Claire Celsi

Top ten tips for Governor Reynolds' new public relations staffer

Democratic State Senator Claire Celsi has extensive experience in the public relations field. -promoted by Laura Belin

As ranking member of the Iowa Senate’s Administration and Regulation Appropriations Subcommittee, I was supposed to be privy to budget requests from state agencies, including the governor’s office. Unfortunately, Governor Kim Reynolds refused our committee’s request to appear in person to explain why they were requesting a 10 percent increase in their budget while requesting a “status quo” budget from all other state departments.

Since our committee’s process was prematurely cut short by Committee Chair Representative John Landon, I attempted to go through staff back channels to find out what the $200,000 increase would be used for. I was told that Reynolds had requested the hiring of two analysts, one for tax policy and one for healthcare policy. I thought those were perfectly reasonable requests, since both areas have been so completely botched by Republicans in the past three years. But I still wondered why no one would come to our committee meeting to explain the request.

Now we have the answer. Turns out, the governor is planning to hire a “public relations manager.” I have some advice for the new staff member, based on my years of experience in public relations, brand management and communications. Some of my former clients were state agencies, so I know the demands they will be facing.

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Public education lines have been drawn. Time to pick a side

State Senator Claire Celsi: “Governor Reynolds has chosen private schools over the public schools 92 percent of Iowa’s children attend.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Governor Kim Reynolds’ private school and voucher activism has gone from coy to brazen. Simply entertaining “Secretary of Education” Betsy DeVos at the state capitol is a signal. Reynolds has never been a credible supporter of public education and now has publicly chosen a side. She chooses the 8 percent of Iowans whose kids attend private schools over the 92 percent who attend public schools. Reynolds has thrown down the gauntlet.

Now, an important question for you. Yes, YOU. Sitting in your comfy chair reading this post. Do you support Iowa’s public schools – or not? Time to make a decision.

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

State Senator Claire Celsi sounds the alarm about the latest attempt to divert public school funding to private schools and homeschooling families. -promoted by Laura Belin

Every year, like clockwork, a dangerous and ruinous private school voucher bill comes up in the House or Senate. In 2018, the bill made it to a House subcommittee, but was never brought to the full committee because it didn’t have the votes. State Representative Walt Rogers, who brought the bill forward last year, was not re-elected.

This year, the Iowa Senate is emboldened to pass this legislation, Senate File 372. Monday, March 4 will be the big test of whether Republicans are serious about moving it forward. The meeting will be held in the Iowa Senate in room 22 at 2:00 p.m. Public comment is not allowed at this meeting, but people are encouraged to attend. Show up early and be prepared to stand for up to an hour. Wear your “Red for Ed” apparel.

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Join the battle for the soul of public education in Iowa

State Senator Claire Celsi sounds the alarm about a horrible bill that would benefit school administrators but would be very bad for Iowa children. -promoted by Laura Belin

The 2019 legislative session started off with a whimper as Republicans approved inadequate public education funding once again. Governor Kim Reynolds’ 2.3 percent budget request for K-12 funding was meet with an even less impressive proposal in the House and Senate – 2.06 percent. The House and Senate Democrats and Iowa State Education Association all suggested 3.0 percent and were voted down in short order.

Let me be clear: 2.06 percent is below the rate of inflation and not adequate. The result will be more layoffs, program cuts and more desperation to make ends meet in school districts all over the state.

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Seven Questions for Iowa Democratic Party Chair Candidates

Seven concise questions for the seven people hoping to lead Iowa Democrats forward. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Thanks for all your comments on my recent post about what we should be looking for in the new IDP Chair. As a continuation of my effort to help vet the candidates, I’m writing this post and asking all the candidates for Chair to submit their answers to questions that will help us determine who the right person is for the job. I’m a neutral observer and have no vote since I’m not on the State Central Committee, but I’m keenly interested in picking a person who has the capacity and skills to lead us forward.

I plan to create a new post here on Bleeding Heartland on Sunday, December 11 with all the responses I receive as of that date. SCC candidates, please send me your responses in a Word Document or an email. My email is: Thanks ~ Claire Celsi

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How to Lead the Iowa Democratic Party

Claire Celsi continues Bleeding Heartland’s series of guest posts on priorities for Iowa Democrats after a tough election. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I’m writing this post because I have a unique perspective. I’m a long-time activist, have been an employee of the the Iowa Democratic Party, have been an employee of a Presidential caucus campaign, managed a congressional campaign and was a recent candidate for the State House. I’ve read a lot of the blog posts and articles from all the supporters from various perspectives – there are very good observations being made.

As a member of “Generation X” I’ve been exposed to the old ways of the Party, all the older activists, all the traditional ways to reach out to Iowans. I’ve also seen and experienced new technology, new organizing methods, and met new people looking for their place in the Party. In my opinion, there is room for both traditional and new outreach methods in our Party. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

First things first: This is a difficult job with no shortage of critics. Thank you, Dr. Andy McGuire, for leading our State Party and for giving your time, treasure and energy. We are deeply grateful.

Here are my priorities for the State Party Chair position, in order of importance. I look forward to hearing your comments on the Bleeding Heartland Facebook page. Or, feel free to call me at 515-554-6754 or email me at

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