Julie Stauch

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Questions about the WDM Water Works regionalization plan

Julie Stauch became invested and motivated about water issues after the 1993 floods. In 2017, she joined others across the metro area to speak out against the regionalization bill in the Iowa legislature, focusing on West Des Moines. She previously wrote about the West Des Moines Water Works regionalization plan here.

Below is the statement I delivered at the WDM Water Works Board of Trustees meeting on December 6. The next meeting will be a workshop at city hall on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 5:30 PM.

All of you have the title of Trustee, because you are entrusted with the governance responsibilities of the West Des Moines water works. It is rooted in trust between the people who use the utility and those who serve on the Board. The goal today is to take steps to focus on how vital trust is in your role for all WDM residents and rate payers.

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The people must vote on WDM Water Works regionalization

Julie Stauch became invested and motivated about water issues after the 1993 floods. In 2017, she joined others across the metro area to speak out against the regionalization bill in the Iowa legislature, focusing on West Des Moines. She stayed involved attending meetings of a regional group representing communities across the metro area.

On November 30, leaders of West Des Moines Water Works discussed a regionalization plan in public for the first time. You likely did not know this plan was on the agenda for the “joint workshop” of the West Des Moines City Council’s workshop with the WDM Water Works, which had been announced the previous Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving). The posted agenda included only a vague reference to “Discussion on Future Water Supply Needs for West Des Moines.”

I had intended to publish here the statement I delivered at the workshop. But the nature of the event changed my point of view. Folks, we have a big problem at the WDM Water Works Board of Trustees.

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Next up: Democracy Defenders of America

Julie Stauch is a longtime Democratic campaign staffer and candidate consultant. Democracy Defenders of America is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Annenberg Institute timed the publication of their 2020 Civics Knowledge survey to coincide with Constitution Day on September 17. Only 51 percent of respondents could name the three branches of government. It’s appalling news, because knowing that there are three branches of government is like knowing a building has four walls and a roof. It’s all much more than that basic knowledge.

I’ve had more years than I want to admit to working in the governmental, business, and political arenas. No matter where I worked or volunteered, there have always been people who don’t know how our various governments work. Time and again I’ve explained things ranging from how a given state’s city council system operates to why states have different constitutions to “No, ma’am, the Attorney General can’t represent your son in his divorce. The Attorney General represents the state, not individuals.” But it is much worse today.

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By the book

Julie Stauch shares her thoughts on presidential candidate John Delaney’s “very readable book.” Bleeding Heartland welcomes reviews of memoirs by politicians or books on any political topic of statewide or national importance. -promoted by Laura Belin

I have this rule with myself that if someone gives me a book, I always read the first chapter out of appreciation and respect for the person who shared it. In January I was invited to attend a luncheon for women hosted by April McLain Delaney, where they gave each attendee a copy of John Delaney’s book. I started reading it that day, and by the end of the week had finished the book. This is my review.

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What kind of president are you looking for in 2020?

Longtime Democratic campaign staffer and candidate consultant Julie Stauch follows up on her last commentary about qualities she’s seeking in a presidential contender. -promoted by Laura Belin

Friends who live in other states have asked me, “How do you decide who to support for president in a crowded caucus (primary) field?” The answer is often, “It depends upon the year.” In a year like 2020, we’re seeing a diverse, talent-laden field of candidates. Here’s part of how I narrow the crowded field.

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Open letter to those considering a run for president

Thoughts from longtime Democratic campaign hand Julie Stauch, who hasn’t settled on a 2020 candidate yet. Senator Elizabeth Warren will make her first trip to Iowa as a possible presidential contender this weekend, and others in the field will visit many times. -promoted by Laura Belin

Dear Senators, Governors, U.S. Representatives, Mayors, Authors, Celebrities, and anyone else seriously considering a run for the job of President of the United States,

First, let me thank you for considering a run. It is a daunting task and just looking at running seriously takes courage. Thank you.

The purpose of this open letter is to share with you my observations from ground level in Iowa, to let you know what I am seeking in a presidential candidate, and to pose some questions I hope you will each consider including in your communications.

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Common candidate mistakes and how to prevent them

Julie Stauch has handled strategy, tactics, and management for many campaigns. -promoted by desmoinesdem

This piece reflects the compilation of observations from working closely with Democratic candidates, as well as observing patterns of candidate behaviors. The goal here is to address some real problems that exist and provide insights into what can aid our candidates and improve our electoral outcomes.

The most important variable in winning back any legislative or administrative seat is the candidate who chooses to run, because if no one runs, we definitely won’t win. No matter what motivates each reader to want to see change in our various governments, we are united in the fact that we have to support our candidates.

There is an assumption out there that “candidates have to run twice to win.” Do they? Let’s review the common mistakes and consequences, look at what can be done to prevent those mistakes, and then come back to the question, “Do candidates have to run twice to win?”

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A campaign manager remembers Leonard Boswell

Julie Stauch has handled strategy, tactics, and management for campaigns, non-profits, and businesses. She managed Leonard Boswell’s 2002 re-election campaign. -promoted by desmoinesdem

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” -Booker T. Washington

Leonard Boswell was a success by any measure. Perhaps the greatest measure is the one stated by Booker T. Washington, because Leonard faced many obstacles and marched right over every single one.

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A special message for Nate Boulton supporters

Words of wisdom from Julie Stauch, a veteran of many Democratic campaigns. -promoted by desmoinesdem

To my friends who put your heart into supporting Nate Boulton – this post is for you.

I went to my first caucus in support of Gary Hart in 1984. Then, in 1987, the Monkey Business photo came out and he was out of the presidential race. I can remember the date – May 8. I had been volunteering for him for a little over two months and was rocked by the whole event. My response was – “I’m done. I’m not going to do this again.”

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Looking for leadership in West Des Moines: A case for change

Local elections are coming up this Tuesday, November 7. Julie Stauch shares her perspective on the candidates running in West Des Moines, the largest Des Moines suburb and eighth-largest city in Iowa. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Last winter, in response to the bill by Representative Jarad Klein that went after the Des Moines area water utilities, I became involved to stop that horrific piece of legislation. I went to my first Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement meeting and learned that West Des Moines was one of the suburbs where our leaders had not spoken out against the legislation. I volunteered to go to the next city council meeting and make what I thought was an easy ask – oppose this legislation.

And I learned firsthand of the dysfunction of our system of government and the deceit of our city leaders.

That led to a desperate need to find actual leaders – people who will represent the people of the city and not just themselves – which has taken me down the path of civic activist in a way that I haven’t traveled since the 1980s when we lived in Mason City. I’ve met and connected with a great group of West Des Moines residents seeking leaders who will be thoughtful, engaging and listen to all points of view.

Here are my thoughts and recommendations for West Des Moines residents. We need you to vote! Change begins here and now. Below are my assessments and recommendations on our candidates.

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Recruit, Engage and Empower

Many thanks to Julie Stauch for posting more details about her vision for rebuilding the party. All candidates for state party chair are welcome to share similar materials before next month’s election. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Saturday at the State Central Committee meeting, I presented my ideas on how to strengthen the Iowa Democratic Party. Because we had a short window of time to speak, on Sunday I sent the attached document to the members of the State Central Committee to expand upon the points I highlighted. Today I share this with Bleeding Heartland readers because the very best thing about so many candidates in this race is the exchange of ideas. Only one person will be chair, but the ideas are for all of us.

The fundamental goal of my recommendations is to shift to a greater focus on empowerment. Empowerment allows individuals to contribute based upon their strengths and talents. When a leader takes actions that empower others to step up, opportunities, answers to problems, and success increase. Rather than trying to control every little move, we allow for people to design and create a more intuitive Iowa Democratic Party that fits each and every corner of the state. We focus less on one right way and more on celebrating all the many different ways we can succeed.

A special word of thanks to Bleeding Heartland for figuring out how to share this document. You have created a space for the transformation Iowa needs. Thanks, BH!

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The First Step for Iowa Democrats

Julie Stauch is a candidate for Iowa Democratic Party chair with a lot of experience on Democratic campaigns. -promoted by desmoinesdem

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” JP Morgan

How do you begin to get an understanding of what is working and what is not working with an organization the size and scope of the Iowa Democratic Party? One way is to start with thematic analysis, an anecdotal way to gather information from within a group of people. How does it work? You ask the same questions of each person in a one-on-one conversation. Then you listen for common themes, new ideas, and where you have the kind of consensus that makes implementing change easier.

Since the election I’ve spoken with thirty-three individual Iowa Democratic activists from all across the state, asking each person the same four questions:
1. What are the problems facing the Iowa Democratic Party?
2. What are the opportunities?
3. What would a successful Iowa Democratic Party look like?
4. What are the obstacles between your vision of success and where we are right now?

The good news is that there’s a tremendous amount of consensus on the problems and opportunities.

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My first impressions of Tim Kaine

Julie Stauch, a veteran of many Democratic campaigns and five inaugurals, shares her memories from working with Tim Kaine. -promoted by desmoinesdem

In 2005, after the Virginia statewide elections, I was hired as a consultant to work with the Governor’s Inaugural staff team to help put on a successful Inaugural and launch of the administration of then Governor-elect Tim Kaine. It was my fifth inaugural consulting job, the fourth governor’s inaugural. My role was to help the staff team, largely campaign employees who had a great understanding of the new governor-elect, the state, constituents, supporters, and the candidate’s family and friends, but no idea about how to put this together, as well as no idea about how to deal with the pace of decisions and the planning process. While what I actually did as a consultant varied with each state and the Inaugural staff team, the nature of the events varied only slightly based on the personality and leadership style of the governor-elect and local custom.

Within twenty-four hours of my arrival I was to meet with Tim Kaine, his wife Anne Holton, the head of his transition team, the head of his inaugural team, the press secretary and a few other key staff, to give an overview of the types of decisions needed for the Inaugural, the work priorities, and what they most needed to know from us.

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Focus on Problem identification NOT Blame

Julie Stauch was a leader of the Hillary Clinton delegate group at the March 12 Polk County Democratic convention, which turned into a disaster. She responds to calls by Pat Rynard and others for longtime Polk County Democratic Party Chair Tom Henderson to resign. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I’ve seen posts this week blaming Tom Henderson for a variety of things, ranging from Caucus night to the Polk County Convention. This is wrong for two reasons.

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What Kind of Precinct Captain Are You?

A veteran of many Iowa Democratic campaigns explains what good precinct captains do, with bonus Star Wars references. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Across Iowa next Monday night there will be 1682 precincts where three democratic candidates will vie for delegates. Every one of those candidate groups, plus undecided groups, will have a precinct captain. If every campaign is viable in every precinct that’s at least 5046 Iowans who will be leaders.

Some will be thrown into their duties that night. Others have known for weeks that they will be the precinct captain for their candidate. The important question for each of these folks to answer is, “What kind of precinct captain are you?”

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Caucus Canvassing Story - 2016

(I love Iowa caucus anecdotes like this one. Bleeding Heartland readers, please feel free to share stories about any aspect of the campaign. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

A week ago I put my Hillary sign in the front window of our home. Two days later a Rand Paul organizer stopped my husband, Jim, in the front yard. Below is the exchange:

RP Organizer: Are you supporting Rand Paul for President?

Jim Stauch: No.

RP Organizer: Are there an issues you care about?

Jim Stauch: Lots of issues.

The Rand Paul Organizer walked away.

This is a great lesson on how not to canvas. Closed questions get you closed answers.

The IRS and Chuck Grassley - "Ain't no there, there."

(Latest fake scandal pumped up by conservative media. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

The DSM Register had an article today on the IRS scrutiny of Sen. Chuck Grassley. To be fair to the Register, conservatives are trying to make it appear that the IRS is on a witch hunt for members of Congress, and so while there’s no news here, the Register is covering it because the conservatives are trying to make it a story.

The real witch hunt here is fed by conservative’s disconnection with reality. Here’s the short version of the facts: The IRS was sent a complaint that an organization might be offering Grassley something as a benefit. The IRS investigator looked at it and rightly asked her supervisor if this was something that could justify an audit. The supervisor said no, the only thing that would justify an audit would be if Grassley accepted and then didn’t report it. End of story. No further action by the IRS.

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Top Ten Reasons Why I think Mike Gronstal would be a great governor

(Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest diaries about election campaigns. Feel free to analyze any upcoming Iowa election or advocate for the candidate of your choice. As explained in these guidelines, people should stick to one username for writing and commenting at Bleeding Heartland (that is, no creating "sock puppets" to lend support for your own position). I also ask paid campaign staffers or consultants to disclose that fact if they write about the campaign they're working on.   - promoted by desmoinesdem)

One – Mike understands how government can work and knows how to make it work.

Two – He works with and talks to everyone, not just a small group of his cronies.

Three – He has a real world understanding of people’s lives and thinks about the consequences of bills and laws and the impact on ordinary people.

Four – Mike has tremendous experience fighting tough political fights and has the strategic mind to develop a plan and the grit to follwo throuhg and make it work.  No on-the-job training needed here!

Five – He listens.  My own experience is that Mike is always available to listen.  He also almost never agrees with everything I ask for, but he listens and speaks honestly with me.

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