Forum on women in Iowa politics at Drake on Friday

Normally I mention these Iowa Politics events on my weekly calendar, but I only found out about this one today. There are still some spots available for reservations:

Drake to host forum on women in Iowa politics

Drake University will host a bipartisan forum Friday, Nov. 14, on the role women play in Iowa politics and future prospects for women to be elected to represent Iowans in Congress.

The featured speakers will be:

   * Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University

   * Becky Greenwald, Iowa Congressional candidate

   * Mary E. Kramer, former U.S. ambassador

   * Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Iowa Congressional candidate

   * Jo Ann Zimmerman, former Iowa lieutenant governor

The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 11 a.m. in Levitt Hall in Old Main, 2507 University Ave.

Reservations are required for the event, which is sponsored by Drake, and Mediacom, as part of the Cookies and Conversation Series. For reservations, call 515-226-8774 or send an e-mail to Julie Rutz at Des Moines Bureau Chief Lynn Campbell will moderate the program and questions will be accepted from audience members. The panel discussion will be televised to a statewide audience on the Mediacom Connections Channel and will be available for On Demand viewing from Mediacom on Channel 1.

Doors to Levitt Hall will open at 10:30 a.m. Free parking will be available in Drake lots at 26th Street and University Avenue and at 25th Street and Carpenter Avenue. is an independent, nonpartisan news operation offering a free Web site at and paid subscriber products.

This is an open thread for discussing women in Iowa politics.

I still believe that the most important reason Iowa has never sent a woman to Congress is the fact that almost every woman who’s tried was challenging an incumbent.

Many women failed to defeat incumbents in other states too this year, including quite a few who had more money to spend on their campaigns than Miller-Meeks or Greenwald did in IA-02 and IA-04.

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IDP and RPI Chairs talk politics at Drake

On Friday, March 9th the first-ever Drake Luncheon was held.  The Luncheons will be monthly features at Drake with leaders from both parties, possibly presidential candidates, and other political big-wigs talking about issues, strategies, and everything else.  The first luncheon featured Iowa Democratic Party Chair Scott Brennan and Republican Party of Iowa Co-Chair Leon Mosley.  Chris Dorsey, Bureau Chief for, acted as the moderator.  You can listen to an MP3 of the event here through (be warned: it is very scratchy).

My initial opinions of the two leaders was that Brennan clearly came prepared and ready to talk about the issues as a seasoned political professional while Mosley was the down-home Republican who said what he meant, even if it was offensive or wasn’t politically correct.  Largely, it made me wonder how this man could possibly be chosen to represent a party as their chairman.  While his down-home style, seemingly like most ordinary Iowa Republican caucusgoers, might be appealing to some I think it was a big turnoff to those in the audience seeking a more enlightened and vigorous discussion about the issues, not just gut reactions.  He did frustrate a lot of people who asked questions and did get confrontational with some in the audience over Iraq.  But with such a divisive issue, that’s to be expected.

My friend Matt Clark has a write up of the event here for (Matt’s got an internship with them and has been doing some great reporting) and I think it demonstrates Mosley’s approach to the discussion.  If that doesn’t clearly show it, the audio of the event will.  I’m not sure if any of you readers were there, but if you were, I’d like to hear your thoughts.  Or after you listen to some of the audio, feel free to leave your reactions as well.

After the event, the staff of collected surveys filled out by those in attendance with questions relating to who they’d want to see at future events and asking for an overall rating of the event.  My suggestion for the next luncheon was to attempt to get the Caucus Directors for both the IDP and the RPI to come in and talk strategy a bit.  While this early most strategy would still be speculation, talking about what has worked in the past and what hasn’t could be mighty interesting to see.

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