When A Rural Iowa County’s Only Shoe Store Closes

If you’re on the hunt for a new pair of off-brand Crocs or high-end work boots, look no further than Ringgold County, Iowa. But for the county’s residents who are looking for anything in between, a 45-minute drive to Creston, the next county seat over, or an online shopping-spree are the only purchasing options. As small towns everywhere wrestle with the effects of a struggling farm economy, aging populations, tough housing markets, and the explosion of online shopping, finding places to buy basic goods has become a challenge. Ringgold County, situated on Iowa’s southern border with Missouri, has a population […]

It’s Wrong To View Iowa Citizens As Nuisances

There have been plenty of examples that raise questions whether government boards in Iowa truly understand they work for the people, not for government officials and employees — and that they are supposed to be looking out for the best interests of taxpayers. The latest example comes from Polk County, where county officials seemed determined to keep the public in the dark until after they had formally decided to sweeten the severance benefits for a handful of top employees — at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have seen similar examples, both in local government and […]

Iowa Student Activists Raise Voices For Climate Action

Certain issues reach a political tipping point when timing, events or actions captures the public’s attention. One of the reasons that action on climate has skyrocketed to the top of the Democrats’ priority list is the actions of the world’s youth. In March, over one million students held climate strikes in over 123 countries calling for urgent climate action. In April, another climate activist group, the Extinction Rebellion, nearly brought London to a standstill with nearly ten days of protests. Student groups are active in promoting the New Green Deal in cities across the country. The Sunrise Movement, a group […]

Despite Voter Suppression Efforts, Young Voters Turned Out In Iowa

A guest post from Brit Bender, state director for NextGen Iowa, which ran an extensive youth voter turnout project in 2018. The Iowa GOP has a history of student voter suppression. In 2017, then-Governor Terry Branstad signed a law that prohibited student IDs from being used as voter IDs. This legislative session, Republicans tried to ban public universities as early voting locations and force students to sign a form stating their intent to remain in Iowa upon graduating to remain on the voter rolls. Fortunately, these tried-and-true tactics to suppress the youth vote were met with fierce opposition from grassroots […]

Setting The Record Straight On Iowa’s Sex Education Classes

A guest post on the state’s sex education programs. My name is Natalie Harwood, and I am a health educator at Planned Parenthood. I work under a public grant called the Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention program (CAPP). Year after year, I see anti-abortion politicians in the Iowa legislature introduce legislation that would prevent Planned Parenthood from using CAPP and other public funds for sexual health education. There seem to be a lot of false assumptions about what Planned Parenthood teaches in sex education classes. I want to set the record straight about our programs. First, here is how Planned Parenthood […]

Rob Sand Calls On MCOs, Reynolds To Keep Promise To Medicaid Patients

Once again, hundreds of thousands of Iowans dependent on Medicaid have been thrown under the bus as another Managed Care Company (MCO) abandoned them. Last Friday, Governor Kim Reynolds announced that United Healthcare is terminating their contract for the care of over 425,000 poor and disabled Iowans. Reynolds and Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Jerry Foxhoven are busy arguing with United Healthcare about who is at fault. While they waste time pointing fingers and blaming one another, State Auditor Rob Sand and House Democrats are demanding action. Iowa’s new State Auditor Rob Sand has stepped in to tell Iowans […]

The Lawsuit Fight To Save Iowa’s Voting Rights

Iowa Democrats owe a debt of gratitude to the Asian and Latino Coalition, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Iowa, and Iowa State University student Taylor Blair for continuing their fight to overturn the Republicans’ 2017 voter suppression ID law. In May of 2018, LULAC and Blair, assisted by Priorities USA, successfully sued Iowa’s Secretary of State Paul Pate, preventing Pate from fully implementing the ID law. The Asian and Latino Coalition helped initiate the process, and got LULAC involved to lead it forward. The LULAC/Blair suit significantly aided Democrats in 2018 elections by maintaining important absentee ballot […]

Congresswoman Denied Absentee Ballot Under GOP’s New Voting Laws

Iowa Republicans’ new voting restrictions have already tripped up many voters trying to participate in local elections, including even one member of Congress. Congresswoman Cindy Axne wrote on Facebook yesterday that she got a denial letter for her request for an absentee ballot for this Tuesday’s special election. Des Moines and West Des Moines are holding a vote on a proposed one-cent sales tax increase. Axne had sent in an absentee request on February 24, and she didn’t receive the denial letter until February 28. The 24th was two days after the new cut-off date for requesting a ballot. The […]

How Midwest Farmers Can Lead On Climate Change With Carbon Farming

A guest piece from Robert Leonard and Matt Russell. Robert Leonard is an anthropologist and radio host in Knoxville/Pella, Iowa. Matt Russell is executive director of Iowa Interfaith Power and Light and co-owner of Coyote Run Farm in Lacona, Iowa. It’s been a tough year for farmers here in Iowa and across much of America. After several years of low commodity prices, President Donald Trump’s tariffs and partial government shutdown have rocked the markets. Only the largest of operations are making any money. Land prices are down, farm real estate listings are up, younger farmers are looking bankruptcy in the […]

Iowa Republicans Take Aim At Loosening Even More Gun Laws

This week’s Moral Monday at the Capitol focused on several proposed Republican gun bills as well as the consequences of the ones they passed in 2017. The discussion was led by Representative Tim Kacena (D-Sioux City) and Scott Peterson, Chair of Iowans for Gun Safety. Over a dozen Democratic legislators attended and participated in the noon meeting. Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate are continuing their goal of increasing the availability of guns and weakening gun control measures. They have again introduced a constitutional amendment that poses a serious danger to the public. It goes beyond the Second Amendment […]