Now we can see which Iowans will suffer most from Planned Parenthood and victims assistance cuts

It’s not abstract anymore.

We knew eliminating state funding for Planned Parenthood’s family planning services would cause thousands to lose access to basic health care.

We knew deep cuts to state funding for victims assistance would affect thousands of sexual assault and domestic abuse survivors.

Now we are starting to see which Iowans will be the first to suffer from Republican choices on how to spend the public’s money.

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Special election coming on June 27 in Iowa House district 22

Voters in Iowa House district 22 will choose a successor to the late State Representative Greg Forristall on Tuesday, June 27, in accordance with a proclamation Governor Terry Branstad issued today. The district covers a small portion of Council Bluffs and most of Pottawattamie County outside that city (see map above).

Special district conventions, tentatively scheduled for May 30, will determine the Democratic and Republican candidates for House district 22. Forristall’s widow and longtime clerk, Carol Forristall, will seek the GOP nomination, but others are expected to compete at the Republican district convention as well. (The late State Senator Pat Ward’s widower did not win the 2012 nominating convention in Senate district 2012.) The conservative blog Iowa Statesman reported that some locals recruited Naomi Corrie to run for the seat. Corrie was heavily involved as a volunteer for former Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz and new State Senator Dan Dawson, and has “been a Council Bluffs organizer for Senator [Joni] Ernst and Lt. Gov [Kim] Reynolds.” However, Corrie ruled herself out of this race today.

The GOP will be heavily favored to hold House district 22, where more than twice as many voters are registered Republicans as Democrats. However, an activist reported on Facebook this evening that as many as a dozen people have already contacted Pottawattamie County Democratic Chair Linda Nelson to express interest in the race. Anything can happen in a low-turnout special election.

Forristall had a Democratic opponent for his first election in 2006 but did not face a Democratic challenger in his 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, or 2016 re-election bids.

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Jethro's: "We support our employees and a minimum wage hike." Then why did Mike Holms lobby for House File 295?

Matt Chapman closely followed and participated in the Iowa legislative debate over blocking county-level minimum wage increases. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I came across a Des Moines Register article in my Facebook feed that was 856 words long. It was a rebuttal to a letter to the editor about Jethro’s BBQ planning to open a restaurant in Ames.

The rebuttal is authored by Bruce Gerleman, Iowa view contributor and owner of all the Jethro’s BBQ.

I took offense at this response, and I’ll tell you why. And I hope that since I am just a low wage worker, if my response is 856 words long, the Register will publish my view as well.

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Bill Northey, Sam Clovis lined up for senior USDA posts

Two weeks after Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey publicly expressed interest in a job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he appears to have an offer on the table. Farm Journal Radio reported on May 12 that Northey will become undersecretary for farm production and conservation, a position that “includes overseeing the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.” The source was Jim Wiesemeyer, senior vice president of policy and trade issues for Informa Economics Inc. WHO-TV’s Dave Price said his sources confirm Northey is the pick for that job. UPDATE: Agri-Pulse was first to report this news Friday morning.

Depending on when Northey resigns, either Governor Terry Branstad or soon-to-be-Governor Kim Reynolds will appoint someone to serve as secretary of agriculture until after the 2018 election. State Representative Pat Grassley has long been rumored to be interested in Northey’s job. That statewide position would be a nice stepping stone to a campaign for his grandfather Chuck Grassley’s U.S. Senate seat in 2022.

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Branstad "saved" ISU's Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in name only

Governor Terry Branstad used his item veto power today to “preserve the existence” of Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, but he allowed provisions redirecting almost all of its funding to take effect. In his veto message on Senate File 510, the agriculture and natural resources budget, Branstad wrote,

I am unable to approve the items designated as Section 34, and Subsection 2 of Section 35, in their entirety. The veto of these particularly specified items will preserve the existence of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture while also maintaining the sections transferring funding to Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to continue valuable research into environmental and water quality issues.

Those sections of the bill repeal language establishing the Leopold Center from Iowa Code.

Under Section 30, which Branstad didn’t veto, the center will lose almost its entire operating budget, since revenue from a fertilizer tax (about $1.5 million annually) will be redirected to ISU’s Nutrient Research Center. The Leopold Center’s work was more broadly focused than that of the Nutrient Research Center, and less influenced by agribusiness groups. The separate Republican education budget zeroed out what had been a $400,000 appropriation to the Leopold Center from the Board of Regents.

Although the Leopold Center receives some income from an endowment managed by the ISU Foundation, Director Mark Rasmussen has said those funds are “wholly inadequate to keep the center functioning at any level of reasonableness.” Branstad told reporters last week he was concerned bequests to the Leopold Center “could be put in jeopardy if it were eliminated.”

The donors Branstad had in mind might as well revise their wills now. There’s no point leaving money to an entity that will be unable to support sustainable agricultural research in the future.

It’s a disappointing choice by the man who helped create the Leopold Center when he signed the landmark Groundwater Protection Act in 1986. Just as Republican lawmakers ignored the many Iowans who attested to the value of the center’s work at a public hearing or through written comments, Branstad was unmoved by the many calls and messages his office received in support of keeping the center running.

I am seeking comment from the governor and will update this post as needed.

UPDATE: Added below absurd spin from ISU.

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Throwback Thursday: When Greg Forristall fought against putting commerce ahead of education

Republican State Representative Greg Forristall passed away yesterday at the age of 67. First elected to the Iowa House in 2006, he was most recently vice chair of the Education Committee and also served on the Human Resources, Labor, and Ways and Means committees. He had been battling cancer for some time and was too ill to participate in the last few weeks of this year’s legislative session.

In a written statement, Republican Party of Iowa chair Jeff Kaufmann described Forristall as a “friend to conservatives across our state” and a “happy warrior” in the Ronald Reagan tradition. House Speaker Linda Upmeyer said Forristall “was a dedicated public servant to the people he represented and an advocate for the arts and education, two issues that he was incredibly passionate for.”

I never met Forristall, but one episode stands out for me as I think about his legislative career. The first two years after Republicans regained their Iowa House majority, Forristall chaired the Education Committee. House leaders reassigned him to lead the Labor Committee in 2013, a position he retained through the 2016 legislative session.

Why did then House Speaker Kraig Paulsen and Majority Leader Upmeyer take the Education Committee away from Forristall, knowing how much he cared about that issue? I never saw any public confirmation, but the Iowa political rumor mill pointed to Forristall’s stance on one controversial bill.

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