Yes, I am sad this morning. And frustrated. And mad. It's inevitable when you spend the better part of two years campaigning for candidates and ideas you strongly believe it. But I won't spend time bashing the winners or criticizing the campaigns for what they supposedly should or should not have done, although we should most definitely learn from any mistakes. And here is why:
Yes, I love politics, and I am not shy about being a Democrat. But part of why I love politics is because I believe in good government. I believe that public service is a noble profession. I believe that we should elect people who want to be a part of making this state and country better, not those who want to tear it down from the inside out. My greatest sadness from the decisions Iowans made last night is that too many voters followed the national trend and all politics wasn't local. Brad Anderson, who exemplifies the next generation of leadership, who ran an impeccable and positive campaign, who offered so many productive ideas for making the Secretary of State's office better, lost because of a wave election to a candidate who did virtually nothing. Bruce Braley, who I've known since he first ran for office in 2006, is honestly one of the hardest working Members of Congress. He is dedicated to being held accountable for the work he does in DC and has helped more Iowans get the assistance they have needed and deserved from the federal government than most people realize. It hurts my heart that he won't be serving us in Congress anymore because he truly is one of the best elected officials I know. And Staci Appel, wow, this woman is a rock star. She got in this race when no one thought it could be won and worked so hard. She is a big part of the reason Iowans can send their 4-year old kids to preschool for free because of her leadership on that issue when she was in the State Senate. I know there is so much more she could have done in Congress and it sucks that we won't get the chance to work with her there.
At the state level, I am incredibly thankful that Democrats held onto the Iowa Senate. The importance of this cannot be overlooked. The Democratic caucus is the only reason we have been able to make sure women's health and reproductive rights haven't been completely dismantled in the last 4 years as they have in many other parts of the country. We have a lot to do to make sure nothing bad happens in the next legislative session.
Elections matter. Elections have consequences. I hate the gridlock and I hate all the negativity. I want to figure out the best way we can all work together to move this country forward. I hope that all the Republicans who won last night will take some time to think about how they can work with Democrats to find bipartisan solutions to immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, protecting public education, and increased access to affordable health care. Because while you can run on saying you want to get rid of a whole lot of stuff, you can't actually govern that way. Americans are asking for a government that works together, that plays a part in providing access to equal opportunity for all of us. Let's get back up and make sure we keep fighting for a better future.