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 […]

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 […]

Kyrstin Delagardelle Shelley Pushes For More Inclusive DSM Schools In Campaign

The elections for school board in Iowa are fast approaching, the first big round of races that are seeing new leaders step up in the wake of the 2016 outcome. One candidate that’s drawing a lot of attention in Central Iowa is Kyrstin Delagardelle Shelley, who was recently endorsed by the Des Moines Education Association and a host of other labor unions. She’s one of three contenders on the September 12 ballot competing for two at-large Des Moines school board seats. A teacher/librarian at Northview Middle School in Ankeny, this is Shelley’s first bid for public office. The election results […]

Candidate Updates: Kiernan In, Carberry & Blake Out, Glasson Maybe

While the Donald Trump presidency disintegrates before the nation’s eyes in non-stop breaking news stories, local politics marches on in Iowa. Let’s do a quick round-up of recent news. Des Moines City Council The race for Des Moines City Council Ward 3 originally promised to be a closely-watched battle between longtime Republican incumbent Christine Hensley and Democratic environmental attorney Josh Mandelbaum. Hensley decided to retire from the seat instead a few weeks ago, and now the matchup will be between two well-known Des Moines Democrats (for now, anyway). Former IDP Chair Michael Kiernan officially entered the race yesterday, focusing his […]

Polk County Legislators Line Up Behind Josh Mandelbaum

Environmental attorney Josh Mandelbaum’s path to winning a Des Moines City Council seat got easier last month when Christine Hensley announced she was retiring. However, there’s now chatter about other potential candidates considering a run in the heavily-Democratic ward. Another Republican (or independent) may launch a bid, but it’s highly unlikely any would have the type of deep ties Hensley did that allowed her to win such a district. The eventual race may resemble a Democratic primary more than anything else. Mandelbaum already has a significant head start, especially after his $110,000 fundraising haul in his campaign’s first three weeks. He […]

Josh Mandelbaum Scares Christine Hensley Into Retirement

In news that shocked the Des Moines political world, longtime City Councilwoman Christine Hensley announced she would not seek reelection in 2017. The Republican representing a deeply-Democratic seat was already facing what likely would have been her toughest race yet in her 24-year career on the council. Environmental attorney Josh Mandelbaum kicked off his candidacy last month and had already put together an impressive campaign. He had planned to roll out new fundraising numbers and endorsements tomorrow to demonstrate continuing momentum. [Update] Mandelbaum’s campaign informs Starting Line that Mandelbaum has raised over $110,000 in the three weeks he’s been a candidate. They’ve recruited […]

Running For Iowa School Boards More Important Than Ever Now

Guest post from Josh Hughes, Iowa’s youngest school board member It has been a rough, rough few weeks for public education both in Iowa and nationwide. Last Monday, Iowa House and Senate Republicans underfunded Iowa schools with a meager 1.1% increase in public education allocations, the third-lowest amount since 1973. Then on Tuesday the United States Senate voted to confirm Betsy DeVos, a woman whose only notable contribution to the world of education has primarily been monetary gifts to the Republican Party. Finally, this week Republicans at the Iowa Capitol, after ignoring thousands of calls and emails in opposition to the […]

2017 Race To Watch: Des Moines City Council, Christine Hensley

While frustrated Democratic activists and voters are vowing to unseat Republican legislators in 2018 for their recent votes, an earlier test for the party out of power looms in 2017: municipal races. City councils, mayor’s offices and school boards will be on the ballot in September and November of 2017. And though many races are technically nonpartisan, it’s usually pretty easy to tell who the Democrat and who the Republican is in the race. That’s certainly the case for the major battle set to take place in Des Moines City Council Ward 3. Republican Christine Hensley has held this heavily Democratic […]