# Activism



Reaffirming my faith in politics

Kurt Meyer writes a weekly column for the Nora Springs – Rockford Register, where this essay first appeared. He serves as chair of the executive committee (the equivalent of board chair) of Americans for Democratic Action, America’s most experienced liberal organization.

Some people live in town and have a second home on a lake or in the country. For almost two decades, we’ve reversed these items. Our primary residence is in rural North Iowa – in the country – with a turnkey town home in the greater Minneapolis area. There, for the last ten weeks, we’ve provided “supporter housing” for a political campaign worker in the Twin Cities.

Accommodating this short-term boarder was not demanding duty. We’re often not there, more true recently as delayed travel plans were rescheduled for earlier this fall. Furthermore, providing temporary housing is consistent with a vague “transition strategy” as we seek different ways to support causes we believe in.

Let me explain how this relates to politics.

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Four ways (besides voting) to help preserve abortion access

It’s been a rough week for abortion rights advocates. Many of my own friends, relatives, and acquaintances feel helpless and hopeless in the face of Roe v Wade‘s likely demise. These people don’t need to be reminded to vote. But voting for Democrats hasn’t stopped the rollback of reproductive rights. Anyway, the next opportunity to vote for pro-choice candidates is six months away.

If you believe no one should be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy, here are some concrete ways to help keep abortion available for those who need the procedure.

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Environmental scorecard for the Iowans in Congress

Sheri Albrecht is a member of Indivisible Cedar Rapids Metro and on the executive committees of the Sierra Club’s Iowa Chapter and Cedar-Wapsie Group.

EcoFest 2022 was held on April 23 at the NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids in celebration of Earth Day.

Our local Indivisible CR Metro group hosted a table. We had three goals: 1) Find out what issues were most important to the people who visited our table; 2) In keeping with the ecological theme of the event, provide data showing attendees how their legislative representatives voted on environmental issues; and 3) Encourage ordinary citizens to engage with their elected representatives.

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Why I'm quitting the Iowa caucuses

John Deeth has volunteered for the Johnson County Democrats and been involved in caucus planning since 2004. He was the lead organizer for the Johnson County caucuses in 2016 and 2020. Deeth has also worked in the Johnson County Auditor’s Office since 1997.

I never set out to be The Caucus Organizer for the Johnson County Democrats. The role landed on me by accident in 2004. Nearly every experienced party activist was involved in a presidential campaign, and almost no one was doing the logistics work of finding rooms, recruiting chairs, stuffing packets, and getting training done. The skill set overlapped closely with my job at the county auditor’s office, so I stepped in to help. 

Each cycle, my role got bigger and bigger. By 2016 I was seen as the Person In Charge, a role I repeated in 2020 and again in the recent midterm caucuses.

But after a lot of struggling, I’ve decided it’s a role I won’t take on again.

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Rural county chair on some changes Iowa Democrats need

Brian Bruening chairs the Clayton County Democrats.

The Iowa Democratic Party is passing through dire straits right now. We have a lot of energetic folks stepping up to run (Iowa Senate candidates Austin Frerick, Todd Brady, Sarah Trone Garriott, and Deb VanderGaast, to name but a few), but I’m worried that the stampede of Democratic legislators heading for the exit heralds a self-fulfilling prophecy of November defeat. 

Ras Smith dropping out of the governor’s race after being unable to find serious funding this cycle, and then announcing he’s not seeking re-election to his House seat, should’ve been treated as a more ominous a sign than it was. Indeed it was a bellwether in January when former House Democratic leader Todd Prichard announced he was bowing out of the legislature.

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The story of the Safe at School Sit-In

Julie Russell-Steuart is a printmaker and activist who chairs the Iowa Democratic Party’s Disability Caucus. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Urgency

On August 11, a Wednesday morning, four moms of school-aged kids arrived at the Iowa State Capitol to put on an event called the Safe at School Sit-In. Two of them had met the previous day, but this was the first time everyone had met each other in person. The fifth member was anxiously keeping an eye on her Facebook Messenger and waiting for the live feed from the Iowans for Public Education Facebook page.

Twelve days earlier, Erin Dahl and Julie Russell-Steuart, both disability advocates, had discussed wanting to do something about the failure of virtually every state institution to protect vulnerable kids and Iowans in general from COVID-19. The next day, Erin saw a post by Brook Easton on Educators for a Safe Return to School Facebook group, saying how it was incredible no one had organized a protest yet, and tagged Julie.

The post turned up more moms wanting to take action. A group was quickly formed and the first of many Zoom meetings and probably hundreds of Facebook Messages started.

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