Senator Bernie Sanders is unveiling his first slate of key endorsements from Iowa progressive leaders today. Among them are some local elected officials and party leaders who were first mobilized to activism from Sanders’ previous presidential run, including LULAC State Director Nick Salazar, Dubuque City Councilwoman Kate Larson, and IDP Central Committee Member Emma Schmit.
“This incredible group of endorsers are some of the most well-known progressive voices that Iowa has to offer,” Misty Rebik, Sanders’ state director, said in a statement. “Together with our 25,000-strong volunteer base in the state, these progressive Iowans will help us build on our grassroots movement and win on caucus night.”
The other early backers on Sanders’ list are Lone Tree Mayor Jonathan Green, former State Senator Beverly Hannon, Waterloo City Councilman Patrick Morrissey, Polk County Democrats Membership Committee Chair Chris Morse, Poweshiek County Supervisor Jason Roudabush, and Fairfield School Board Member Kelly Scott.
“Since the summer of 2015, I have been a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders,” said Morse, who also sought party leadership positions after Sanders’ 2016 run. “His consistent call for us to be involved in our democracy is exactly what our country needs. His leadership inspires me to do everything I can to empower others to be active in their communities and the Democratic party.”
Very few Iowa elected officials or party leaders endorsed Sanders in his 2016 caucus run, though some Sanders supporters might describe that as a feature, not a bug of that campaign. This time around, he starts with the largest built-in volunteer base of the field by far, and many of his best activists from that time have since expanded their own local, personal networks in politics since.
Sanders has also steadily increased his Iowa campaign operation, reuniting top staffers from his previous bid, while also hiring from the ranks of other recent progressive Iowa campaigns.
“One of the many reasons I support Bernie Sanders is that he is and has been steadfast on the issues he champions,” said Hannon, who once chaired the Iowa Senate’s Human Resources committee. “I am impressed that he declines big contributions from industry or special interest groups, which many presidential candidates accept, and instead depends primarily on ordinary people to contribute. Bernie is not afraid to stand in a protest line for better wages for workers.”
Sanders will join most of the rest of the Democratic field in Iowa this weekend for the party’s Hall of Fame Dinner in Cedar Rapids and the Pride Fest in Des Moines. He plans on marching with McDonald’s workers fighting for a $15/hour minimum wage and a union on Sunday.
by Pat Rynard
Photo by Julie Fleming