May Day basket full of people’s thoughts delivered to Zach Nunn’s office

Left image shows a basket held up to the camera containing Payday candy bars and orange and yellow cards with people's comments. Visible text references the Affordable Care Act. The most visible card reads: "Health care costs are out of control for many people. The Affordable Care Act is valuable and needs to be protected. Paula, Des Moines. Right image shows Matt Sinovic handing the basket to a staffer for Rep. Zach Nunn, in front of Nunn's Des Moines office. They both have their hands on the basket and have neutral expressions.

Left: The May Day basket Right: Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa, handing the basket over to a member of Rep. Zach Nunn's staff.

By Nikoel Hytrek

May 1, 2024

The basket contains comments, critiques and pleas from Rep. Zach Nunn’s constituents across Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District

Constituents of Rep. Zach Nunn (R-Iowa) delivered a May Day basket full of messages to staff at his Des Moines office Wednesday afternoon.

“Everyone knows the tradition of giving a May Day basket, where you give well-wishes or treats to a neighbor or friend or family member. We’re doing that with the congressman” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa.

Progress Iowa is one of seven groups that make up the coalition behind Fairness for Iowa, a grassroots group created to monitor Nunn’s voting record and hold him accountable to his constituents. Nunn was elected in 2022, defeating Democrat Cindy Axne to represent Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Des Moines. Nunn is up for re-election in November’s general election.

Voting record

The May Day basket had about 100 messages from constituents voicing their concerns about Nunn’s votes against Social Security, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, workers’ rights, and more. It also held two kinds of candy bars: Payday and 100 Grand.

Another basket was delivered at Nunn’s Ottumwa office at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

“While we’re giving those to Congressman Nunn’s staff—and we hope they enjoy them—we also hope that they hear that message that it’s working families that need the payday, not corporations,” Sinovic said. “And the 100 Grand bar represents that he should be working for working families, not big money.”

The group specifically criticized Nunn’s 2023 vote for the “Limit, Save Grow Act” which would have raised the debt ceiling in exchange for expanded work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other safety net programs, prohibited student debt relief, and squashed many green energy transition efforts, among many other conservative priorities.

Nunn has also voted to cut corporate taxes.

“The people who are speaking out view these as failed priorities and a failed record for the Congressman so we really hope he listens to his constituents’ voices,” Sinovic said.

Lack of public events

Fairness for Iowa also criticized the fact Nunn hasn’t held any public meetings to listen directly to constituents. Any meetings, Sinovic said, have not been publicized beforehand. That makes him the only member of Iowa’s federal delegation who hasn’t held public events.

Staff at Nunn’s office have been more open to talking to the group, though, Sinovic said.

“They’ve said that he meets people around the district, and we know that he does because we occasionally you see a news story about that, but it’s always after the fact. It’s never promoted in advance,” Sinovic said.

“If you really want to hear the concerns of your constituents, you would say to come and meet you in public at an event where they could ask questions directly and you would give people notice of that,” he continued.

  • Nikoel Hytrek

    Nikoel Hytrek is Iowa Starting Line’s longest-serving reporter. She covers LGBTQ issues, abortion rights and all topics of interest to Iowans. Her biggest goal is to help connect the dots between policy and people’s real lives. If you have story ideas or tips, send them over to [email protected].

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