Lights for Liberty

Megan Dake is a mother and teacher at East High School in Des Moines. -promoted by Laura Belin

As the daughter of an immigrant, I have always valued the American Dream. My father was less than three years old when he came to this country with his family. Like so many others, they wanted to chase that dream; they wanted a better life. America opened its arms. My father learned English, he went to college, he became a teacher. The American Dream was real. But somewhere along the way, this dream has become a nightmare.

Today, I am also teacher. East High in Des Moines is the largest high school in Iowa and the majority of our students are Latinx.

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We all come to look for America

Abshir Omar “made a decision — I would not stand idly by as the ladder was pulled up behind me and refugees across the world lost a chance at a better life.” -promoted by Laura Belin

There are many times in my life where I’ve stopped to take a moment and reflect on how far I’ve come from my war-torn neighborhood in Mogadishu, Somalia. Today, on World Refugee Day, I’m taking a moment to reflect on my journey of fleeing from a civil war to seeking asylum in America and now, accepting a job to be Bernie Sanders’ Iowa Political Coordinator.

On Bernie Sanders’ Iowa team, I’ll be working to not only win the caucus in February, but to complete a political revolution that started right here in Iowa back in 2016. This political revolution is close to my heart because it is about more than just winning an election, it is about transforming our political system into something more inclusive. Where young Muslims have national leaders who support them. Where refugees see America as a place of opportunity, not xenophobia and hatred. Where working families don’t fear that their children might go hungry or without a good education.

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IA-01: First thoughts on a possible Rod Blum-Abby Finkenauer rematch

Thomas Nelson of the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier was first to report last week that former U.S. Representative Rod Blum’s campaign has spent $11,365 on polling this year. Blum’s quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission showed two disbursements to the candidate’s longtime pollster in early January.

The payments exceeded the $4,119 Blum for Congress owed The Polling Company at the end of December, indicating that Blum commissioned new surveys in the first district and wasn’t merely settling debts left over from the 2018 campaign.

While I have not been able to find details about the questions asked, his campaign likely tested voters’ views on key issues as well as approval and favorability numbers for himself and Representative Abby Finkenauer. Blum hasn’t ruled out running for office again. Nelson noted that he appeared at a Jones County GOP event on April 11.

No Republican has confirmed plans to run against Finkenauer. I see Blum as a weaker challenger than State Representative Ashley Hinson, who has said she’s considering the race and will make her intentions known after the legislative session ends.

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Julian Castro offers an immigration policy with an international approach

John Webb is a writer in Des Moines. Please read these guidelines if you would like to contribute to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of the Iowa caucuses. -promoted by Laura Belin

Julian Castro has not yet caught fire in the mainstream media, and I think part of the reason is that he is not easily defined in neat and tidy terms. He is a product of public schools who went on to graduate from Harvard Law. He is the grandson of a woman who came to the U.S. at age 12 following the death of her parents. He is progressive and pragmatic in equal measure, yet he stresses bold policies to address big issues.

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59 senators defended the constitution. Not Chuck Grassley or Joni Ernst

President Donald Trump will soon cast his first veto. The U.S. Senate approved on March 14 a resolution disapproving of Trump’s declaration of emergency powers. All 47 members of the Democratic caucus and twelve Republicans voted for the resolution (roll call). Iowa’s Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst were among the 41 Republicans to oppose terminating Trump’s power grab.

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