What A Despicable Week In American Politics

Following the day’s political news in Donald Trump’s America is an exhausting affair. Every week that you think we’ve hit rock bottom as a country, Trump and others find new, inventive ways to disgrace the nation and humanity. The past seven days have been particularly awful, making you wonder where this country is headed. The president’s racist inclinations were on full, divisive display this week, starting with his attacks on NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest racial inequality. There are times that Trump has stoked white racial animus in order to rally his base or distract […]

Scenes From The Polk County Democrats Steak Fry

The Steak Fry returned to Iowa in style today, with perfect weather greeting about 1,500 Democrats to Des Moines Water Works Park. The Polk County Democrats pulled off a successful revival of the Tom Harkin tradition, recreating the feel of the annual event that often attracted national speakers and press. The white tents were pitched, candidates flipped steaks, a giant American flag flew behind the stage and campaigns marched noisy supporters into the event. A trio of national rising stars in the Democratic Party – Congresspersons Tim Ryan, Cheri Bustos and Seth Moulton – keynoted the event. And candidates for […]

Like Father, Like Son: Nate Boulton’s Campaign Is A Union Family Affair

When State Senator Nate Boulton received the endorsement of Steelworkers Local 310 at their union hall earlier this year, he was in a familiar place. Boulton and his family travelled from their home in Columbus Junction to the Des Moines labor headquarters for Christmas parties a few times when he was in elementary school. But growing up in a union family, he also saw first-hand the tough fights that organized labor went through, attending strikes and rallies. Those experiences shaped his life and his current bid to be Iowa’s next governor. Much of what Nate learned came from his father, […]

In Tough Days With Patients, Andy McGuire Saw Real Cost Of Insurance Crisis

It wasn’t long into Dr. Andy McGuire’s medical career when she came face-to-face with the impossible choices parents face in a country with a broken healthcare system. When a younger patient came in for an exam over a bad form of Thyroid disease, the parents stood nervously in the back of the room. Both farmers, they didn’t have insurance through their job and couldn’t afford it on their own. “I still remember the guy writing a check, and I said, ‘No, that’s taken care of somewhere else,’” McGuire told Starting Line. “But he was so concerned about the money. Most […]

Will Auditor Mary Mosiman Do Her Job On Funny Budget Numbers?

Something doesn’t add up with Governor Kim Reynolds’ budget numbers. After an entire year of state revenue coming in under predictions time and again, with Republicans making painful cuts to essential services and borrowing from the rainy day fund, Iowa’s fiscal situation suddenly drastically improved – just in time to avoid a special session. Despite Iowa looking at an $104 million shortfall when Fiscal Year 2017 ended this summer, the state found enough money through various accruals that it only needed $14.6 million more to finish off the year, easily under the $50 million that Reynolds had the authority to […]

Kim Reynolds Signals Willingness To Push Ugly Racial Issues In 2018

Beset by nonstop stories about Iowa’s worsening budget crisis, Governor Kim Reynolds has been looking for a way to change the discussion in local political news. So on Monday she took a page out of her favorite racist president’s playbook and criticized the players who were participating in kneeling protests at NFL games. “While I respect the First Amendment, I just think it is so disrespectful to the men and women who have served,” Reynolds said. “And I would encourage them to get out there and do something. Don’t take a knee, get out there and make a difference. Engage. […]

Can An Old Economic Justice Fighter Win Over The New Progressives?

Just about everyone who’s been involved in Iowa politics for more than a decade knows who John Norris is. But if you are a younger Democrat, a progressive who got inspired by Bernie Sanders’ campaign or just someone who became involved after the Vilsack years, you might not. And those folks might look at Norris’ resume through the lens of the 2016 presidential primary and see an old guard, establishment insider: former chief of staff to the governor, former IDP chair, a USDA official and utilities board chair. That, however, wouldn’t be an accurate read of the man who has […]

Outside Des Moines Bubble, Governor Race Opinions Still Mostly Unformed

Around the Des Moines metro, over tallboys at Carl’s and coffee mugs at Scenic Route, in the hallways of East Village consulting firms and in nonprofit board rooms, the Democratic gubernatorial race is the talk of the town. Outside of there? Eh, not so much. It’s been nearly nine months since the first Democratic candidate jumped in the race (Rich Leopold, who, along with several others, have since jumped out), with countless announcements, speeches and candidate cattle-calls since. We’re at seven candidates now, five of which are running full campaigns with staff and infrastructure and backing. They’ve filled Facebook feeds […]

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 […]