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John Norris for Iowa's future

Lauren Whitehead sees John Norris as “the only candidate on an unapologetic crusade to revitalize rural Iowa.” The author is a Solon City Council member, longtime Democratic activist, and Indivisible organizer in Johnson County. -promoted by desmoinesdem

A year ago I ran for city council in Solon, a town of 2,000 in eastern Iowa. Since the election, I have worked to organize rural Iowa in House district 73 (eastern Johnson/Cedar Counties–Kaufmann territory). During this time, I’ve gone from being interested in to fascinated by to deeply concerned about our rural communities’ well-being and resilience.

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SERENITY NOW! Forget unity; Dems need a strategic alliance

Practical advice from Lauren Whitehead, a Solon City Council member, longtime Democratic activist, and Indivisible organizer in Johnson County. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Y’all, we’re about to hit the anniversary of the worst day ever and I’m maxed out on rage. I’m beyond maxed out. I’ve reached a level of chronic underlying frustration and anger that is simply unsustainable, and I know I’m not the only one.

As a recovering addict AND a person with a diagnosed mental condition, I’m familiar with what “unsustainable” feels like. It impacts work, relationships, and ability to take care of your basic shit. It traps you in what feels like an inescapable situation of being unable to stop but also being unable to keep going on. So I know when I’ve hit a point where this is just not going to work, and I know I’m there, and I think a lot of other people are there, too. Rage is not an unlimited resource. It is the fossil fuel of our movement. It’s gotten us this far but we will run out. And it’s not good for us.

So here’s my proposal.

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Initial advice for folks looking at local runs

Dedicated Democratic volunteer and Indivisible organizer Lauren Whitehead shares lessons learned from her convincing victory in last week’s special election for the city council in Solon (Johnson County). -promoted by desmoinesdem

Since my city council win, I’ve had requests for advice from people considering a run for local office. School board and city races are fast approaching: now is the time to make a decision and put your plan into action. My wing woman, Sue, helped draft this.

If you are starting today, do this now:

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Fixed it for ya: An update and correction to Bobby Kaufmann's newsletter about Iowa's voter ID bill

Local activist Lauren Whitehead wasn’t fooled by an Iowa House Republican’s spin on House File 516, the voter suppression bill. See also John Deeth’s take on Kaufmann’s “worse than cynical” newsletter. -promoted by desmoinesdem

State Representative Bobby Kaufmann has made it clear that he is swamped with emails and other duties, so in the interest of participatory government, I’ve taken it upon myself to help him by correcting a few errors that appeared in his recent Your Capitol Voice newsletter, which focuses on the voter ID bill that is making its way through the Iowa legislature, because integrity is very important to him.

Please see below for the corrected version, and the text of the original at the bottom.

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Organizing the Indivisible Iowa Network

Lauren Whitehead explains Indivisible Iowa‘s unique approach to acting on the wise words, “Don’t mourn, organize.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

Did you know that there is a network of Indivisible chapters covering all 50 state Senate districts in Iowa? Here’s how it came about.

Like most readers of this blog, I was invited to join around a thousand progressive resistance startup groups during the weeks following 45’s election. My Facebook feed became an overwhelming and relentless stream of calls to action, warnings, memes, speeches, and existential angst as we all processed what had changed on November 8. Post-election, aside from the emotional fallout of such a horrible outcome, I was exhausted from 2 years of organizing for the election. I thought I might not be able to do it again. I thought that perhaps it was all pointless.

But unsurprisingly, I just can’t quit political activism, and over time I started to sort through the groups I had joined to find the diamonds in the rough–the groups that I felt had the most potential for focused and efficient accomplishment. Ten years into my amateur activist life, I was not in the mood for a group that couldn’t get it’s shit together, even though I felt the value in the organic gathering all around me. I wanted to be a part of group that offered something unique, and not a replication of the info every other group was sharing, one that was taking that frenetic energy we were all feeling and channeled it into a structure with goals.

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Iowa's "Toddler Militia Bill" is a chance to build bridges across pro/anti gun cultures

The Iowa House approved House File 2281 on February 23 by 62 votes to 36. All 57 Republicans voted yes, joined by Democratic State Representatives David Dawson, Rick Olson, Jim Lykam, Mary Wolfe, and Patti Ruff. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Yesterday, the WaPo posted an op-ed opposing a bill in the Iowa legislature that makes it legal for kids under 18 to use a handgun under direct parent supervision. The bill is being lambased as a “toddler militia” bill that would let 1 and 2 and 3 year olds use guns.

I’m a parent very much concerned about gun violence in the US. One of my top reasons for supporting Hillary Clinton is her outstanding record on common sense gun control. However, I don’t oppose this bill, and in fact, I think it offers an opportunity for folks on both sides of the gun issue to come together.

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The Crisis: why revolution suddenly feels so risky

Bleeding Heartland readers continue to make their case to undecided caucus-goers. -promoted by desmoinesdem

A few thought-provoking editorials/articles have come across my desk (figuratively) that have given me some further insight into my own reasons for supporting Hillary, into the reasons I sense a shift on the ground (however tentative) among folks I know as we approach caucus. I’ve sensed that Iowa caucusers–some–are on the move. There is a genuine uncertainty among folks who can’t decide between Bernie and Hillary, a crisis of conscience falling on the line between ideals and pragmatism.

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My case for HRC to those of you still on the fence

Bleeding Heartland would welcome guest posts encouraging readers to caucus for Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Since Sunday’s debate, I’ve felt little tremors of uncertainty among my friends who are genuinely conflicted over who to support in the caucuses. Now seems like a good time to make my personal case for supporting Hillary Clinton, to hopefully contribute to the kind of thoughtful reflection that these folks are going through.

I’ll say that I admire both Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, and that I will support whoever wins the Democratic nomination with the same energy and enthusiasm I’ve given Hillary during the caucus season. That said, here are some reasons why I believe that Hillary is the best choice for the Democratic nomination in 2016, and why I hope you (whoever you are) will support her. Sorry if this is a wall of text. Bear with me, I tried to keep it all in one place. A short summary of points I make below:

– Hillary will help my family and families like mine in the next 4-8 years.
– Hillary’s attention to local concerns and presidential responses.
– Hillary’s foreign policy expertise and international reputation.
– Hillary’s coalition building within the democratic party and related orgs.
– Hillary’s tenacity will bring about change–incremental change, but change–which is the proper job of the President.

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Activism While Parenting

Good advice from a volunteer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Johnson County. Her tips brought back memories of being a precinct captain with a baby in 2003 and being a precinct captain with a toddler and preschooler in 2007. – promoted by desmoinesdem

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