Recognizing Bleeding Heartland's talented 2019 guest authors

More than 125 authors contributed to the 290 guest posts Bleeding Heartland published this calendar year–way up from the 202 pieces by about 100 writers in 2018 and the 164 posts by 83 writers the year before that. I’m immensely grateful for all the hard work that went into these articles and commentaries and have linked to them all below.

You will find scoops grounded in original research, such as John Morrissey’s exclusive reporting on Sedgwick landing a lucrative contract to administer Iowa’s worker’s compensation program for state employee, despite not submitting the high bid.

The most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post this year was Gwen Hope’s exclusive about the the Hy-Vee PAC donating $25,000 to the Iowa GOP, shortly before President Donald Trump headlined a Republican fundraiser at Hy-Vee’s event center in West Des Moines.

Several commentaries about major news events or political trends were also among the most widely read Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019. I’ve noted below pieces by Ed Fallon, Tim Nelson, Bruce Lear, Randy Richardson, J.D. Scholten, Dan Guild, State Senator Claire Celsi, and others that were especially popular. (This site has run more than 630 pieces since January 1.)

Please get in touch if you would like to write about any topic of local, statewide, or national importance during 2020, or if you have memories to share about an Iowa political figure who has passed away. If you do not already have a Bleeding Heartland account, I can set one up for you and explain the process. There is no standard format or word limit. I copy-edit for clarity but don’t micromanage how authors express themselves.

Although most authors write under their real names, pseudonyms are allowed here and may be advisable for those writing about sensitive topics or whose day job does not permit expressing political views. I ask authors to disclose potential conflicts of interest, such as being a paid staffer, consultant, or lobbyist promoting any candidate or policy they discuss here.

Quite a few guest posts endorsed presidential candidates. I expect to publish more along those lines before February 3. If you’re interested in writing about the Iowa caucuses, please read these guidelines.

As people turn their attention to other elections, I would welcome commentaries supporting Democrats in competitive races, such as the five-way U.S. Senate primary.

For the second year in a row, Ira Lacher (who writes under the handle “BronxinIowa”) was Bleeding Heartland’s most prolific guest author. He wrote 36 posts in 2019. In reverse chronological order:

A season of misgiving

What’s wrong with us?

Americans–not House Democrats–should impeach Trump

They is us

America’s Ephebe (endorsement of Pete Buttigieg)

Britain’s would-be Trump-alike

Tears for the top tier

Saturday’s other presidential candidate event

Burying us by burying the lede

Return of the gladiators

I will not let my Jewishness be hijacked


We’ve abused it. Repeal it.

How do you solve a problem like a racist?

Change is horrible


What the debates taught us


On fan safety, baseball strikes out

Stupid to shun Fox News

Faith and opportunity

Do as I say, not as I’ve done

Warning: Language spoilers

Hate speech ain’t free (except in the U.S.)

What we should learn from Pete Buttigieg

It’s about O.J.

Dream big again

This Oscar controversy should have plenty of company

“It’s still early” — or is it?

Revolution redux?

Hey there — You’re a rock star

For the love of the game

The Faithful Marianne

The notorious M.I.G.

Upon further review…

Anti-Semitism goes mainstream

Ed Fallon wrote 22 posts:

Why we’re supporting Sheila Knoploh-Odole (with Kathy Byrnes)

My take on the “debate”

Second debate’s top three casualties

In defense of survival

An error of judgment

A candid assessment of seven presidential candidates

Dakota Access announces pipeline expansion

Tell me to shut up

Iowa Supreme Court gets it wrong on pipeline ruling

Apology is Beto O’Rourke’s path out of climate contradiction

Steve King implies Clintons should be executed (second most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post of 2019)

Bill Clinton’s biggest “accomplishment”

Penguins pin down Joe Biden on climate

Are Democrats also climate deniers?

A flood of hopes and fears

Steve King’s raging honesty

Changing the conversation on climate, one presidential candidate at a time

Farewell, Vern Johnson

A snowless December stroll

Steyer sinks as Iowa women rise

Dakota Access lion underestimates Iowa Lambs

Iowa legislature should also condemn Steve King

Bruce Lear wrote sixteen posts this year:

Reaching rural America

Virus-free school board members

What’s scarier than Halloween?

School board elections matter. How to find out where candidates stand

Let’s get their attention!

Laughing at a bully

An open letter to Iowa Republican educators

A teacher supply list

Come on, progressives

They turned back time

Learning from baseball

Frustrated joy

Dear Iowans: Teacher patience is running out (seventh most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post of 2019)

Three words

It’s a symbol

When being fair isn’t an Iowa value (among 40 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019)

Matt Chapman wrote thirteen posts this year:

Multilevel marketing moguls turned housing profiteers come to Iowa

There are no Rs and Ds in my community (among 30 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019)

Senate ignores deadbeat corporations while targeting Iowans on Medicaid

“Workfare” bill for Iowa Medicaid would cost nearly $17 million over two years

Bill targeting Iowans on public assistance would cost $40 million by 2021

Policy vs impact and the fig leaf of semantics

Five Senate bills target Iowans on public assistance

The intersection of anti-choice warriors and misogyny

On acknowledging victims as we reform felon voting restrictions

Tenure ban clears first Iowa legislative hurdle

For now, Trump denied monument to bigotry

Representative Bobby Kaufmann lives in a glass House

Reynolds: The buck stops at social media

Chris Jones wrote ten posts:

Demand clean water now

Drain baby drain

The swine republic

Stop saying we all want clean water

Hello Darling

It’s good to be orange

Iowa needs public land

Drunk Dad

Iowa’s real population (among 40 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019)

Iowa stream nitrate: This is what happened

Dan Guild wrote nine posts:

40 days from the Iowa caucuses: Front-runners beware

Yes, the Iowa caucuses really matter

The Des Moines Register poll shows Buttigieg can win Iowa. But…

It’s getting late for the lower tier in Iowa

Biden following Clinton’s 2008 Iowa footsteps. Will Warren’s surge hold?

The first Democratic debate and Iowa: Biden in real trouble and a race remade

Joe Biden will probably lose Iowa (sixteenth most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post of 2019)

On polling eleven months before the Iowa caucuses

Does electability matter?

Gwen Hope wrote seven posts this year:

Hy-Vee PAC’s latest Democratic donation raises questions

El Paso and Dayton: Case studies in media bias and propaganda

Hy-Vee’s largest political donation in a decade preceded Trump event

Society, socialism are collectivist concepts

Civic religion and political priesthood

“Wall” and white fear – a step-by-step guide to understanding racism

Cannabis: A greener way forward for Iowa

Gwen also wrote one piece in late December 2018, after I’d already published last year’s compilation of work by guest writers: Racism evident in Iowa justice system

Four authors each wrote five Bleeding Heartland posts in 2019. In alphabetical order, starting with Carl Olsen:

Logical, but disappointing: Reynolds vetoes medical cannabis bill

State board suggests more restrictive medical cannabis limits

Iowa Senate committee puts THC cap in House medical cannabidiol bill

What really happened last week with the medical cannabidiol bill?

Iowa could lead the nation in cannabis legislation

Randy Richardson:

Salary gap between Iowa teachers and school administrators widens

The level playing field has tipped against Iowa teachers (among 50 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019)

Iowa teacher salary dollars go unspent (among 50 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019)

Iowa’s defense of (whose) marriage act (ninth most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post of 2019)

Show me the money: Is your school district hoarding cash? (among 50 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019)

Patrick Swanson:

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Slenderleaf false foxglove

Brent’s Trail: Envisioning a state trail through the Loess Hills of western Iowa

Iowa wildflower Wednesday returns: Pasque flower

One Man and a Chainsaw: A Journey in Faith and Prairie Restoration

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Winter wonderland

Dave Swenson:

Health care according to our needs: Time to consider it a human right

Our biggest ethanol problem? There’s too much of it

Memo to presidential candidates: Rural Iowa is more than farm sector economics

A 2 percent solution to a nonexistent problem

Iowa’s 2019 economic outlook: The good, bad, and ugly

Four authors each wrote four posts this year. Katie Byerly:

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Common blue wood aster (Heart-leaved aster)

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Lesser fringed gentian

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Cylindrical blazing star

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Purplestem Angelica

State Senator Claire Celsi:

Top ten tips for Governor Reynolds’ new public relations staffer

Public education lines have been drawn. Time to pick a side (seventeenth most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post of 2019)

Action Alert: Voucher bill in the Iowa Senate (updated)

Join the battle for the soul of public education in Iowa

John Morrissey:

Carson King deserves naming rights for UI hospital viewing area

Sedgwick landed six-year, $7.9 million state contract with also-ran cost proposal (an important story that should have received more attention)

An army of misery forced to decamp with UnitedHealthcare’s departure

College admissions bribery case should kill sports betting bill

Kyla Paterson:

Julián Castro brings one of the most important voices to the table

I don’t want allyship when it’s conditional

Why Kirsten Gillibrand is best candidate for trans people in 2020

Why I support Kirsten Gillibrand for president

Six authors wrote three posts each this year. Tyler Granger:

Senator Ernst’s double standard on trade

Climate action at the Latino Heritage Festival: How you can help

Iowa’s senators must act on climate change

Sable Knapp:

Marianne Williamson goes beyond the surface

Water is our shared lifeblood

Tax our trust funds

Alexandra Rucinski:

The man haters club

Fauxgressive: A letter of urgency and warning

Queen Kamala: Why calling a female candidate “anointed” is sexist

Emma Schmit:

No surprises here: Iowa’s factory farms are causing a water crisis

It’s time for a moratorium on factory farms (with Adam Mason)

Representative Fisher’s last chance (with Adam Mason)

Julie Stauch:

Open letter to those considering a run for president

By the book

What kind of president are you looking for in 2020?

Stacey Walker:

A candidate for the people (endorsement of Kimberley Graham for U.S. Senate)


Our new year of progress

Twenty authors each wrote two posts this year. By Amy Adams:

Iowans engaged in reading the Mueller Report

Iowans rally to release full Mueller report

Angelisa Belden:

When advocacy works: One bad land bill defeated, efforts to stop another

Flood reduction and clean water solutions are not magic

State Senator Joe Bolkcom:

Iowa governor, Republicans wrong to back billion-dollar borrowing scheme

Warren the choice for transformative, experience-driven problem solving

Isabelle Brace (this year’s youngest guest author):

Iowa youth go on strike demanding response to climate crisis

Re-elect Heather Anderson to the Des Moines School Board (with Finn Andersen, Hunter Andersen, and Ayanna Minnihan)

Lora Conrad:

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: American pokeweed (Poke)

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Prairie trillium (Trillium recurvatum)

Alexandra Dermody:

Why I’m running for Davenport city council

The importance of youth in politics

Heather Marie Dunn:

A response to the FAMiLY Leader’s call for dialogue

My breakup with the GOP

Randy Evans:

A friendship built around ideas, not fishing

University of Iowa utility secrecy: A blow to public accountability

Kimberly Graham:

Why I’m running to be the best senator money can’t buy (20th most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post during 2019)

How to create activist judges (with Ember Lau)

Tyler Higgs:

If a teacher were president…

Do Waukee schools have revolving doors? (among 40 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019)

Barb Kalbach:

Call to action for Iowans united on issues like health care, climate action

Farm Bill failure and the Washington bubble

Nor Kelly:

Warm, yet fierce: Why I am supporting Kamala Harris

Pie in the sky or possible? Flipping a tough district

Charlie Mitchell:

Sunrise Movement dawns on Iowa

A look at Elizabeth Warren’s brain trust in action

Nate Monson:

Why Mayor Pete will make LGBTQ youth safe

Solutions to bullying needed now

Jon Muller:

Trump’s trade war: Be careful what you wish for

A case for Andrew Yang and his Freedom Dividend

Tim Nelson:

A open letter to young white men

Why I’m switching from Elizabeth Warren to Pete Buttigieg (third most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post of 2019)

John Norwood:

Action: Public comments needed on Iowa’s Impaired Waters List

How poor soil health and missing infrastructure leave our rivers filthy

Zach Simonson:

Democrats: Do something about streaming

Anyone but Biden

Upgrade Medicaid:

Celebrating what’s working in Iowa Medicaid

At what cost?

Tom Witosky:

Tribal sovereignty and Elizabeth Warren’s problem with her Cherokee heritage claim

A walk on a cold winter day with my grandfather

Eighty-six people contributed one post each to the website during 2019.

Dale Alison:

A look to the Des Moines Register’s future

State Representative Marti Anderson:

Catherine Williams: Breaking barriers and glass ceilings 50 years ago

Elizabeth Behre:

Kamala Harris still owes us an apology

Nancy Bobo:

Cory Booker: A tough, compassionate, and effective leader

Janis Bowden:

My time with Lieutenant Governor Jo Ann Zimmerman

Bonnie Louise Brown:

Julian Castro stands up to injustice and discrimination

Jeff Cox (writing under the handle Prairie Progressive):

We need a new New Deal (endorsement of Bernie Sanders)

Charles Bruner:

Coming of age: Children’s issues and the 2020 election

Ryan Bruner:

Steve King: Abortion, immigration, and religion

Mike Carberry:

MidAmerican’s actions speak louder than words on clean energy

Leslie Carpenter:

It is about the beds

Scott Carpenter:

Why I endorsed Cory Booker

Bev Clark:

Lawmakers should act on absentee ballots, mail barcodes

John Clayton:

Iowa ranked number 1?

Bleeding Heartland user “corncam“:

Terry McAuliffe polling Iowans? Notes on a survey

Megan Dake:

Lights for Liberty

Simon Davis-Cohen (cross-posted from

Iowa Privatized Medicaid: It Has Been A Disaster. Here’s Why.

Paul Deaton:

Political bandwidth

Mike Delaney:

Thoughts inspired by a week in the Boundary Waters

Sue Dinsdale:

Another health care threat

Sandy Dockendorff:

Elizabeth Warren can take on Washington corruption

State Representative Molly Donahue:

Amy Klobuchar: A leader for everyone

Nino Erba:

Nino Erba: Candidate for Dubuque City Council 2019

Emilio Escobar:

Beto O’Rourke is writing no one off, taking no one for granted

Allison Engel:

What Steve King should learn from his own background

Brian Fallon:

Democrats running for president must lead on the Supreme Court

T.J. Foley:

The case for a Democratic message of fiscal sustainability

Cindy Garlock:

Whom does Joni Ernst really represent?

Athena Gilbraith:

We’ve failed Cory Booker

Joe Gorton:

Democratic statewide candidates need sharper rhetoric

John Grieder:

Why I’m running

John Hale:

A trip to Walmart will never be the same

Tamyra Harrison:

Remembering my dear friend, Jerry Tormey

Greg Hauenstein:

Effective end of quarter campaign fundraising emails

Aaron Hawbaker:

How do you represent those people?

Dirk Hillard:

Why I’m running for Davenport City Council

Emily Holley:

The power of your personal health care story

Iowa United Spinal Advocacy:

Medicaid and pineapple on pizza

Andy Johnson and Jim Martin-Schramm:

Resolved: Iowa communities want piece of clean energy future

Lucy Karlin:

Follow Cory Booker’s lead

Miriam Kashia:

Guilty or not guilty? You decide

Tom Kinn:

A 55-cent solution to a million-dollar problem

John Kirsch:

My encounter with Joe Biden

Sheila Knoploh-Odole:

Des Moines takes courageous first step to a Climate Action Plan

Diane Kolmer:

The Des Moines Register’s editors just don’t get it

Gary Kroeger:

Dead reckoning

Mark Langgin:

Dark money lobbying Iowa legislature on solar bill (among 30 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019)

James Larew:

The Detroit debates and Iowa’s political proving ground

Barbara Leach:

Remember: An army marches on its stomach

Emilene Leone:

Images from the flood in downtown Davenport

Kay Marcel:

Why I will caucus for Cory Booker

Chris Martin:

America’s invisible working class

State Representative Mary Mascher:

Elizabeth Warren has the heart, intellect and plans to lead our country

Noah Mathis, Alena Gamble, and Rachel Overla:

Ban prehistoric practice of conversion therapy

Michael Mauro:

A tribute to Senator Dick Dearden

Kurt Meyer:

Remembering John Culver

Tyler Mills:

John Hickenlooper’s innovation, problem solving would help our nation

Pat Murphy:

How the Iowa House passed the civil rights bill in 2007

Leslie Nesmith:

Joni Ernst needs to act on the Violence Against Women Act

Brent Newman:

Joe Gatto is not fit to serve Des Moines Ward 4 (among 30 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019)

State Representative Amy Nielsen:

Cory Booker takes the third Democratic debate

Abshir Omar:

We all come to look for America (endorsement of Bernie Sanders)

One Iowa:

LGBTQ lives cannot be compromised

Andrea Phillips:

Why I’m running for Iowa House district 37

Danya Rafiqi:

Why I’m with Beto: Every voice should be heard

Landra Jo Reece:

Cory Booker will build a brighter, greener future with us

Amanda Rex-Johnson:

House bill would update Iowa divorce law, removing tool for abusers

Connie Ryan:

Protecting Iowa’s courts

Marty Ryan:

Fighting city hall on the state level

Teresa Schneider:

Why I’m with Beto: Keeping our families safe from gun violence

J.D. Scholten:

J.D. Scholten reacts to Steve King on “Iowa Press” (twelfth most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post of 2019)

Justin Scott:

Iowa Senate needs to understand: religious freedom also applies to atheists

Leland Searles:

When the floodgates open

Matt Sinovic:

Five things to know about Trump’s sabotage budget

Art Small:

Control of Iowa House a 2020 priority for national Democratic tech group

Ryan Stevenson:

Why we need Cory Booker in this race

Rachel Wall:

Elizabeth Warren is running to do the job

David Weaver:

Trump’s EPA punishes renewable fuels and farmers

John Webb:

Julian Castro offers an immigration policy with an international approach

Nate Willems:

Why I’m caucusing for Beto O’Rourke

Bill Witt:

Amy Klobuchar’s practical health care plan for seniors

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