2020 Dems’ First Big Iowa Cattle Call Is All About Rural America

Busloads of farmers and other rural advocates from across the Midwest are rallying in Iowa to put their concerns at the front and center of the 2020 presidential race. The Heartland Forum is happening March 30 at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, and it’s going to be epic. In the first and likely only forum dedicated to rural issues in the 2020 presidential race, The Storm Lake Times, the Iowa Farmer’s Union, the Open Markets Action Fund, and the Huffington Post will welcome the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for President. Organizers tell me that so far, candidates Elizabeth […]

Forget The “Socialism” Labels, Let’s Stick To Policies

If you had your ear cupped just right and were listening closely Sunday afternoon, you might have heard my head explode. The pressure inside the old noggin has been building for months, thanks to what can be called politics as usual in Washington, D.C., and Des Moines. So, my friends and relatives were not surprised by what occurred about 2 o’clock Sunday. My cranium could not contain the buildup any longer when I read that U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes of California was fuming about his visit to a restaurant in that state. The waitress asked the congressman if he wanted […]

Ankeny 8th Grader Organizes Des Moines Youth Climate Strike

This Friday, March 15, tens of thousands of the world’s students will strike for climate in 80 different countries. This is predicted to be the largest global environmental protest in history. It was all ignited by Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old Swedish student, last summer. Thunberg has become a world-renown climate activist after speaking at the United Nations Climate Conference in Poland and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She has shamed the world’s leaders by calling out their lack of action on the climate crisis. Her brutal honesty about the catastrophic threat of climate change has inspired climate activists […]

Iowa Should Not Go Back To Its Death Penalty Days

Currently under consideration by the Iowa Republican-controlled legislature is the reinstatement of the death penalty. The General Assembly abolished the death penalty in 1965 under the leadership of Governor Harold Hughes. Across the nation, there are currently 30 states which still allow for it and 20 who do not. In my view, there are many reasons to not reinstate it, but one of the most compelling reasons is statistics put out by the Death Penalty Information Center. Due to the increasing use of DNA, since 1992 more then 20 death row inmates have been exonerated and released who could have […]

Iowa Needs Sunshine – On Police Videos

Sunshine Week will be observed across the nation next week. The week shines a spotlight on the important role open government and citizen accountability play in our democracy. Open meetings and open records are the tools that enable the public to know what their government is doing, or not doing, in the name of the people. In Iowa, the sunshine next week will be obscured by clouds — at least when it comes to citizen access to videos recorded by law officers on their squad car cameras and body cameras during incidents in which police shoot someone or when officers […]

Iowa Wind Energy Under Attack By Disinformation Campaign

A very small but vocal group, Coalition for Rural Property Rights, is attacking Iowa’s clean renewable wind industry. This coalition of anti-wind energy fanatics have convinced some Republicans in the Iowa Senate to sponsor a bill that could severely damage Iowa’s wind industry. The bill SF 361 sponsored by Waylon Brown (R-St Ansgar) would increase the minimum distance a wind turbine can be placed from an adjacent property line, increasing the distance to 1,250 feet. It seems designed to be a way to kill the wind industry. Setting unreasonably large setbacks will severely limit the potential sites available for future […]

The Green New Deal Isn’t New. Obama’s Already Proven It Can Work

The Green New Deal introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has an inspiring goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions within a decade. The resolution proposes to reach that goal with an audacious plan to rapidly transition to renewables. In addition to decarbonizing the American economy, it simultaneously proposes making that transition with a focus on social justice. Behind the scenes, economists, scientists and political staffers are attempting to find the best ways to do it. In 2009, President Obama and Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that leveraged $90 billion dollars in loans, […]

Is Reynolds’ Voting Rights Proposal A Sham?

Democratic legislators and the public should be very suspicious of Governor Reynolds’ proposed constitutional amendment to restore former felons’ voting rights. There are several glaring reasons to distrust her proposal as simply a public relations stunt. She can claim she supports restoring former felons’ voting rights knowing that it’s likely to run into a buzz saw from Republican lawmakers. The public must ask Reynolds why she publicly claims to believe in redemption but refuses to exercise her executive authority as Governor to automatically restore former felons’ voting rights. “Let’s begin that process now. I believe Iowans recognize the power of […]

Two German Policy Ideas For The 2020 Field

As of almost the end of February, it looks like over 30 Democrats are in the presidential race or are at least considering it. As the candidates put together their platforms, every one is in some fashion or another talking about health care, climate change, income inequality, and of course terrible management and crazy positions of the current White House resident. As the race proceeds, Democratic candidates will be honing their positions to put more “meat on the bones.” Over the next few weeks/months, I hope to give some suggestions as to what I think might be a few good […]

GOP’s 2020 Plan: Shout “Socialist!” At Democrats

Republicans are beginning their 2020 messaging early with campaign attacks that paint all Democrats as socialists. They plan to demonize Democrats as crazy leftists out to destroy America. They have focused on the Green New Deal (GND) resolution sponsored by Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey as evidence that all Democrats have suddenly gone socialist. The GOP is quickly developing their 2020 national playbook theme that all Democrats have abruptly lost their minds and have shape-shifted into Marxists. The truth is the GND is simply a very bold roadmap pointing toward aggressively addressing climate change while simultaneously promoting social justice […]