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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Republican bill to protect housing discrimination part of a pattern

Matt Chapman closely follows Iowa legislative happenings. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Iowa Senate Local Government Committee has approved a bill that would prevent municipalities from banning discrimination against tenants based on their source of income.

Senate Study Bill 3178 is yet another attack by the majority party on some of the most vulnerable Iowans. Section 8 housing vouchers are for those with nowhere to go, and they only cover half of the rent on apartments or houses.

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Why Bernie, Iowans? Banks!

Skip Kaltenheuser is a writer based in Washington, DC. This piece is cross-posted from DownWithTyranny. -promoted by Laura Belin

Banks, including on Wall Street, fear no one like they fear Bernie Sanders.

I’m sure they’re not keen on Elizabeth Warren, but Bernie strikes a unique terror, because banks know anyone taking them on will have to wield the bully pulpit against them like FDR did. Bernie can do that. And heading up a ticket, no one else will do as well in critical precincts in the upper midwest, Pennsylvania and elsewhere that went for Obama twice, then flipped for Trump when people chose him as the middle finger to Washington, and to Democrats like Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, who famously stated that housing policies were “foaming the runway for the banks.”

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A decision made with head and heart for Amy Klobuchar

Janice Weiner is a city council member in Iowa City and a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer. -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m someone who makes decisions with a combination of head and heart. I learned during my Foreign Service career that I needed both, and I applied that when considering the impressive field of Democratic presidential candidates. Do they speak to me personally? Do their policies make sense? We in Iowa are so fortunate to have this opportunity – not just to see candidates at a rally and read their platforms and policies – but to get to know them as people. And they us, as well.

Like so many others, I trekked to events for countless candidates. Last May, as a part of that process, I attended the Klobuchar campaign’s mental health/addiction panel in Iowa City, screwed up my courage, and told the senator my story. I’m a retired Foreign Service Officer, and I’m raising my granddaughter because my daughter cannot, because of her struggles with dual diagnosis – mental health and addiction, rolled into one. We are not unique – how I wish we were.

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Must-see exhibit chronicles racist housing policies in Des Moines

“They took our land, they took the grocery store, they took the community center,” Joyce Bruce recalled of a project that destroyed the African-American neighborhood anchored by Center Street in the late 1950s and 1960s. “They just wiped that whole block completely out, all, all the way down.”

Bruce’s words and other personal stories are featured in a new interactive exhibit devoted to the history of racist housing policies in Des Moines. Federal government programs and city initiatives over many decades contributed to persistent, wide-ranging racial disparities in Iowa’s largest metro area.

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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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