Rest in peace, Berkley Bedell

Thousands of Iowans are mourning Berkley Bedell, who passed away of a stroke this weekend at the age of 98.

Bedell was best known as a member of Congress representing northwest Iowa from 1975 through 1986, when he retired while battling what was later diagnosed as Lyme disease. He served on the Spirit Lake school board early in his career but was unsuccessful in his first U.S. House campaign in 1972. Like his friend and colleague Tom Harkin, Bedell ran against the Republican incumbent again in 1974 and won the seat, aided by the post-Watergate Democratic landslide.

Tim Hynds reported for the Sioux City Journal, “At age 15 in 1937, using money earned from a newspaper delivery route, Bedell founded Berkley & Co., a Spirit Lake business that manufactured fishing tackle.” The company became a major employer in the area. President Lyndon Johnson recognized Bedell as Small Businessman of the Year in 1964.

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Interview: Rachel Junck on her winning strategy in Ames

Rachel Junck became the second Iowa State University student elected to the Ames City Council this week, winning the runoff election in Ward 4 by 723 votes (55.1 percent) to 589 votes (44.9 percent) according to unofficial results.

Not only did Junck beat a two-term incumbent with strong ties in the business community, her supporters helped push total turnout on December 3 (1,313 votes) higher than the 1,220 who cast ballots in the ward on November 5. Ask anyone who has worked on local campaigns: that almost never happens.

How did she do it? Junck made time for a telephone interview with Bleeding Heartland on December 5.

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Americans--not House Democrats--should impeach Trump

Ira Lacher: “Acting alone in a partisan snit fit can’t cut it.” -promoted by Laura Belin

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on December 5 that the House Judiciary Committee will draft articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump. Want to bet that no Republican will vote for them?

In all likelihood, the articles will focus entirely on Trump abusing the power of the presidency to make a foreign leader do oppo research on his likely election opponent as a condition for releasing hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that was approved by a coequal branch of government.

But you know what? Most Americans do not believe that this is an impeachable offense and it wouldn’t be wrong to change the motto on the greenback from “e pluribus unum” to “quid pro quo.” Long before the election of 2016, three-fourths of Americans believed that our government is corrupt, that the needs of the privileged few outweigh the needs of the many.

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AP pulls back curtain on coordination between Ernst aides, dark money

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst introduced a potential major donor to one of her campaign’s fundraisers, who later asked that person for a “an investment of $50,000” in a dark money group backing Ernst’s re-election, Brian Slodysko reported for the Associated Press on December 6.

Slodysko’s scoop uncovered what may be illegal coordination between the Ernst campaign and the Iowa Values group, which can accept unlimited contributions without disclosing donors.

It wasn’t the first time Ernst’s campaign ventured into a gray area.

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Bennett Smith weighing independent bid in Iowa House district 54

Iowa House district 54 shouldn’t be on the map of competitive 2020 state legislative races. Democrats haven’t fielded a candidate in the district outgoing House Speaker Linda Upmeyer is vacating in any of the last four elections.

However, Republicans are no longer guaranteed to keep this seat in the GOP column.

Clear Lake City Council member Bennett Smith announced on December 5 that he may run for the Iowa House as an independent. Although it’s been nearly a century since anyone with no party affiliation has won an Iowa legislative race, Smith would be a credible candidate.

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Senator Ernst's double standard on trade

Tyler Granger works for the National Wildlife Federation in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

Being in Iowa, it won’t take long to hear U.S. Senator Joni Ernst talk about the importance of trade.

While Ernst has made good points about the United States Mexico Canada Agreement and ongoing talks with China, the junior senator’s actions on another trade-related issue are a different story. She has dismissed and disregarded the Paris Climate Agreement and all its trade potential.

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