What Kirsten Gillibrand Thought Of Her First Iowa Trip

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand made her inaugural visit to Iowa this weekend, forging through a snowstorm to meet local Democratic activists here for the first time. She delivered an impassioned speech at the Iowa Women’s March, shared a beer with Des Moines caucus-goers at a brewery, and hosted meet-and-greets in coffee shops in Sioux City, Boone and Ames. Starting Line sat down with Senator Gillibrand this afternoon for an interview. The following is the highlights of what we spoke about, along with a couple photos from today’s events.   You’ve only been in Iowa a day and a half, […]

IA-04 Poll: Steve King’s Support Sinking Back Home, Dem Leads Matchup

Congressman Steve King faces worsening reelection prospects in Iowa’s very conservative 4th District, trailing a generic Democratic candidate by eight points. A new poll of the Northwest Iowa district shows King garnering just 37% of likely voters, while 45% say they’d vote for “whatever Democrat runs.” A hypothetical rematch with his 2018 opponent J.D. Scholten has King at 39% and Scholten at 44%. A sizable portion of the electorate would also like to see King resign outright from Congress. 43% of respondents said King should resign; 44% believed he should not. The poll was commissioned by the Majority Rules PAC […]

Public Workers Demand GOP Keeps Their IPERS Promise

Current and former public employees rallied in support of the Iowa Public Employee Retirement System (IPERS) at the Iowa State Capitol on Monday. The speakers expressed fear that Republicans may attempt to move IPERS, the defined benefit program to a 401(k) type retirement plan. The press conference was organized by Progress Iowa. They have many reasons to be concerned as both Governor Kim Reynolds and Republican House Speaker Linda Upmeyer have expressed contradictory positions on IPERS. During the recent campaign they both promised IPERS is safe in the current form. “As governor, I am reiterating that this promise will be […]

You Don’t Solve Problems By Taking Hostages

I’m not sure you can get Republicans and Democrats to agree on many things these days — not even on motherhood and apple pie. Some people believe a wall along the border with Mexico is a national security priority and is necessary to stop the movement of migrants into the United States. Others think the $5 billion at the center of the border wall dispute could be better spent on additional border agents, more drones and sophisticated new security technology. Each of us has an opinion in this debate. But we all should be able to agree on this one […]

A Possible Solution For The Shutdown

After having served as a lobbyist for a number of groups I learned one important thing: the larger the number of people contacting Congress on a specific topic, the bigger the chance of success. The key here is that everybody also needs to support the same plan. It needs more than folks saying they want to go back to work. Regarding border security, most experts agree that there are a few additional places a fence, wall, or some other kind of barricade would be useful. It’s also important to include in the proposal monies to pay for added personnel and […]

Off We Go: John Delaney Opens First Iowa Caucus Office

The campaign for Democratic candidate John Delaney opened their first official Iowa Caucus offices today, including one in Des Moines on Ingersoll Avenue. If Delaney wanted you to take one thing away from this latest event in Iowa, it’s that he’s got a plan. He has a policy proposal and a pitch for everything curious Iowans threw at him. Questions from many of the 50 people in attendance represented nearly the full gambit of issues for Democratic voters: gun control, the separation of church and state, climate change, immigration reform, healthcare, Citizens United and gerrymandering. In an interview with Starting […]

Who’s Wasting Your Tax Dollars? And Who’s Watching?

During most of my career at the Des Moines Register, all purchases for the news staff and all expense reimbursement claims went through the newsroom’s business manager. Through the years, there was turnover in the job. But two people held the job for much of that time, and they had one common trait: They examined each purchase and each expense form as if the money were being paid out of their own bank account, not from the company’s. Judging from news reports in recent weeks, there are government entities in Iowa that need clones of Vern and Marsha to look […]

Even GOP Congressman On Texas Border Says Wall Is A Waste

President Trump is going to the U.S.-Mexico border this week. If Trump really wants to get the advice of a border expert, he should meet with GOP Texas Congressman Will Hurd. What better expert on the most effective border security than a Texas Congressman whose district covers the largest section of the U.S.-Mexican border? Republican Congressman Will Hurd’s Texas district stretches 800 miles from San Antonio to the outskirts of El Paso. His district spans 1/3 of the total U.S.-Mexican border. Hurd in a Washington Post piece said this about the need for a border wall. “In fact, building a […]

What Elizabeth Warren’s Iowa Swing Told Us About 2020

It would be hard to call Senator Elizabeth Warren’s well-attended and well-organized inaugural trip to Iowa as anything other than a very successful introduction to Iowa Caucus-goers. A little under 3,000 people showed up to see Warren pitch her biography, policy priorities and vision for America across Iowa. For almost all those at her events, it was their first time seeing the 2020 contender in person. But what was particularly interesting from Warren’s visit was just who was in that crowd and what that might tell us about Warren’s chances, Democrats’ enthusiasm as a whole, and the progressive lane of […]

Julian Castro To Make Iowa Trip Before Announcement

Julian Castro will make a one-day visit out to Eastern Iowa on Monday, Starting Line hears from sources involved in the trip. The likely soon-to-be presidential candidate will hold small meetings with elected officials, community leaders and Democratic activists in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and some small towns in the surrounding area. Castro’s quick visit will come several days before he makes an official announcement on his plans for a presidential run from San Antonio, Texas on Saturday, January 12. Considering he’s also visiting New Hampshire a few days after that announcement, it’s essentially all but certain this will be […]