Recognizing Bleeding Heartland's talented 2017 guest authors

Bleeding Heartland published 140 guest posts by 81 authors in 2016, a record since the blog’s creation in 2007.

I’m happy to report that the bar has been raised: 83 authors contributed 164 guest posts to this website during 2017. Their work covered an incredible range of local, statewide, and national topics.

Some contributors drew on their professional expertise and research, writing in a detached and analytical style. Others produced passionate and intensely personal commentaries, sometimes drawing on painful memories or family history.

Guest posts assessed public opinion findings, local political culture, bills pending in the state legislature, election results, or the likely impact of President Donald Trump’s actions.

Authors held city leaders, statewide officials, Iowa House and Senate members, and federal office-holders accountable. Some pondered political strategy. Others sounded the alarm about policies coming our way.

Writers shared wisdom gained from their own political activism: as a candidate for local office; as an organizer of a successful protest; or as newly-engaged volunteers. Some wrote first-person accounts of campaign rallies or other events of interest. A few provided the texts of speeches they had given at public gatherings.

Authors celebrated Iowa’s living treasures and noteworthy political happenings from the recent or distant past.

I doubt any state-based blog in the country draws from a stronger, deeper pool of writing talent. Please look over the posts linked below and consider adding your voice to Bleeding Heartland during 2018. Guest pieces can be short or long. Writers are allowed to use pseudonyms. If you don’t already have a user account, I can set one up for you (e-mail info AT

Thanks also to the readers who occasionally comment on posts here. If you’ve never participated that way, feel free to sign up and share your views.

Gary Kroeger was Bleeding Heartland’s most prolific guest author in 2017, with fourteen posts:

Power to the People (Right On!)

The Heritage of Obamacare

Tom or Ted? You Decide

Give the Guy a Chance!

The Higher Moral Ground

No More Liberals!

“Put your bodies upon the gears”

Stand By Your Manor

Gunfight at the OK Corral Middle School

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

The qualities we pray for

The Emperor Has Designer Clothes

Democrats…We Can Do Better

Passion and leadership: McGuire is best choice for governor

Citizen lobbyist Matt Chapman was a close second. Most of his thirteen Bleeding Heartland posts were inspired by happenings during the Iowa legislative session:

House Republican unable to answer questions about just-passed gun bill

Jake Chapman’s procedural adventure

Absurd reasoning in action as Iowa Senate approves voter ID bill

A closeted marijuana smoker’s view of prejudice in the Iowa Code

Iowa sets precedent with “First in the Nation” law lowering the minimum wage

Republican strategy and divisive bills in the Iowa legislature

Will Governor Branstad’s legacy be yours as well?

30 minutes with David Young

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

So why are health insurance premiums skyrocketing?

Marginalized Iowans and the lack of representation in Washington

The AHCA, the fourth Congressional district and how the left can learn

Facts matter, but not if they fall on deaf ears

Randy Richardson drew on his in-depth knowledge of education for seven pieces:

Education appropriations bill makes significant policy changes

Collective bargaining changes bring new challenges and opportunities

The good, the bad, and the ugly of Iowa’s new collective bargaining law

The good, the bad, and the ugly of Iowa’s new collective bargaining law-Part II

The good, the bad, and the ugly of Iowa’s new collective bargaining law-Part III

Alternative teacher pay plans returning to Iowa (this was among Bleeding Heartland’s 40 most-viewed posts of the year)

Who benefits from expanding options on teacher retirement plans?

DMNATIVE wrote seven county political profiles:

Up Next- Audubon County (3/99)

Number 4 of 99: Taylor County

Another Southern Iowa Red County- Wayne County (5/99)

Our first trip to Northern Iowa- County number 6, Osceola County

Now we visit Ida County, the 7th smallest in Iowa

We remain in Northwest Iowa for our 8th visit, to Pocahontas County

Fremont County, the southwest corner of Iowa. Number 9 in population

Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Friese contributed six commentaries:

Facebook and the Women’s March

Postcards & Pale Ale

When They Tell You It’s Not About the Money

The Children of Immigrants

Using Iowa’s property taxes to solve a non-existent problem

Keeping all our options open: A vision for a “new century farm” in Johnson County

Two other Iowa elected official also wrote for Bleeding Heartland during 2017. Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker made The Case for Kurt Meyer for Iowa Democratic Party chair and shared the Standing in Solidarity Speech he delivered in Cedar Rapids in February.

Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson, a former Republican, published the written comments he submitted to state lawmakers: County Leaders Against Partisan Attack On Collective Bargaining.

Tracy Leone wrote five posts about the unprecedented conflict between the Muscatine City Council and Mayor Diana Broderson. (That power struggle took up quite a bit of my head space later in the year.)

This is a witch hunt

Exhibit WHY?

Exhibit WTF

WWTD: What Would Twain Do?

Not with a bang but a whimper – quiet conclusion to Muscatine impeachment

Laura Hubka wrote five pieces for Bleeding Heartland in 2017.

Tough Choice. In Support of Kurt Meyer for Iowa Democratic Party Chair

An Iowa Democrat’s open letter to the former president and first lady

Buy Your Seeds Now!

Bernie v. Hillary

We are not the ones we were waiting for (the eleventh most-viewed post at the site all year)

Jon Muller wrote four posts. The first was prescient:

Expect more downward revisions in Iowa revenue estimates

We can fix the Affordable Care Act for $30 each

Go green for less green: A guide to consumer renewable energy credits

Booze, women, and movies!

Lauren Whitehead also contributed four commentaries:

Organizing the Indivisible Iowa Network

Fixed it for ya: An update and correction to Bobby Kaufmann’s newsletter about Iowa’s voter ID bill

Initial advice for folks looking at local runs

SERENITY NOW! Forget unity; Dems need a strategic alliance

Kent Kroeger got a lot of readers thinking–and some arguing–with his four pieces:

The Iowa Democrats Need a Brand Makeover

How liberal is the American Heartland? It depends…

Are women better candidates than men? (And other curiosities from the 2016 Iowa House elections)

Democrats and Republicans start 2018 race for Iowa governor in a dead heat

Three authors wrote for this site three times during 2017. From Stefanie Running:

Joni Ernst town hall: The overflow edition

First Annual Polk County Steak Fry

Des Moines City Council Ward 3 forum: Neighborhoods and advocates

Dave Swenson:

Skills Gaps, Worker Preparedness, and Gauging Iowa’s Future Educational Needs

Higher Education Economic Impact Studies Are Usually Hooey

Turning good economic news into bad news

Ruth Thompson:

Why the Affordable Care Act Matters to Me

Which Iowa do our representatives want?

Our health care on the line

More than a dozen people wrote twice for this site during 2017. Julie Stauch:

Looking for leadership in West Des Moines: A case for change

Recipe for an upset

Adam Kenworthy:

Voter suppression is the issue

Voter ID and the 2018 election

Prairie Progressive (Jeff Cox):

Bernie Sanders for governor of Iowa

The Socialist Revival. It All Began in Iowa

TJ Foley:

Where did the Iowa I love go? A student’s perspective (the fourth most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post of 2017)

Iowa GOP leaders failed us on health care bill

Alex Sekora:

Observations of John Norris’ campaign kickoff

An Iowa newcomer’s take on the Polk County Steak Fry

Tanya Keith:

School choice isn’t really a choice

How a “pre-existing condition” almost wrecked my perfectly healthy family

Mary Dyer:

Deaf services gutted in Iowa: Do something!

Making political events accessible to those with special needs

Austin Frerick:

The human cost of Big Pharma’s greed: Overcharging the Hepatitis C cure

Chasing service jobs won’t save midsize cities. Education and manufacturing innovation can.

Pete McRoberts:

A Word of Caution on Local Control

When is a Governor a Governor?

Tom Witosky:

David Young on the Affordable Care Act: Raising more questions than answers

An open letter to Congressman David Young

BigGroveWalker (Paul Deaton):

Trump’s bait and switch on manufacturing jobs

Iowa water quality and confirmation bias

PROGRESSIVEIA (Quinn Symonds):

We all need to come together to make medical cannabis work in Iowa

It’s time to take a stand for cannabis


Oh Oh, She’s At It Again

Silicon Suckers

Lora Conrad:

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Deptford Pink

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Wild Poinsettia

Eileen Miller:

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Alumroot

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Arrowhead

In chronological order, here are the many authors who published once at Bleeding Heartland during 2017:

Grant Gregory: How The Rust Belt Won Donald Trump The Presidency

BZBeaver: A look at Jefferson County, Iowa

Becci Reedus: State, federal legislation will impact Iowans in need

JohnsonCountyProgressive: The 2016 Election: A view from The People’s Republic of Johnson County

Doug Potter: We must begin now

K.O. Myers: The Office Kitchen Model of Activism

nwfisch: An Outsider’s Opinion on the Race for Iowa Democratic Party Chair

Andrea Phillips: An Iowa Democratic Party Vice Chair Candidate’s Thoughts on the Party’s Next Steps

Zack Davis: Letter From Obama Alumni in Support of Derek Eadon for IDP Chair

Blair Lawton: Lawton for Iowa Democratic Party Chair Campaign Announces Endorsements

Bill Brauch: Iowans Lose with Senate “Loser Pays” Bill

Tammy: An Open Letter to President Donald Trump

shepersisting: Low-profile bill threatens environmental and cultural compliance on road projects

Daniel Zeno: Secretary Pate, Stop Using African-Americans as Tokens for Your Voter ID Proposal

charbach: Ta-Nehisi Coates Lectures at Iowa State University on Racism and Lies

Chris Martin: An open letter to Iowa Republican legislators

James Larew: Governor Branstad’s exiting chapter

BVHeart: Why my conservative values make me vote for Democrats

Kelly McMahon: The ugly truth about school vouchers

Hazel Posada: Why I am working with the Latino Political Network

Elise Bauernfeind: I would have been disenfranchised by voter ID

John Grieder: “Somebody else’s babies”

David Grussing: Former police officer comments on “Stand Your Ground” law

Taylor Soule: Mike Pence, misogyny and dinner “distractions”

Maridith Morris: Iowa’s 20-week abortion ban will lead to more suffering

Andrew Isaacson: Stand strong

Iowa Safe Schools: Trump’s license to discriminate

Jaime Allen: Ready to Run campaign training for women reflection

Heather Ryan: Who’s Ready to Run?

Mike Delaney: Sac City could do better with $5.7 million

kadelr (Kelly Roberts): My family’s Medicaid story

Anna Ryon: Turning Pride into Resistance

ActionIowa (Elizabeth Dinschel): The importance of direct action and organizing the Roast and Ride protest

Molly Donahue: Highlights from a campaign literacy seminar in Cedar Rapids

Matt Russell: How American farmers will be hurt by Trump’s decision to leave Paris accord

Daryl Beall: Celebrating Art Cullen

Treegirl: What no one is talking about in the “repeal and replace” debate

Iowapeacechief (Daniel G. Clark): Muscatine mayor saga goes to court

Tyler Higgs: Alternate Process. Alternate Facts. Alternate Democracy.

Bill Ekhardt: Can We Make A Difference?

Scott Thompson: Social capital and party building

Jonathan Wilder: Hey Democrats: Where’s our leadership?

Jessica Chrystal: Hunger in the heartland: Iowans struggle with food insecurity

Beth Lynch: Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Witch hazel

Kurt Meyer: Throwback Thursday: Celebrating Julia Addington

Scott County Democrats: How three new activists got involved in Scott County

Glenn Hurst: The line against hate is drawn in Oakland, Iowa

John Whitaker: A former Iowa Democratic lawmaker’s message to candidates in rural areas

Tracy Freese: Bill Dix: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Lane Kunzie: Andy McGuire will protect all of us

Emilene Leone: John Norris for a better future

Josh Hughes (JoshHughesIA): Breaking down Todd Wendt’s stunning over performance in Senate district 3

Bruce Lear: Learning from the past

About the Author(s)