Finkenauer Brings Biodiesel Concerns Over Trump To Congress

Photo: Finkenauer meeting with farmers in district earlier this month. Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer wasted no time this week jumping back into her work in Washington after a long summer recess in the 1st District. On Tuesday, as chair of the Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship, Finkenauer led a hearing on the clean energy economy. “The clean energy economy has had an especially beneficial impact on small towns and rural areas,” said Finkenauer, an outspoken advocate for Iowa’s renewable energy sector and agriculture industries. “Rural communities in the Midwest, in states like Iowa, have experienced […]

Will Joni Ernst Vote For Another Nominee With ‘Disturbing’ Record?

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a controversial potential judicial nominee for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Protesters could be heard outside the proceedings. Inside, Republicans and Democrats both questioned Steven Menashi over columns he wrote in the past and criticized him for refusing to answer some of them. While at Dartmouth, Menashi worked for the conservative student newspaper and he was questioned by Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island about a specific piece he wrote which compared college applications that listed race to Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws, written in 1935. Menashi said in […]

Iowa’s New Normal: Constant, Worsening Floods

As Cedar Rapids city councilman Dale Todd took a lap around his bustling district on a recent Friday afternoon, he paused before reaching a neighborhood tavern, Parlor City, which stands adjacent to the sprawling NewBo City Market. “This was where community members would meet to discuss how we’d rebuild the neighborhood,” said Todd. “We’re probably one of the most resilient communities in the country.” It’s hard to imagine the area, now nearly fully developed, engulfed in flood water that devastated the city more than a decade ago. Disaster remediation tactics have gradually improved despite a lack of swift federal funding, […]

Bullock Spends Debate Night In Iowa With Christie Vilsack, Tom Miller

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock may not have been on the debate stage yesterday night, but he was at the next-best thing: a room filled with Iowa caucus-goers. “There’s probably only one place I’d rather be than Clive tonight,” Bullock joked to the Iowans at his event at Granite City Brewery. Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack told the crowd of 50 gathered to hear from Bullock that she thinks “having only one governor in the race is unfortunate.” Vilsack hasn’t endorsed Bullock, and said she planned to watch Thursday night’s presidential debate at home alone, but she did offer the […]

Caucus Activists, Local Leaders Endorse Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is rolling out their first big batch of endorsers following last night’s Democratic debate. Fifteen well-known Iowa activists are publicly throwing their support behind Warren for the Iowa Caucus, hailing from cities and small towns alike. Among the new endorsers are former state legislators Mark Kuhn of Charles City and Kurt Swaim of Bloomfield; city councilmembers Silvia Quezada of University Heights, Lauren Whitehead of Solon and Jose Zacarias of West Liberty; and some progressive business leaders like Zack Mannheimer and Veronica Tessler of Iowa City. Warren also has some local activists skilled at caucus organizing like Cindy […]

Iowa Starting Line Expands Again

It may be getting crowded in the Iowa Starting Line office these days, but we are very excited to share with you our second major expansion of the year. With these new additions, Starting Line now has more full-time political reporters than any other news outlet in Iowa. We are bringing on yet another issue beat reporter for the Iowa Caucus: Isabella Murray will be covering both climate change and affordable housing issues. We’re particularly happy to be able to direct more attention to housing concerns, something that’s been getting talked about more on the campaign trail but doesn’t always […]

Who Iowans Liked At Tonight’s Debate Watch Parties

Iowans gathered at debate watch parties throughout the state to watch the ten leading Democratic candidates square off at the latest debate. As always, your Starting Line team was out at many debate watch parties across Central Iowa, from a Drake University gathering with new students to a Salvadorian restaurant where attendees watched the debate on Telemundo. Here’s what Iowans thought about the candidates at neutral watch parties: Drake University College students, many of them freshman at one of their first political events, met at the Drake student union to take in the debate. Wyatt Van Dyke, 18, Lake Geneva, […]

Joni Ernst’s Long History With Social Security Changes

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s idea to make changes to Social Security haunted her first election campaign in 2014. In 2020, the issue has come back to challenge her re-election bid. In 2014, then-candidate Ernst considered using Social Security payroll taxes to create personal savings accounts for anyone entering the workforce. Rivals scrutinized her plan in a series of advertisements. In one, she was accused of “privatizing Social Security, gambling our savings in the stock market.” Another ad, released by the League of Conservation voters, says: “That’s Joni Ernst, talking about risking thousands of Iowans’ Social Security on Wall Street.” Now, […]

Kamala Harris Iowa Campaign Powered By “Blue Wave” Women

Shortly after Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, the Iowa Capitol grounds filled with a sea of women newly engaged in politics, ready to take action at the state’s first Women’s March. But could they keep that enthusiasm up all the way through the election, people asked. They did, volunteering for Democratic campaigns, propelling Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne to Congress and women like Kristin Sunde, Jennifer Konfrst, Karin Derry, Heather Matson and Molly Donahue to the Iowa House. But would they stick around for the nitty-gritty work of the Iowa Caucus and the next presidential race, others wondered. They […]