Tough Choice. In Support of Kurt Meyer for Iowa Democratic Party Chair

Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee member Laura Hubka chairs the Howard County Democrats and helped create the Tri-County Democrats organization with Kurt Meyer. -promoted by desmoinesdem

After a disastrous election we all needed a breather, but it seemed we wouldn’t have it. We as Iowa Democrats have a lot to digest and consider. I am proud to say that I have listened to and HEARD what all the candidates for IDP Chair have to say.

The candidates who personally asked to meet with me were Kim Weaver, Derek Eadon, Blair Lawton, and Kurt Meyer. Julie Stauch called me and we spoke at length and she offered to meet up with me, but I could not find a free time to make it work. I got an email from Bob Krause. I heard Sandy Dockendorff speak at the first district. I never got any communication from Mike Gronstal except an email from someone else in his stead. I saw all of them speak at the forum the night before the December State Central Committee meeting and again at the SCC meeting (with the exception of Gronstal, who had a prior commitment).

I entered this with an open mind and have been pulled this way and that with my decision. I always have come back to Kurt.

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17 Iowa politics predictions for 2017

Two weeks late and humbled by the results from previous efforts to foretell the future, I offer seventeen Iowa politics predictions for the new year.

I struggled to compile this list, in part because it’s harder to come up with things to predict during a non-election year. I didn’t want to stack the deck with obvious statements, such as “the GOP-controlled Iowa House and Senate will shred collective bargaining rights.” The most consequential new laws coming down the pike under unified Republican control of state government are utterly predictable. I needed time to look up some cases pending before the Iowa Supreme Court. Also, I kept changing my mind about whether to go for number 17. (No guts, no glory.)

I want to mention one prediction that isn’t on this list, because I don’t expect it to happen this year or next. I am convinced that if the GOP holds the governor’s office and both chambers of the Iowa legislature in 2018, they will do away with non-partisan redistricting before the 2020 census. I don’t care what anyone says about our system being a model for the country or too well-established for politicians to discard. Everywhere Republicans have had a trifecta during the last decade, they have gerrymandered. Iowa will be no exception. So if Democrats don’t want to be stuck with permanent minority status in the state legislature, we must win the governor’s race next year. You heard it here first.

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Some of Branstad's extended family will move with him to China

I didn’t believe the early speculation about Governor Terry Branstad becoming ambassador to China, for two reasons. First, the governor shot down the rumor the day after the election. WHO-TV’s Dave Price quoted Branstad as saying on November 9, “I’m not interested in living overseas,” adding that the governor “pointed out he has seven grandchildren now and wants to remain in Iowa.”

Second, I doubted First Lady Chris Branstad would ever agree to move halfway around the world from her grandkids. At a November 21 press conference, the governor said he would consider a job offer from President-elect Donald Trump but added that he wanted to stay in Iowa and that his wife’s views on the matter would carry weight: “We are not doing anything without her blessing, that’s for sure. […] We have been married for 44 years and I want to stay married.”

In what may be his final appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program Friday, Branstad explained that some of his grandkids will be moving to China along with him and his wife.

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This is a witch hunt

Tracy Leone follows up on an intense and probably unprecedented local power struggle in Iowa. For background, read her post from last June, “Take Back Muscatine.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

“This is a witch hunt” – Ann Burnback
“Good old boys club” – Roger Strong
“Not a wise use of our [tax] money” – Osmond Malcolm
“Corporate sugar daddies” – Taylor Williams
“Truly sickened. We’ve elected someone, and you guys have spit on that” – Nathan Baker
“This is the first time in my seventy years that I am ashamed to be from Muscatine” – Judy Rivera
“I fought to have a fair democracy… [not to] have a kangaroo court after election oust our elected officials.” – US Veteran Max Kauffman

These were some of the testimony of the more than 60 people who attended last night’s city council meeting in Muscatine in which the council voted unanimously to begin the process of removing Mayor Diana Broderson from office, just nine months before the next election when the citizens could make such a decision for themselves.

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Skills Gaps, Worker Preparedness, and Gauging Iowa’s Future Educational Needs

Another helpful reality check by Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson. Find his previous writing for this site here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

It is vexing to hear assertions of a skills gap in Iowa, or nationwide for that matter, when people are really complaining they can’t find workers to do what they want them to do for the wages they are willing to pay. That is not a skills gap.

Neither the inability of a grain elevator in rural Iowa to find grain handling help nor a manufacturer in Clinton to find computer-controlled machine tool operators or programmers are skills gaps. They may be regionally-specific skilled labor shortages, as is the case in much of rural Iowa because of persistent outmigration, they may be workforce indifference to those job opportunities, but they are not skills gaps.

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Throwback Thursday: When Terry Branstad first tried to elevate Kim Reynolds, 18 years ago

Terry Branstad passed over some better-known and better-connected Republicans when he picked State Senator Kim Reynolds to be his running mate in 2010. During that campaign, Branstad said he was looking for a lieutenant governor who could take his place. He made clear on many subsequent occasions that he was “grooming” Reynolds. The plan will come to fruition after Branstad is confirmed as U.S. ambassador to China.

Few Iowans outside Clarke County had heard of Reynolds in June 2010, but Branstad had taken an interest in her political career long before then. If his original plan had worked out, Reynolds would have been elected to the Iowa Senate for the first time on this day in 1999.

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