Janice Weiner

Child care is the foundation—and decent wages are foundational

Janice Weiner is an Iowa City City Council member and the Democratic nominee in Iowa Senate district 45.

Every time we turn around, another article or report describes the child care crisis in Iowa. I’ve followed the statewide debate, participated in multiple local forums, and have been a child care consumer for the past four years.

When Governor Kim Reynolds convened her child care task force, I hoped that we would make progress, since this issue affects every zip code and county. Instead, we have continued to go around in circles, creating grants for centers and pushing “solutions” that fail to get to the heart of the issue.

Child care is an economic issue, a workforce issue, a childhood development issue, a child welfare issue, an equity issue, a women’s issue, an education issue, a state development issue – and more. It’s an “all of the above” issue. And since it’s foundational, it’s worth tackling.

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Why the rush to change Iowa's election law?

Janice Weiner is a community activist and city council member in Iowa City. The Iowa Senate approved an amended version of this bill, which cuts early voting in many ways, along party lines on February 23. A forthcoming Bleeding Heartland post will discuss those changes in detail. -promoted by Laura Belin

The draft bill aimed at fixing voting problems that don’t exist, which is moving through the Iowa legislature at breakneck speed, galvanized me to speak out. We had only two minutes each for public comment at the February 22 public hearing. This is the original slightly longer version of my remarks:

I come at this from many directions.

During my 26 years as a U.S. diplomat, I served places where people literally risked their lives to vote. When I spoke with them, I held up my home state as a shining example of making it easy to exercise the franchise.

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A decision made with head and heart for Amy Klobuchar

Janice Weiner is a city council member in Iowa City and a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer. -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m someone who makes decisions with a combination of head and heart. I learned during my Foreign Service career that I needed both, and I applied that when considering the impressive field of Democratic presidential candidates. Do they speak to me personally? Do their policies make sense? We in Iowa are so fortunate to have this opportunity – not just to see candidates at a rally and read their platforms and policies – but to get to know them as people. And they us, as well.

Like so many others, I trekked to events for countless candidates. Last May, as a part of that process, I attended the Klobuchar campaign’s mental health/addiction panel in Iowa City, screwed up my courage, and told the senator my story. I’m a retired Foreign Service Officer, and I’m raising my granddaughter because my daughter cannot, because of her struggles with dual diagnosis – mental health and addiction, rolled into one. We are not unique – how I wish we were.

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