NO.

    The fact that Connie and Pat has tried to smear Claire’s good name says it all to me on who NOT TO VOTE FOR.

    • The distorted idea that Connie Ryan has a conflict of interest has only come out of Claire Celsi’s campaign, so it’s interesting that you’re suggesting others are smearing Claire when it’s obvious where attacks are coming from in this race. This story is simply talking about the endorsements that Connie has got, which are stories I often write on any number of races. There’s nothing negative about Claire in this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *