Re-establishing Democratic governance

Charles Bruner is a longtime advocate for policies that support children and strengthen families. -promoted by Laura Belin

About this essay

I studied political science at the beginning of the 1970s at one of the elitist of universities, Stanford University. My graduate school class, if not all radicals, shared a serious critique of American government and the military-industrial complex, the Vietnam war, the academic privilege and not freedom that embodied the Stanford administration, and the failure for society to listen to youth and follow-through on the vision expressed in the decidedly liberal document, The Port Huron Statement.

I returned to Iowa in 1975 feeling alienated and full of angst at my better understanding of the darker side of American politics. But I had no clue how to contribute to changing it. Fortunately, I found a group of 20-somethings in Iowa – largely through the Community Action Research Group (Iowa’s Public Interest Research Group) – doing that work in the policy field on the environment. They connected me to a job at the Iowa Welfare Association funded by the Compensatory Education and Training Act, the federal jobs program that provided nonprofits with funding to create jobs. It gave me space to learn and grow, as it did for others in my group.

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Christina Blackcloud would fight for the underrepresented in IA-01

Khadidja Elkeurti was field director for Kimberly Graham’s 2020 U.S. Senate campaign. -promoted by Laura Belin

Growing up in Cedar Rapids as a child of Algerian immigrants, many people ask why my parents chose to move to Iowa of all places. When my parents received their green card in 1995, they chose the small town of Elkader because of its historical relevance in being named after the Algerian revolutionary who fought for independence from colonial France. Despite their thick accents and unfamiliarity with American culture, my parents were welcomed to the town with open arms.

Many years later, they decided to stay in Iowa because of its renowned K-12 public school system, and the strong and diverse Muslim community found in Cedar Rapids.

In recent years however, our current leadership has threatened the future of a prosperous Iowa. Public education in our state is being undermined, and the current rhetoric around immigrants and people of color is becoming increasingly dangerous.

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Most Iowans in Congress supported latest COVID-19 package

The U.S. House and Senate on December 21 approved a $2.3 trillion package to fund the federal government through September 30, 2021 and provide approximately $900 billion in economic stimulus or relief connected to the coronavirus pandemic.

No one in either chamber had time to read the legislation, which was nearly 5,600 pages long, before voting on it. Statements released by Iowans in Congress, which I’ve enclosed below, highlight many of its key provisions. The unemployment and direct payments to families are clearly insufficient to meet the needs of millions of struggling Americans. Senate Republicans blocked aid to state and local governments, many of which are facing budget shortfalls. President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to push for a much larger economic stimulus package early next year.

The legislation headed to President Donald Trump’s desk includes some long overdue changes, such as new limits on “surprise billing” by health care providers for emergency care and some out-of-network care.

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Do Republicans even know what socialism is?

A reality check courtesy of Jim Chrisinger. -promoted by Laura Belin

There are some true socialists on the left fringes of the Democratic Party, just like there are some true fascists on the right fringes of the Republican Party. It’s offensive, however, that people who should know better accuse Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Nancy Pelosi of being socialists, or even communists.

My wife and I lived in a socialist and communist Czechoslovakia from 1987 to 1990. We saw socialism and communism up close.

Let’s get real.

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Joni Ernst turned her back on Iowans

Kay Pence is Vice President of the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans. -promoted by Laura Belin

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst is no longer working for Iowans. She is working at the behest of President Donald Trump, no matter what he says or does. She has become a puppet to Trump no matter how low he sinks, voting with the president more than 91 percent of the time and following his lead to attack our healthcare and defund Social Security.

The Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans recently invited Ernst and her Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield to virtual forums celebrating the anniversaries of Medicare and Social Security. I was not surprised when Ernst failed to show up for either forum, because she has such a dismal record on both issues.  

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Leading Iowa research centers merge

Two of Iowa’s best resources for public policy research have merged, the institutions announced on August 6. The Child and Family Policy Center and the Iowa Policy Project are building “on a collective 50 years of experience” and will be known as Common Good Iowa.

Look to Common Good Iowa for the rock-solid research, rigorous policy analysis and focused advocacy that Iowans have come to expect from CFPC and IPP, and for a new, invigorated approach to advance a bold policy agenda advancing equity and effective policy in four areas:

• Well-being of children and families, especially those failed by our current systems

• Adequate and equitably raised revenue to support strong public structures

• Workplace fairness and living wages for all Iowans

• Clean air, water and sustainable energy for a healthy future for all

Common Good Iowa will maintain offices in Des Moines and Iowa City, according to a news released I’ve enclosed below.

The two organizations have long collaborated on research published under the banner of the Iowa Fiscal Partnership. Some of their “greatest hits”:

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