Rest in peace, Bob Ray

Iowans of all political persuasions are grieving former Governor Bob Ray, who passed away on July 8 at age 89. I can’t think of any Republican more admired by Iowa Democrats. My parents canceled out each other’s votes in most elections for decades, but my mother supported Ray whenever he was on the ballot. Bill Crews, who managed the governor’s 1978 re-election campaign, remembered Ray as his “best boss and a great mentor.” Crews took the above photo on the night Iowans elected Ray to his fifth and final term.

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Report from Senator Joni Ernst's town hall in Shenandoah

First-person accounts of political events are always fun to read. Thanks to Susie Olesen, a semi-retired former teacher and school administrator in southwest Iowa, for this write-up. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Senator Joni Ernst’s July 6 town hall at the high school auditorium in Shenandoah (Page County) was a well-attended, civil meeting. People who wanted to participate filled out a slip of paper, which were drawn out of a glass jar to determine who would be able to ask questions. Ernst sat at a table in front of the room.

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66 photos from Keep Families Together rallies in Iowa

Despite heat advisories across most of the state, at least 2,000 Iowans turned out for rallies and marches on June 30 to oppose the Trump administration’s family separation policy and demand justice for immigrants.

Like the Women’s March and similar mass protests from the past two years, the Keep Families Together events were a target-rich environment for creative political signs and t-shirts. With thanks to those who gave permission to publish their photographs here, I’ve compiled some of my favorite images from the weekend.

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Then and now: Kim Reynolds on Steve King

Governor Kim Reynolds downplayed her association with U.S. Representative Steve King on Friday, saying “No two people are going to agree on everything” and describing the bigoted loudmouth as just “one of over 4,000 honorary chairs” of her campaign.

When it has suited her political purposes, she has spoken of King in a much more flattering way.

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Hardline House immigration bill fails: How the Iowans voted

U.S. House members rejected by 231 votes to 193 one of two immigration bills leaders had planned to bring to the floor on June 21. Judiciary Committee Chair Robert Goodlatte’s legislation “had not been expected to pass, but conservatives had sought a vote on it anyway,” Thomas Kaplan and Nicholas Fandos reported for the New York Times.

The Goodlatte bill would have sharply reduced legal immigration while beefing up border security, cracking down on so-called sanctuary cities and requiring employers to use a system called E-Verify to confirm that they are hiring legal workers. It would have offered a three-year renewable legal status to DACA recipients.

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Iowa political reaction to Trump's family separation policy

Editor’s note: Des Moines Democratic activist Robert Niederklopfer drew the cartoon posted above.

The crisis of some 2,300 children separated from their parents after crossing the southern border of the U.S. reached a tipping point this week. The “zero-tolerance policy” is two months old, but new images of kids locked in cages and heartbreaking sounds of children crying for their parents outraged millions of Americans.

A new national poll suggests voters oppose taking children away from their parents by a two to one margin. Thousands have called their members of Congress to demand action. Former acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the Obama administration John Sandweg has warned that many of the separations will end up becoming permanent. Several “tender age” shelters are housing very young children, some unable to talk or remember their parents’ names.

I enclose below comments from leading Iowa politicians on the issue. Most predate the executive order Trump signed today, which will do nothing for families already separated and may not help new arrivals either.

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