Sanders National Delegate Supports Mike Gronstal for IDP Chair

Ingrid Olson delivered these remarks to members of the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee on December 17. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Good morning. I am Ingrid Olson from Council Bluffs – a Senator Sanders National Delegate from the 3rd District.

I am a Sanders Democrat.

I am a Wellstone Democrat.

And I am a Gronstal Democrat.

I drove two hours in the bad weather and freezing temperatures to stand for a guy who for decades has stood for me, Iowa families, union workers, children, seniors – All Iowans, especially those who have not had a voice to speak for themselves. I am here today to share my experiences of Mike Gronstal and why I support him for chair of IDP.

I know that Mike wishes he could be here today….but I hope that you will respect the fact that Mike is a man who honors his commitments. He sees things through to the end.

The first time I met Mike our meeting did not go as I had anticipated. In December 2005, my then partner and I joined with 5 couples from across the state as plaintiffs in the quest to seek marriage equality. A few days after we had filed our lawsuit in Des Moines, I heard Mike was speaking at a local middle school so I found my way to Kirn Middle School in Council Bluffs to hear Mike and also thank him for the upcoming support in our battle for marriage equality.

I put myself at the end of the line so I would have the last visit with Mike. I introduced myself but wasn’t prepared for the reception I received. Mike was frank and stated that he had wished he knew beforehand that we were filing on the day that we did. My understanding is that Mike knew it was on the radar but didn’t know the date and he didn’t feel prepared and perhaps felt a little ambushed. That said, he shook my hand and wished us luck. I walked out thinking – crap – we pissed off the Iowa Senate Majority Leader – I felt as though we upset the very person that would later play perhaps the largest role in protecting marriage equality and blocking a public vote.

At the end of the day – I now know it was because of strategy. Mike is a strategizer and planner. He thinks things through and knows the political climate. Mike attended every marriage equality rally and he put a target on his back for something that he believed in and stood to suffer from in the public eye and politically. He stood unrelenting in the fight for marriage equality. I had everything to gain in the fight for marriage equality. Mike – like the Iowa Supreme Court Justices – had everything to lose … but they were willing stand up for equality and due process – and at the end of the day, they all stood on the right side of history.


That’s why I trusted Mike with my life and that is why I trust him to be the next Iowa Democratic Party Chair.

Mike fights for what he believes in. I know him as a fighter for union workers, seeing that all children in Iowa have access to insurance and medical care with the Hawk-I program, preserving a balanced state budget, protecting the rights of all state employees, and working to protect and preserve the quality of our rivers, lakes and drinking water.

Mike has been around a long time but it is because Mike has weathered more storms than I would care to imagine. He cares about people and the State of Iowa. He is a champion for the people.

This fall I door knocked for Senator Gronstal in Council Bluffs. I door knocked for Mike because I believe in him and the work that he has done. And I would have knocked doors all day if I didn’t have to work.

When I think of who I am – and what defines me other than being a parent to my son – like so many of you in this room– the two other things that define who I am, at my core, are that I am an Iowan and a Democrat. That is also what I think of when I think of Mike – a man who loves his family and is a true Iowan and Democrat.

In my opinion, Mike exemplifies what it means to be an Democrat and Iowan.

It makes me sad that Mike was defeated on November 6. But we all know that it was a horrible, horrible year for Democratic candidates in Iowa and across the nation. We know that only six counties in the state went blue in the general election. Dubuque went red for the first time in sixty years.

Finally, as many of you know and as I introduced myself – I was and still am a supporter of Bernie Sanders. That said – I voted for Hillary on November 8th. Mike knows I didn’t love Hillary and wasn’t excited to vote for her. Mike never held that against me. Because Mike is fair. When people say that Mike isn’t progressive enough – or that Mike has been around too long – I say and quote Joe Biden “that’s a bunch of malarkey”.

He’s been a leader in LGBT rights; reproductive rights; accessible healthcare for all, especially our children; and the groundwater protection act. Those are all progressive to me.

Mike has been all over the state and country visiting with all kinds of people – like you and me – to hear what affects our daily lives. He will immediately be able to tap into candidates seeking to be elected at the local level up to the presidential level from all corners of the state and nation from all the connections he has made over the years.

He also knows how to raise funds and knows how to network at the grassroots level – as he had to do for years.

I often joke that I am missing the fear chromosome… maybe that is why I was willing to drive over in the bad weather, why I am standing before asking you to support Mike Gronstal for IDP chair… Like Mike, I feel as though my decisions may not always be the most popular but at the end of the day, our decisions come from the belief that we want a better world, country, state and community for those around us – and Mike is just the man to lead the IDP in the next chapter of our party’s future.

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