John Norris for a better future

Scott County activist Emilene Leone joined the statewide steering committee for John Norris last month. Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts advocating for candidates in competitive Democratic primaries. Please read these guidelines before writing. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I am strongly endorsing John Norris for Iowa governor, and I encourage all concerned parents here in Iowa to do the same. John Norris is the best choice to protect Iowa’s future for our children.

I have three children. My oldest son, Dax, is 13 years old. He is an 8th generation Iowan. He loves superheroes, Star Wars, playing Minecraft, collecting action figures and bowling. In many ways, he is a normal, funny, loving 13 year old boy. He also happens to be a person with epilepsy and intellectual disabilities.

As the parent of a special-needs child, I can tell you from experience that parents of special-needs children are stretched thin. Raising a special-needs child presents a unique challenge. Taking our kids to doctor’s appointments, researching specialists, advocating for our children to make sure their academic needs are being met at school, and worrying about how to pay for expensive medical tests and medication take a lot of our time, resources, and energy.

And even when we go to bed and try to get some sleep, we still can’t rest. I don’t know how many sleepless nights I have spent worrying about my son’s future.

Since the election of 2016, my worries have deepened. We have a Republican president who openly mocks disabled people, and a Republican legislature that is determined to cut services, health care options and funding for people with disabilities. Within Iowa, the Branstand-Reynolds administration instigated a disastrous Medicaid privatization scheme that has cruelly targeted some of our most vulnerable citizens.

We have unfair funding policies for our schools here in Iowa, which means that the quality of a child’s education varies depending on what zip code that child lives in. We have seen our hard-working teachers’ ability to make a fair living diminished with the Republican attacks on their right to collective bargaining.

As a mother, as an Iowan and as an American, I am afraid for my son’s future. I believe that having John Norris serve as our governor would allow me to sleep at night, knowing that we have an advocate for public education and for all Iowans in our governor’s office.

I first met John Norris several months ago. I have watched the gubernatorial primary here in Iowa closely, and have had the opportunity to meet all of the candidates running for the Democratic nomination. When I first met Mr. Norris, it was at a forum on education here in Davenport. I had to bring my kids with me because I didn’t have a babysitter. I was unsure whether or not they would be welcome, but as soon as we entered the room, John Norris made his way over to us. He asked my kids their names, and shook their hands. He asked them about their lives, and interests, and even more importantly, he seemed genuinely interested in their responses. It meant a lot to me that he took the time away from potential voters to make my children feel welcome, heard, and respected.

He impressed me with his knowledge about our educational challenges here in Iowa, and his eagerness to listen and have a conversation about what we can do, starting from day one of his governorship, to make Iowa a safer, better, and more inclusive place for our children–special needs or otherwise–to grow up and thrive.

I believe John Norris is the best equipped candidate to hit the ground running from day one.

As a parent, I have enough to worry about. I don’t want to worry about a governor who has to learn the ropes. I want someone who can hit the ground running, and knows what to do to clean up the messes that have been created over the past years by the Republicans and the Branstad/Reynolds administration. John Norris has that experience.

John Norris is a true public servant. His duty to serve Iowa has been displayed for decades. He was one of Senator Tom Harkin’s top aides. He ran Jesse Jackson’s progressive campaign for president here in Iowa. Tom Vilsack trusted him and appointed him as his Chief of Staff, both here in Iowa, and within the federal Department of Agriculture. He was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve in Rome as U.S. minister counselor for agriculture within United Nations. He knows how to put together a winning team, and knows how to lead that team effectively and efficiently.

Also, I think he can win. John Norris has the experience, character, and integrity to be a formidable candidate in this tough upcoming election for Iowa governor. He is a proven fighter. With his extensive experience in grassroots organizing and his progressive stances, I feel that he will be able to reach out to all of those voters who haven’t felt represented in the past. He will fight for the rights of ALL Iowans, not just the special few. He is dedicated to making Iowa schools the best in the nation again, and to making sure that everyone—especially those to most badly need it—have access to high quality, affordable healthcare.

With John Norris as our governor, we will know that we have a true public servant with a responsibility to protect and fight for the rights of all Iowans, including our special needs kids. I urge all Iowans to take a look at his record, his experiences, and his platform, and support him for Governor.

As a mom, I want to focus on raising my family. I want to worry about creating happy memories with my kids. I want to help my special-needs child grow into a happy, thriving, and personally fulfilled adult. I do not want to worry about politics everyday. With John Norris as our candidate–and our governor–I believe I would sleep better at night, knowing that a proven, experienced fighter is leading our state to a better future.

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  • What about farm and rural issues

    He has a great resume on farm and rural issues, at least prior to 2001, but we need someone who will run on those issues, and not compromise against Iowa farmers. Can someone add that aspect. I don’t see it here. Iowa’s agricultural economic indicators are crashing downward again, like they have been doing most of the time for 60 years. Does he not have much in his campaign literature?

  • Agree completely

    All of this. I also have a child (now dependent adult, actually) with disabilities and I support and trust John Norris. I think Norris brings several important things: he was instrumental in jump-starting a Vilsack campaign that was struggling in a critical election — and thank god we won! — so he knows how to run a campaign, and has been working harder than anyone in the race out in rural areas. Most important to me, since most of the Democrats will be largely aligned on key issues, Norris is the one with the best experience to turn those positions into state policy. He knows the job from being Chief of Staff to the Governor, he has experience with administration in both his state and federal positions. He’ll be ready on Day One. But he is also just a good guy, with three school-aged kids and his wife is CEO of Goodwill of Central Iowa — yet more reasons I find he understands the issues of a family like mine.