An open letter to Congressman David Young

Tom Witosky follows up on recent correspondence with his U.S. House representative. -promoted by desmoinesdem

March 13, 2017
Dear Congressman Young,

I am writing this open letter to you because the time is fast approaching when your words will be put to the test with your vote on the proposed American Health Care Act.

Make no mistake, the Republican majorities’ decision to amend key portions of the Affordable Care Act will change coverage for millions of us who have obtained insurance through federal or state exchanges.

In your Feb. 21 letter to me, you outlined your concerns about the current law and what you believed needed to be corrected with new legislation. Those concerns included:

“We need a healthcare law that works for all Iowans, the facts are that the current healthcare law works for some but it does not work for others.”

Analysis of this proposal by a variety of experts and expert groups – conservative and liberal — indicates strongly that the House proposal does nothing to provide a law “that works for all Iowans.”

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King opposes House GOP health care plan; Blum and Young non-committal

U.S. Representative Steve King confirmed this morning that he opposes the House Republican health care replacement bill released on Monday. Like several influential conservative groups that condemned the American Health Care Act earlier this week, King believes the legislation does not go far enough. He told CNN’s Chris Cuomo, “We campaigned on the full, 100 percent, I say ‘rip it out by the roots’ repeal of Obamacare, and we don’t get that with this bill.”

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Anna Ryon is the second Democratic candidate in IA-03

Anna Ryon has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to run for Congress in Iowa’s third district, she confirmed on March 2. Her official campaign launch will take place in Des Moines on March 8; scroll down for event details. Ryon is also planning a March 11 event in Council Bluffs, the second-largest city in IA-03.

An attorney currently working for the Office of Consumer Advocate, Ryon began publicly exploring a Congressional campaign last month. Bleeding Heartland posted more background on the candidate here. Ryon said yesterday that new English and Spanish-language versions of annaryon.com will be online soon. Blue Wave Political Partners will help manage her campaign, and she has chosen to open her campaign bank account “at an institution that is not invested in the Dakota Access pipeline.”

Ryon is the second Democratic challenger in IA-03 to declare this week. Mike Sherzan formally entered the race on March 1. As Bleeding Heartland discussed here, other possible candidates include State Senator Matt McCoy and longtime Iowa Democratic campaign operative Pete D’Alessandro.

Two-term Representative David Young is on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s long list of targets for 2018. The sixteen counties in IA-03 contain 167,249 active registered Democrats, 177,408 Republicans, and 167,222 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.

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Mike Sherzan is first Democrat running in IA-03; field likely to expand soon

Mike Sherzan made it official yesterday: he is running for Congress again in Iowa’s third district. I enclose below his announcement and background on the candidate, who finished second to Jim Mowrer in the 2016 Democratic primary. Sherzan has attended numerous recent political events in central Iowa, including last night’s fundraiser for the House Truman Fund in Des Moines.

In a short new video, Sherzan said, “Like most Iowans, I’m fed up with what’s going on with Washington politics. Iowans deserve a progressive leader, not a Washington career politician. That’s why I’ve decided to run for Congress.” During last year’s campaign, he highlighted his business practices as a reflection of his values: treating workers fairly, sharing profits with employees, paying women the same as men, and promoting employees of either gender based on performance.

Speaking to Kathie Obradovich of the Des Moines Register, Sherzan criticized “the lack of leadership we have in the 3rd District” and charged, “We have individuals who have been elected to office who hid their intentions, in my opinion, and they’re using what people voted for to put into policy and then legislative action their own agendas, they’re far-right agendas.”

GOP Representative David Young has drawn criticism this week for voting against a House resolution seeking to force President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. During a public forum in Urbandale on February 23, Young had said, “Donald Trump should release his taxes. It’s a no-brainer.”

At least one candidate will likely compete against Sherzan for the Democratic nomination in IA-03. Anna Ryon, an attorney with the Office of Consumer Advocate, has scheduled a “Meet Anna/Special Announcement” event in Des Moines on March 8, which is International Women’s Day. Ryon confirmed last month that she is considering a Congressional campaign and already has a website up. UPDATE: Added below a March 2 news release from Ryon about her upcoming event.

Pat Rynard reported for Iowa Starting Line on February 28,

Some recent rumors point to longtime Iowa political consultant Pete D’Alessandro strongly considering a bid as well. D’Alessandro served most recently as Bernie Sanders’ campaign coordinator for Iowa in the caucus. He’s been involved in nearly every major Iowa Democratic race in one way or the other for the past two decades, serving in key roles on Tom Vilsack, Chet Culver and Leonard Boswell’s campaigns, as well as Bill Bradley’s Iowa Caucus operation in 2000.

When I sought comment, D’Alessandro didn’t rule out a campaign in IA-03: “Bernie Sanders has inspired so many people over the last two years–both veterans of the political process and those new to the process. Like many of them, I’m looking as to how I can help move the progressive movement forward. Running for office is certainly one of those options.”

The sixteen counties in IA-03 contain 167,249 active registered Democrats, 177,408 Republicans, and 167,222 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. Young won re-election in 2016 by 53.4 percent to 39.7 percent, outperforming the top of the GOP ticket by about five points. Although Trump carried IA-03 by 48.5 percent to 45.0 percent, the swing to the Republican presidential nominee here was significantly smaller than in Iowa’s first and second Congressional districts.

IA-03 is on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s long list of 2018 targets but not among the 20 top-priority Republican-held districts.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention State Senator Matt McCoy, who considered but decided against running for Congress in 2016. He is up for re-election next year in Senate district 21, covering parts of Des Moines and West Des Moines. He would have to abandon his seat in the legislature in order to challenge Young in 2018.

SECOND UPDATE: McCoy didn’t rule out running for Congress, telling me, “I won’t make any decision until fall 2017.”

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IA-03: Democrat Anna Ryon is thinking about it

Anna Ryon, an attorney with the Office of Consumer Advocate, may run for Congress in Iowa’s third district next year, she announced on Facebook today. She has launched a possible campaign website and is recruiting volunteers to join her e-mail list for updates and “action alerts” on when to call members of Congress. She is not raising money “until I make a final decision” on a Congressional campaign.

Yesterday Ryon uploaded to YouTube a video of her remarks in May 2015 before the Bishop and Cabinet of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church. Ryon “was invited to be part of that meeting to share my story of being a queer woman in the UMC, and in particular the hurtful response from the church when my ex-wife and I got married.” Instead, she shared the story of her father, a United Methodist minister who was gay and took his own life in 1999.

I enclose below Ryon’s bio from her new website. She is on Twitter @annakryon and on Facebook. Her “deep dive” about Adams County became one of the most popular Bleeding Heartland posts of 2016.

Current U.S. Representative David Young defeated Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer by 53.4 percent to 39.7 percent in 2016. Young performed substantially better than Donald Trump, who carried the third district by 48.5 percent to 45.0 percent over Hillary Clinton. Outside groups spent more than $7.4 million on the Young-Mowrer race. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee confirmed this week that IA-03 will be on its target list again in 2018.

One of Mowrer’s 2016 primary opponents, Mike Sherzan, has turned up at a number of local Democratic events lately, including the January 21 State Central Committee meeting of the Iowa Democratic Party, which attracted a large crowd because of the state chair election.

The sixteen counties in IA-03 contain 167,453 active registered Democrats, 177,457 Republicans, and 166,620 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.

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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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