Without Rural Improvement, Dems Will Never Retake U.S. Senate

As everyone digests the first round of Democratic debates and discusses the bold policy agendas of the candidates, it can be easy to over-nationalize politics. But winning the presidency is just a step, and certainly doesn’t guarantee that any of those policies will successfully be implemented. Legislation runs through the Senate, where if Mitch McConnell remains the majority leader, Democratic proposals will go to die. And connecting with rural voters to regain control of the U.S. Senate is getting overlooked by many Democrats, says Jeff Link of Link Strategies. “Until we figure this out, we will never have a majority […]

Reynolds’ DNR Concealing Real Extent Of Iowa Water Contamination At Lakes

Each week from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) takes water samples from Iowa public park beaches. They test for dangerous bacterial contaminants and post those beaches that are unsafe for recreational swimming. However, there are serious concerns that the standard the IDNR is using to test the water fails to adequately alert the public to the dangerous bacterial contamination. Governor Reynolds and her IDNR are putting Iowa family’s health at risk by refusing to follow the EPA health standards for Iowa recreational waters. E. Coli and Microcystins This is the third week we […]

Democrats Have Their Nominee For The Ames Special Election

Democrats have their nominee for the August 6 special election: Ross Wilburn. The former mayor of Iowa City, Wilburn was selected by Story County Democrats at a special nominating convention this morning to run in the Ames-based House District 46 seat that Lisa Heddens stepped down from earlier this month. Wilburn would add to the Iowa House’s small group of African-American legislators, which only totals four members at the moment. Two other Democrats were nominated: Jamet Colton and Amber Corrieri. Colton, who would have made history as the Iowa Legislature’s first Latinx member, was eliminated on the first ballot. Wilburn […]

Violence Against Workers Spikes At Independence Facility

Four staff members were attacked while working at the Independence Mental Health Institute over a nine day period, according to an AFSCME Council 61 statement earlier today. The incidents began on June 6 when a residential treatment worker was hit on the head and jaw by a patient who escaped restraints. The staff member is now collecting workers’ compensation and is being treated for a head injury, a cervical sprain and TMJ pain. A registered nurse was attacked the same day. The RN was punched in the nose and scratched. The RN gave notice of her planned resignation, then was […]

Iowa Labor Lawsuits Pile Up, But State Rarely Gets Punished

At least seven unions have filed lawsuits against the State of Iowa since collective bargaining rules changed in 2017. Complaints have been filed against the Iowa Board of Regents, the State of Iowa and the Public Employment Relations Board for alleged unfair treatment of public safety employees and for questions about the validity of agreements reached between the unions and the state. Other than a slap on the wrist for refusing to negotiate with the faculty union at the University of Northern Iowa and the graduate students union at the University of Iowa, the state has been successful in defending […]

Lisa Heddens Named Supervisor, Iowa House Seat To Open

State Representative Lisa Heddens was appointed to a Story County supervisor vacancy tonight, edging out four other finalists. Legislators cannot hold two elected positions at the same time, so she’ll have to step down from her seat in the Iowa House, which should cause a special election later this summer. Heddens served in the Iowa House since 2003, and was a leader on Medicaid and mental health policy issues. House District 46 will now open up, with candidates being chosen at special nominating conventions from both parties after the governor sets a special election date. The Ames-based seat is heavily Democratic, […]

There’s Judicial Activism You Like – And Dislike

One of the most contentious issues in the Iowa Legislature this year involved the way the state’s judges are chosen. That process was established 57 years ago when voters amended the Iowa Constitution. It’s worth noting that Republicans held solid majorities then in the Iowa House and Iowa Senate. In the years that followed – when governors were Republicans, as well as when they were Democrats – the stature of the Iowa judiciary was saluted across the United States for its fairness and nonpartisan nature. But this year, the Republican majorities in the House and Senate came to Des Moines […]

Party Switch: State Rep. Andy McKean Flips From R To D

State Representative Andy McKean is switching sides. The Republican legislator from Jones County has decided to leave his party and join Democrats in the Iowa House. He will re-register as a Democrat later this week back at home, and currently plans on running for reelection as a Democrat. “I found myself increasingly uncomfortable with the stance of my party on the vast majority of high profiles issues and often sympathetic with concerns raised by the minority caucus,” McKean said in a press conference this morning. But another major factor in his decision was President Donald Trump. “With the 2020 presidential […]

House Democrats Hire New Director To Retake Chamber

The Iowa House Democrats have hired Emily Waggoner as their new caucus director for the 2020 campaign cycle. She’ll be tasked with running the political operation to pick up at least five House seats to retake the majority for Democrats. “We’re excited to ramp up our team to regain the majority in the Iowa House,” said Iowa House Democratic Leader Todd Prichard. “Iowa Democrats are dedicated to fighting Republican attacks on our healthcare and local schools. It’s time to improve the lives of everyday Iowans again.” Waggoner most recently served as the executive director for the Missouri Democratic Party. Before […]

Republicans Target Students, Rural Iowans In New Voting Bill

A bill sponsored by Republican Senator Roby Smith is proposing a wide range of new voting restrictions in Iowa, including ones that would specifically make it harder for students, rural voters, and veterans to vote. Smith’s Senate Study Bill 1241 seems to take extra effort to make it harder for college students at the state regents universities to cast a ballot. The bill would ban satellite voting at any state-owned building: That would mean no more early satellite voting options at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, or the University of Northern Iowa. Those locations are used each year […]