I Actually Worked For Fred Hubbell. He’s The Governor We Need

Guest post from Mark Holub, who worked at Younkers 1986 to 1996. In 1986, I was hired as the Director of Visual Merchandising for Younkers and I worked with Fred Hubbell regularly. I remember a conversation I had with Fred early on in my tenure when we were touring one of the branch stores. His observation was simple: for thousands of Iowans, Younkers was often their “first job.” He said it was our obligation to keep the stores strong and growing to maintain that tradition of helping Iowans throughout the state start their professional lives. He took that as a very serious […]

About 100,000 Iowa Households Can’t Meet Basic Needs

From the Iowa Policy Project. Our 6th edition of The Cost of Living in Iowa finds that roughly 100,000 Iowa working households are unable to make basic needs. [1] Put another way, about 17 percent — or 1 in 6 — households cannot get by on their income alone. It is a critical number that should inform countless public policy discussions for the remainder of 2018 and on into the next legislative session. Part One of this report details how much working families must earn in order to meet their basic needs, while Part Two estimates the number and proportion of Iowa working households able to earn enough. […]

Migrant Family Separation and Detention: Violating the Constitution

Guest piece from Caleb Gates, a refugee case manager and advocacy specialist in Cedar Rapids. He read this as a speech at a recent Families Belong Together Rally. We, the people of the United States, immigrants and descendants of immigrants, denounce the separation and detention of immigrant families by our government. President Trump’s policies separate families through ICE workplace raids, the deportation of longtime US residents with citizen children, and the termination of programs such as Temporary Protected Status and DACA. Simple misdemeanors like public intoxication, trespassing, loitering, or possession of marijuana detain and separate immigrants from their families. President […]

Consequences For Voter Suppression Coming To An Iowa District Near You

A guest post from Zack Davis, the state director for Jason Kander’s Let America Vote organization in Iowa. Photo of a Let America Vote intern knocking doors for a state legislative candidate in West Des Moines. On May 5th, 2017, our state — long seen as a leader in voter participation and election integrity — took a big step backward with the passage of House File 516. Instead of lowering barriers and increasing access to the ballot for Iowans, the legislation championed by Secretary of State Paul Pate injected partisan politics into the voting process, instituting an unnecessary and confusing […]

Don’t Lose Hope, But Do Accept Responsibility

A guest piece from Cody Woodruff, ISU student and school board member. “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” -Elie Wiesel Since the story about sexual misconduct allegations against Senator Nate Boulton broke, I’ve been struggling with a torrent of thoughts and emotions. Sadness that this ever took place; anger at Nate; and heartbreak for the women who came forward, his wife Andrea, and the many young people who believed in him. These actions are inexcusable, but, as difficult as it’s been to reconcile with them, I’m glad […]

Democrats To Train High Schoolers With “Democracy Summer” Program

Guest post via Josh Hughes, school board member and Drake University student. For years, Democrats did little to build the bench of their party by engaging with young people. When we did, the focus was always on college-aged voters. The investments were only made in those who might actually be able to vote for Democrats—not a bad strategy for an organization dedicated to winning votes. However, in doing so, Democrats failed to engage a large portion of the population—those too young yet to vote. Almost no resources at the national or local levels were allocated to engage those under age […]

Don’t Be Afraid Of A Real Debate In Governor’s Race

Guest post from ISU student Cody Woodruff. Like many other viewers of the first Democratic gubernatorial primary debate, I was disappointed with the lack of an actual debate. I may have made my decision of who to support long ago, but I still wanted to see how the candidates would interact with one another under the spotlight of a debate stage. It brings a whole new pressure with verbal sparring and jabs intended to elicit a reaction, and all of this is necessary in order to distinguish between the candidates and figure out who’s the best to go head-to-head with […]

What The 6-Week Abortion Ban Means To This Pregnant Iowan

This past weekend, my husband and I breathed a sigh of relief as we crossed the threshold of fetal viability: this is the point in gestation—23 weeks—at which a fetus can have a reasonable chance of surviving in a NICU should some series of complications lead to preterm labor. Of course, there is a reason a fetus gestates for forty weeks; if ours did make an arrival this week, we would likely be looking at a months-long NICU stay, an inconceivably large bill, untold stress, and the certainty of an uncertain future as far as the baby’s health is concerned. […]

Gone But Not Forgotten – Labor’s Struggles With Itself

A guest post from Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Friese. Each year at the end of April, Labor organizers across the country hold a vigil of remembrance called “Workers Memorial Day.”  Here in Johnson County, it was just this past Friday.  We gathered to remember and to hear speeches, but more importantly to hear the names and stories of the 36 workers who lost their lives on the job in Iowa in 2017. Many in attendance lined up to read from a notecard about such a story. As each is read, the gathered crowd chants together, “Gone, but not forgotten.”  It […]

Waxman: Congress Needs Environmental Leaders Like Heckroth

Guest post from former California Congressman Henry Waxman As a long-time member of the U.S. Congress and as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, protecting the environment for current and future generations was one of my top priorities. Throughout the 1980s, I defended the Clean Air Act against attacks by President Reagan, and later helped pass strengthening amendments enacted under President George H.W. Bush. We’ve improved and saved countless lives by limiting urban smog, acid rain, and other toxic air pollution. I introduced the first bill on climate change back in 1992. Having retired from Congress, I am […]