One Size Doesn’t Fit All Health Care Needs, Union President Says

Union workers who have spent decades bargaining for their health care plans might see all that negotiating go out the window under several Democratic proposals being discussed in the presidential race. Several candidates are backing versions of Medicare for All that would eliminate most private health care options. Members of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council have been putting portions of their paychecks into their group health and welfare fund for years. “If we negotiate a dollar an hour raise for our guys and our health and welfare fund doesn’t meet the dime or 20 cents that year, […]

Iowa’s Joni Ernst, Chuck Grassley Noncommittal On Gun Control

All eyes will turn to the Senate in September when lawmakers return to the Capitol with a host of issues to tackle, chief among them gun safety legislation already approved by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. In the wake of two August mass shootings that killed 31 people in two states, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a Louisville, Kentucky, radio station that discussions on background checks would be “front and center,” in addition to so-called red flag laws. Will the Republican-led Senate take up House Resolution 8, requiring background checks on all gun sales, or will it craft a […]

Interview: The Only Person Who Attended Steve King’s Forum

It was early Saturday morning, and Jessica Birch didn’t feel like getting out of bed. Hungover and tired, the 21-year-old University of Northern Iowa student could easily have turned off her alarm. But the night before, she saw a Facebook event for Congressman Steve King’s town hall forum in Grundy County come across her feed, and she felt a civic duty to attend. So, Birch forced herself out of bed and headed 17 miles down the road to the Grundy Center Community Center. She arrived to peculiar scene: out of the over 12,000 people that live in Grundy County, Birch […]

Iowans Find Emotional Refuge In Pete Buttigieg

Living in a country with a president who thrives on division can be emotionally taxing for Americans seeking a better way forward. That was the message several voters conveyed over two days of Pete Buttigieg campaign events last week in Southeast Iowa. “This helps,” said Joan Crowe, of rural Lee County, describing the despair and hopelessness she has felt during President Donald Trump’s administration. “Listening to people talk wisely and kindly, and noticing how many are here a whole year and two-three months before we will vote.” Crowe was awaiting Buttigieg’s arrival at a park along the Mississippi River in […]

Pete Buttigieg’s Plan To Protect Pregnant Women In Rural Areas

As the conversation about health care increasingly includes rural areas, the topic of maternal health is showing up in more places, too. This past week, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a health care plan targeted at rural America. In it are several provisions that provide increased support for pregnant and postpartum women. “It’s time to usher in a new era for rural America,” the plan reads. “That work begins by deploying investment and innovation to secure the health of all rural residents.” First off, Buttigieg plans to address the problem of declining numbers of providers for all kinds […]

After Active Shooting Training, Teacher Pleads With Joni Ernst On Guns

Questions on gun violence and the 2nd Amendment dominated a contentious town hall forum with Senator Joni Ernst in Johnston this morning. Over half the audience members who asked Ernst about various policies pressed her on her gun rights stance. Though Ernst scheduled her Polk County forum at 7:30 AM on a Saturday, a crowd of about 150 showed up to the suburban Wallace Elementary School auditorium. About two dozen Ernst supporters, decked out in campaign t-shirts, gathered in the parking lot beforehand and cheered and encouraged Ernst as she spoke. But they were considerably outnumbered by the many gun […]

Matson: Why I’m With Booker, A Candidate That Inspires

Guest post from State Representative Heather Matson of Ankeny. As a state legislator, and as an Iowa caucus-goer, I have been privileged to meet and get to know several of our Democratic presidential candidates. I first met Cory Booker last fall while he campaigned for Democratic candidates here in Iowa. During his events, as well as the multiple conversations we’ve had over the last several months, I have been struck by his thoughtfulness and attention to detail. I have noticed how often he asks Iowans for their opinions and how intently he listens to our ideas. I’ve realized that Cory […]

New TV Ad, Mobile Billboard Will Hit Joni Ernst On Health Care

For Iowans, politics at the State Fair is as inevitable as enjoying fried food on a stick. Like it or not, it’s there, and nearly inescapable. On Saturday, fairgoers won’t bump into many people running for president, but they might see Sen. Joni Ernst — on a billboard, that is. Along with a picture of Ernst, the mobile billboard will display her phone number in the Senate — (202) 915-9462 — and a message: “Tell Her To Stop Voting To Gut Our Health Care.” “We need Senator Ernst to stop supporting increases in our health care costs, especially on older […]

End Citizens United To Candidates: Talk Campaign Finance Reform

From gun control legislation to immigration reform and health care policy, presidential candidates have no shortage of issues to talk with Iowa voters about as they traverse the state ahead of February’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. End Citizens United, a nationwide organization dedicated to ridding politics of corporate financing, has a different, top-line issue on its mind: campaign finance reform. Not only does the group want candidates to emphasize their agenda in Iowa and the Democratic primary, they want it carried out in the White House. “We’ve called on the entire presidential field to make comprehensive anti-corruption reform legislation the very first […]

Iowa Farmers To Trump: “You’re Stabbing Us In The Back”

Iowa farmers are furious over a recent major decision from Donald Trump’s EPA that is undercutting corn growers in favor of oil companies. Robb Ewoldt, a farmer from Northeast Iowa, expressed his frustrations to Starting Line in a conversation this week. “We got to get somebody in the White House to hear, ‘you know, we were with you, we voted for you, we understand the trade-war issue, but we don’t understand why you’re stabbing us in the back with this EPA and these exemptions,’” Ewoldt said. “We’re tired of just falling in line, we need to voice our opinions a […]