Warm, yet fierce: Why I am supporting Kamala Harris

Norene Kelly is State Representative Karin Derry’s volunteer campaign manager. Derry flipped Iowa House district 39 in 2018 and is running for re-election in 2020.

“Be sure about your answer, sir.”

Senator Kamala Harris first got my attention at Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. She was focused and prosecutorial. Her legal background was an obvious advantage. She can be simultaneously steely and smiling. Pressure doesn’t faze her—it empowers her. Wow, I thought, I hope she runs for president.

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Anyone but Biden

Zach Simonson became chair of the Wapello County Democrats in April. He lives in Ottumwa and works as a building inspector. He can be found on Twitter at @zachsimonsonIA. -promoted by Laura Belin

Shortly after my election this spring, I received a missive from the Iowa Democratic Party requesting that county chairs refrain from making caucus endorsements. While it seems like that plea earned mixed results statewide, I intend to honor it. Mostly.

I’m not naive enough to think anyone truly cares about my endorsement. But if being a county chair provides a platform to speak on the caucus, then I have something to shout into the black hole of online caucus discourse: for God’s sake, don’t vote for Joe Biden!

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Cory Booker gave the speech Democrats needed

It would be hard to overstate how dispirited, angry, exhausted, and hopeless many Democrats felt after watching the Brett Kavanaugh nomination play out. Not only have right-wing, partisan ideologues solidified their control of the U.S. Supreme Court, millions of sexual assault survivors feel like the Republican-controlled Senate punched them in the gut.

No one would have blamed Senator Cory Booker for missing the Iowa Democratic Party’s Fall Gala on October 6. He was stuck in Washington as Republicans scheduled a Saturday afternoon vote on Kavanaugh, without a full investigation of sexual assault allegations or any acknowledgement that the nominee lied under oath repeatedly during his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony.

Booker cast his vote against Kavanaugh, rushed to the airport and made it to Des Moines in time to give the keynote speech to more than 1,000 activists. Outside the hall afterwards, I heard one sentiment over and over again: Booker’s uplifting message was just what people needed to hear on a discouraging day.

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Big test coming up for Joni Ernst (updated)

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has cultivated an image as a politician who is deeply concerned about sexual assault. Her official website has a whole page dedicated to the issue.

But as Senate Republicans appear ready to ram through Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation for the U.S. Supreme Court, Ernst has not demanded any thorough investigation of the allegations against Kavanaugh. On the contrary: she is ready to reward his aggressive, evasive performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee with a lifetime seat on the high court.

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This is why I didn’t report my assault

Alexandra Rucinski is a patient advocate for Planned Parenthood and an activist for sex education and reproductive rights. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I was talking to my now fiance; we’d been together for a bit at this point, and we were talking about sex. Out of the blue, I asked him if he was beginning to have sex with someone, and then they changed their mind and asked him to stop, would he stop?

He very quickly responded that yes, he would immediately stop and that if he didn’t stop, that was rape.

That was the moment it clicked inside my head that what happened to me that summer day wasn’t ok. I couldn’t bring myself to call it rape yet, but that was the first time someone told me that not stopping was wrong, that not stopping was a violation. No one had ever said anything like that to me before.

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