Kimberly Graham: Of the People, for the People, and by the People

Scott Roland is an activist from Cedar Rapids. -promoted by Laura Belin

Introduction

Whatever we think that we are doing, it is certainly not working. We are asked to embrace some variation of the status quo that offers us ruinous household debt, political corruption that has become normalized, stagnant growth rates, perilously insecure employment, a natural environment that is on a course to become barely inhabitable, and a health care system that leaves many just one medical emergency away from bankruptcy. As a society, we have fallen into a chasm, and have brought our diminished faith in American exceptionalism with us. 

These problems have been exacerbated by a complacent political class, but politicians like Kimberly Graham offer us a credible path forward. Absurdly, some have painted her as an unrealistic radical, but in much of the developed world, she would be a mainstream social democrat. Her desire is not a destructive revolution, but decency: universal publicly financed health care, wages that ensure that households live above the threshold of poverty, elections that can’t be bought by the highest bidder, a system that does not leave students shackled in debt, and a Green New Deal to address the trillions in negative externality costs related to climate change.

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Why I support Mike Franken for U.S. Senate

Nancy Bobo is a retired non-profit executive, founder of the Democratic group Women for a Stronger America, and a Democratic volunteer in Des Moines. -promoted by Laura Belin

In early March, the week before everything started shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my husband and I hosted a house party for Mike Franken, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. A friend had introduced me to Mike several weeks earlier, and I was exceptionally impressed. I was pleasantly surprised when our house filled wall-to-wall that morning with the biggest crowd we’ve ever hosted for a political candidate.

Guests arrived curious to meet Mike and knowing little about him. Numerous guests had come supporting another candidate and changed their allegiance that day. Mike’s background, experience, and a certain degree of Iowa charm were compelling. He left with a pile of checks and new supporters. Today, Franken’s support is clearly growing.

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This Old House

Paul W. Johnson is a preacher’s kid, former Peace Corps Volunteer, former state legislator, former chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service/Natural Resources Conservation Service, former director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and a retired farmer. -promoted by Laura Belin

As my life’s journey winds down, I often wake at night and mull over the wonderful life this world, my country, my state, my community, and my friends and family have given me.  Music has been an important part of my life. 

The gospel songs I learned in church, the country and western and pop music of the 1950s came first. Then came classical music.  Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto in D – tense, boisterous, serene. It could be the theme music of my life. Or the theme music of the 300-year-old white oaks in our woods. Or of the Monarch butterflies that stop by our prairies in fall and feast on the nectar of the late-blooming asters before the north winds send them on a wild ride to their winter hangouts in the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico.

Recently Stuart Hamblen’s song of the 1950s, This Old House, has washed over me. It goes, “Ain’t a gonna need this house no longer, Ain’t a gonna need this house no more.” 

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All I wanted was to scream at a billionaire

Tanya Keith is a Democratic activist in Des Moines and author of the recently published Soccer Stars on the Pitch. -promoted by Laura Belin

I am the Cory Booker precinct captain for my precinct in the River Bend neighborhood of Des Moines. When I heard he dropped out last Monday morning, I was gutted. Senator Booker was a unique candidate of hope in a sometimes angry field.

I was so firmly in his camp, I told people I didn’t need a second choice, I only needed to work hard to make him viable in my precinct. So after he left the race, I was lost, and I decided to go yell at a billionaire.

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Why I will caucus for Elizabeth Warren

Matt Chapman is a Democratic activist in Waukee. -promoted by Laura Belin

A few years after the great recession kicked in, I was listening to the latest Ry Cooder album while mowing my lawn and came across the song “No Banker Left Behind.” It spoke perfectly to the mood of the time, and I remember shutting the mower off and going inside to listen to it a couple more times.

The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill had passed a year earlier, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created (an idea Elizabeth Warren came up with). At that time, Professor Warren was asked to help set up the bureau, made a temporary chair, and given some liaison responsibilities. But she was never given the role of director.

Luckily for us, efforts to recruit Warren to run for the Senate instead paid off. Now she is campaigning to be our first woman president.

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Inaction on climate change in 2019 will be costly for Iowans

Floyd Gardener of the Progressive Minds of Iowa and Tyler Granger of the National Wildlife Federation co-authored this commentary. -promoted by Laura Belin

Iowa experienced enormous natural disasters in 2019, and climate change accelerated the devastation. 

The National Wildlife Federation released an interactive national climate disaster report in November, which illustrated that Iowa’s historic floods and extreme heat were attributable to climate change. The report also predicted continued disastrous weather conditions as the effects of climate change continue to build.

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