Southeast Iowa Home To Key Legislative Races This Cycle

Presidential candidates currently command the spotlight in Iowa politics, but this summer also proved interesting for politicians eyeing the Statehouse. Since Republicans took control of the Iowa House, Senate and governorship in the 2016 election, Democrats have been desperate to whittle down their margins and eventually retake a chamber or two. Reynolds is in office until at least 2022, but efforts will be made in 2020 to retake the Legislature. Democrats face a manageable 53-47 deficit in the House and a more difficult 32-18 deficit in the Senate. Southeast Iowa, home to blue-collar counties and small cities that used to […]

Fairfield’s Phil Miller Running Again For Key Iowa House Seat

Former state Rep. Phil Miller launched his candidacy Wednesday morning for a second chance to represent southeast Iowa’s House District 82. Miller, a veterinarian and small business owner from Fairfield, was ousted in 2018 after serving less than a full term. In a surprise victory, which included a recount requested by Miller, Republican Jeff Shipley won the Southeast Iowa seat by 37 votes. “We need someone who will go to Des Moines and fight for strong public education funding, better paying jobs, and affordable healthcare,” said Miller, in a statement. Miller was first elected to represent the district in a […]

Former Senator Tom Courtney Running To Reclaim Burlington Seat

Former state Sen. Tom Courtney announced today he will run to reclaim Senate District 44 for the Democrats, the southeast Iowa seat he held for 16 years. “After receiving amazing encouragement from many Southeast Iowans — including friends, neighbors and other concerned Iowans — I am running for the Iowa Senate again because I’m unhappy about the direction our state is heading,” said Courtney, in a press release Friday afternoon. “Too many politicians in Des Moines — including our current Senator — are focused on playing political games, supporting special interests, and hurting hardworking Iowans.” Courtney, of Burlington, was ousted in 2016 […]

Burlington Democrat Announces For Top Senate Seat Pick-Up

The first Democrat running to win back Senate District 44 in the Iowa Legislature announced his candidacy today in front of friends and family gathered at his Burlington farm. Rex Troute, a retired newspaperman from Burlington, is a first-time candidate for elected office. He launched his campaign Wednesday morning from Troute Farm, in the family since 1835. Though Troute announced his candidacy in his hometown of Burlington, the 44th District encompasses more than the small southeast Iowa city. “It’s one of the most diverse populations in the state,” said Troute, of the 44th District, noting the African-American and Latino populations […]

Ross Wilburn Wins, Brings Diversity To House Beyond Just Himself

Democrat Ross Wilburn scored a crushing victory in today’s special election for the Ames-based House District 46. It helped, of course, that he ran unopposed. After taking 97.4% of the vote tonight, Wilburn will join the Iowa House for next year’s legislative session, which will bring the number of Iowa’s black legislators up to five. But while Wilburn will improve the limited diversity of the Iowa Statehouse by his mere presence, he’s also helping expand it in his mindset and job experience. “My name is Ross Wilburn. My preferred pronouns are he, him and his,” Wilburn led off with in […]

What Joni Ernst’s Health Care Votes Mean To Iowan Laura Wright

As Republican-led efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act [ACA] continue, living with a chronic illness has become increasingly difficult. While some may still have a solid health insurance plan through their employer, that plan is tied to employment and still includes deductibles. What happens when an employment contract ends or a job is lost? That is the situation Laura Wright faced, and what has inspired her to become an activist on the health care scene, pushing back on members of Congress who continue to vote to limit coverage and tear down the ACA. “My job ended,” said Wright. “The […]

Kim Reynolds Bucks Disclosure Law With Foxhoven Firing

When he was governor, Terry Branstad often voiced his frustration that he was not able to comment on the reasons a state government employee was fired or demoted. In Branstad’s view, the public — the taxpayers of Iowa — deserved to know why the action was taken against the employee. But the governor would explain his hands were tied by a state law to keep some information about government workers confidential. The Republican majorities in the Iowa House and Iowa Senate heard Branstad’s frustrations loud and clear. When they convened their 2017 session, they quickly voted to make an important […]

Iowa Educators Flee To Union-Strong Minnesota For Better Pay

Kindergarten teacher Kathie Card used to work in Iowa. She still lives here. She has a house in Armstrong, in Emmet County. But now she’s teaching in Fairmont, Minnesota, ever since the Iowa legislature stripped public employees of their right to collectively bargain in 2017. “When things started changing, my district was very small and they kept putting us in pay freezes,” Card said. “Things started changing as far as the bargaining and everything, and my daughter teaches in Fairmont, so I said I think I’m ready for a change.” “That was it in a nutshell,” Card said. Joe Brown, […]

Inside The New Effort To Flip The Iowa House

While the non-stop parade of presidential candidates through Iowa dominates state and national news, a group of prominent Iowa Democrats have launched a PAC to refocus attention on a more local matter: retaking the Iowa House. The Better Democracy PAC, formed by Fred and Charlotte Hubbell in mid-May, aims to give Democrats a major financial boost in their efforts to break the full-Republican control of state government. In their first financial filing this Friday, they reported raising $230,000. “It’s now or never, really, to stop this Republican trifecta,” Fred Hubbell told Starting Line in a recent interview. “If they win […]

Iowans Warn Of Consequences Of Anti-ACA, Trump-Backed Lawsuit

Oral arguments for the Texas v. United States lawsuit, a suit filed in 2018 by 20 Republicans to challenge the Affordable Care Act, began today in New Orleans, Louisiana. The case is currently in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after a cherry-picked, conservative Texan judge declared the entirety of the ACA invalid and unconstitutional. As the oral arguments kicked off, Progress Iowa and Protect Our Care Iowa joined State Senator Janet Peterson in Des Moines for a press conference to bring attention to the potentially devastating impact on Iowans’ health care if the lawsuit were to prevail. If […]