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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Peter Cownie Kills Autism Insurance Bill

Claire Celsi is the Democratic challenger to Peter Cownie in Iowa House district 42. -promoted by desmoinesdem

April is Autism month. I wish I had better news for all the parents out there who are trying to provide the best care for their children.

State Representative Peter Cownie (R-West Des Moines), Chair of the Iowa House Commerce Committee, single-handedly killed the bill that autism advocates in Iowa had worked all year to bring to a vote in the House Commerce Committee. Cownie had challenged the bill’s advocates to “find him seven Republican votes” so he could bring the bill up and pass it out of his committee for consideration by the entire House. The autism advocates (mostly parents of children who have autism) found the committee votes – both Democrat and Republican. On March 8, the Commerce Committee met, but the bill was never brought up for a vote. Cownie apparently decided that insurance companies were more important than kids. I have heard stories from some of the parents who worked very hard to convince legislators to vote for the bill and they are adamant that the bill would have passed if Cownie would have allowed it to come up for a vote in his committee.

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