Abby Finkenauer Nabs Important Laborers Endorsement

State Representative Abby Finkenauer added another key group to her list of supporters in Democrats’ 1st District primary this week. The Great Plains Laborers have endorsed Finkenauer, making them the seventh labor union to support her in her bid to take on Republican Congressman Rod Blum. “Having grown up in a union home, Abby knows that building a fair and thriving economy means defending the rights of workers,” said Danny Hemminger, business manager and secretary-treasurer of LIUNA Local 43. “From day one in the state house, Abby has stood up to corporate special interests and fought for hard-working Iowa families. […]

Snubbing Pat Grassley Would Be Dumb Politics

Governor Kim Reynolds has a decision to make: who to appoint as outgoing Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey’s replacement. Northey, after a very long wait, was finally appointed to be the Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation in Donald Trump’s USDA. He’ll still have to wait a while more, however, until the Senate acts on the nomination, which Chuck Grassley indicated could be as soon as October or as late as next year. Northey won’t resign his current job until his confirmation is finished, so Reynolds has some time to mull over her choice. For years Iowa political insiders and […]

Here Comes Another Special Election (For Bill Anderson’s Seat)

Republican State Senator Bill Anderson announced today he will be resigning from the Legislature to take a job as the executive director for the Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation. He told the Sioux City Journal that he’s working with Governor Kim Reynold’s office on when exactly that resignation would take place so that his replacement would be ready for next year’s legislative session. Anderson represents Senate District 3, which basically wraps around Sioux City. It covers nearly all of Plymouth County, the Morningside area of Sioux City, Sergeant Bluff and most of rural Woodbury County. He was first elected in 2010 […]

Austin Frerick Proposes Farm Bill Plan To Save Leopold Center

Governor Terry Branstad’s line-item veto earlier this year of a provision that would have eliminated Iowa’s Leopold Center was little comfort to conservation advocates considering Republicans slashed nearly all the program’s funding. The Leopold Center focuses on sustainable agriculture research, and its defunding was seen as part of a continuing Republican effort to undermine clean water projects. So 3rd Congressional District candidate Austin Frerick is proposing going around state government actors entirely to keep the center operating. Frerick is rolling out a new policy idea today that would establish a reliable source of federal funding for the Leopold Center and […]

Fear Fails Again In Fairfield

One more chapter came to a close in Fairfield, Iowa’s long-running controversy over transgender bathrooms, this one perhaps the last. A large number of conservative candidates running for the Fairfield School Board in response to the district following state and national policy on transgender bathroom use were routed on Tuesday night. Four candidates who defended the town’s LGBTQ community and the policy won the four at-large seats, aided by unprecedented voter turnout for the local race. Debate over the issue has roiled the Southeast Iowa town of 10,200 people since early last year. A May 2016 bullying incident where a […]

An Iowa Politics Primer Guide For Students

School has been back in session across Iowa for college and high school students for a few weeks now. While Donald Trump is certainly a constant topic of discussion, important Iowa campaigns are well underway for governor, Congress, the Iowa Legislature and other statewide offices. Starting Line thought it’d be helpful to put together a simple primer guide all in one place for those races and the overall dynamics of Iowa politics to help students who want to get a good baseline knowledge of what’s happening. Many politically-engaged students will already know this information. But perhaps they have out-of-state friends […]

Progressives Get Look At Future Leaders, Medicare-For-All Pitch At Corn Feed

Under a hot September sun, progressive activists, Democrats and issue advocates gathered this weekend for the third annual Progress Iowa Corn Feed. Three prominent out-of-state leaders keynoted the event: Center For American Progress president Neera Tanden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley. Merkley and Buttigieg’s profiles have been on the rise in Democratic politics recently. Merkley has been a leader on a new Medicare-for-all plan in the Senate, and is rumored to be considering a presidential run. Buttigieg, a 35-year-old mayor, unsuccessfully ran for DNC chair and has traveled the country recently to promote his new […]

Did DMACC Get Too Involved In Trustee Board Race?

What’s the proper role for a school administration in public elections for their governing board, whether it be for a community college board of trustees or a school board? For publicly funded institutions, the law is pretty clear: neutrality. You wouldn’t think to see the superintendent of the Des Moines Public Schools out campaigning for specific candidates to sit on the board that oversees him. But supporters of two candidates who are challenging incumbent DMACC trustee board members think the community college went too far this year in indicating their preference. It’s the latest flash point in the ongoing fallout […]

O’Malley Backs Boulton; Will Other 2020 Hopefuls Endorse?

Frequent Iowa traveler Martin O’Malley lent Nate Boulton a hand this week in his gubernatorial bid, endorsing the senator on Tuesday and holding a fundraiser for him in Des Moines on Friday tonight. It was an expected move for the 2016 presidential candidate, who was supported by Boulton during his Iowa Caucus bid. But will O’Malley’s endorsement be the first of many of White House hopefuls choosing a side in Iowa’s many large primary fields? It depends. The O’Malley and Boulton connection is unique: O’Malley had a tight-knit, fiercely loyal groups of supporters during the Iowa Caucus, Boulton among them. […]

They’re Back: Chances To See Potential 2020ers This Week

What does the future leaders of the Democratic Party and issue advocacy look like? Iowans will get several chances in the coming weeks to get a glimpse of a few possibilities. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigeg will headline Progress Iowa’s annual Corn Feed fundraiser this Saturday, along with Center For American Progress President Neera Tanden. Merkley and Buttigeg have both been mentioned as potential 2020 presidential candidates in the wide-open Democratic primary. Merkley’s stock in some progressive circles has been on the rise after he was the only senator to endorse Bernie Sanders […]