A former Iowa Democratic lawmaker's message to candidates in rural areas

Former State Representative John Whitaker is the executive director of Rural Forward, an organization formed last month to promote progressive solutions for communities of all sizes, as well as to help Democrats organize in rural areas and demonstrate that rural areas matter. -promoted by desmoinesdem

In 2002, I won my legislative district (Iowa House district 90) by only 55 votes. I had a difficult time raising the funds I needed, even though I was serving my third term as a Van Buren County supervisor, and district 90 was then held by a Democrat who was retiring.

Sometime during that first legislative session, a lobbyist who had served in the legislature (as a Democrat) told me the reason that out of district funders were not interested in my race was because a Democrat should not win that seat. The district had 16 percent more registered Republicans than Democrats. It didn’t matter that the district had one of the widest swing factors in the state or that the Democrats had held it for three terms.

When I left the legislature in 2009 to become state executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, Curt Hanson held House district 90 in a hard-fought special election. Hanson was re-elected four times in a district that since the last census has been House district 82, covering slightly different territory. After Hanson passed away this summer, Democrat Phil Miller won a special election here, even though President Donald Trump had carried the district in 2016.

That is a lot of history, but it is important because it proves a point: Democrats can win in rural areas!

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How three new activists got involved in Scott County

Guest posts on local political happenings are welcome at Bleeding Heartland. -promoted by desmoinesdem

In the last year, we have seen a flood of new energy and political involvement throughout the country, from the Women’s March, to the Indivisible movement, to protests, letter-writing campaigns, and citizens showing up at forums to confront their elected officials.

We have also seen a great deal of new people get involved with the Scott County Democratic Party since the election. We spoke with a few of our newer activists to ask how they decided to get involved and what their experience has been like.

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GOP law fails to break Iowa's largest public-sector unions

One of the most transparent union-busting provisions of Iowa’s new collective bargaining law has failed to significantly reduce the number of workers covered by the state’s two largest public-sector unions: the Iowa State Education Association and AFSCME Council 61.

Unofficial results posted today by the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board show large majorities of public employees voted to continue to be represented by their unions.

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Hey Democrats: Where’s our leadership?

Democratic volunteer Jonathan Wilder feels Iowa party leaders haven’t been welcoming enough to young activists who could help change our state’s political direction. -promoted by desmoinesdem

“I don’t think people want a new direction, our values unify us and our values are about supporting America’s working families.”

Those are the words of Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi speaking on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation.’ Pelosi’s words seem to ring of confidence, but how can she be filled with so much confidence, when, while under her watch, Democrats have lost over 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts since 2008; including major governorships, Congressional, and state legislative seats?

The question that should be on everybody’s mind… Especially in the minds of party leaders like Nancy Pelosi, is why? Why have people stopped turning out and voting for Democrats? What has allowed the Republicans to gain so many positions in so little time? Why are the people of this country, who when polled issue by issue, are shockingly more in line with leftist thought; are choosing to vote against their own interests and giving their support to the Republicans?

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Alec Baldwin lending a hand to Iowa Democrats

Iowa will be an early destination for Alec Baldwin as he tries to boost Democratic prospects in next year’s midterm elections. The actor who just won an Emmy for portraying President Donald Trump in “Saturday Night Live” sketches will be the keynote speaker at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual fundraiser next month. Baldwin recently told USA Today,

“My only hope is that people will watch the show, and enjoy the show and think the show is funny, and then go out and vote next year in the midterm election, and start to change the direction we’re going,” he added. “Because I’ve never been more fearful about the future of the country than I am now.”

In a statement enclosed in full below, Baldwin said, “I have decided to rededicate my efforts to helping the Democratic party win across the country” in 2018, a campaign that “begins in earnest in Iowa on Monday, November 27th.”

The Fall Gala (known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner until last year) has typically been the Iowa Democratic Party’s largest event of the year. Tickets are available here; $50 will buy a bleacher seat, not including dinner. Tickets including a meal start at $125.

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