A guest post in support of Kamala Harris from Vanessa Phelan and Victor Dutchuk, two neighborhood Democratic leaders in Polk County.
As the chairs of the Northwest Des Moines Democrats and the West Des Moines Democrats, we spend our free time on grassroots activism. We’re the volunteers you might spot holding a picnic with presidential candidates or registering voters at a neighborhood festival.
In 2018, we turned out the vote in key communities, helping to elect a slate of exciting, progressive Democrats – many of whom are women.
As people who do the work of getting Iowans involved in our democracy, we know that 2020 requires a presidential candidate who will inspire more people to caucus and vote. We need a candidate with the ideas and charisma to create a broad coalition, plus the tenacity and experience to fulfill her promises.
We believe that candidate is Senator Kamala Harris.
Senator Harris has demonstrated the courage to take on the most important issues and the ability to stand toe to toe with any opponent.
Take one issue: the gender pay gap.
On average in Iowa, white women make $10,600 less than men, earning 79 cents to a man’s dollar, while black women earn 61 cents and Latinas 57 cents. To close this gap, Senator Harris would require large corporations to report salary data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If companies do not pay men and women equally for the same work, they would pay a fine. If faced with an intransigent Congress, she would take executive action and require federal contractors to prove they have no pay gap before bidding on contracts.
These measures would put a substantial amount of money into Iowans’ pockets. We have confidence in Senator Harris’s ability to make this happen because she has successfully battled large corporations before. As California’s Attorney General, she took big banks to court over the foreclosure crisis and won $20 billion for homeowners in her state.
Take another issue: Senator Harris understands that a strong, educated middle class is the key to a vibrant economy.
Throughout her career, she has put great emphasis on quality education, as demonstrated most recently with her proposal to increase teacher pay. Her proposal to increase Iowa teacher salaries by an average of $12,200 a year is an attempt to close another pay gap – the gap between teachers and similarly educated professionals.
In addition to the priorities she shares with everyday Americans, Senator Harris certainly has the ability to inspire. We have seen her make crowds cheer, laugh and dream about a country where truth and justice matter. We’ve seen her listen to Iowans’ personal concerns and give them hope that a country that works for everyone is still possible.
She understands that the character of our country is measured by how we treat those who are most in need. It’s a country where an American woman who has been told to “go back home” because of the color of her skin will be the next President of the United States.
Kamala Harris is for the people and we are for her. Please join our efforts to ensure Democratic victory in 2020. We believe the first step is to caucus for Senator Harris in Iowa this February.
by Vanessa Phelan, Northwest Des Moines Democrats Chair, and Victor Dutchuk, West Des Moines Democrats chair
Photo by Julie Fleming