The Disability Caucus: Fighting for inclusion

Eric Donat: “It’s important for inclusion to show people with disabilities in all possible roles – not just in disability-specific ones.” -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m excited to be part of the new leadership on The Iowa Democratic Party Disability Caucus as vice chair. I am Eric Donat of Waterloo and Black Hawk County.

I got my start in politics through advocacy training at the Center for Independent Living in Waterloo, Iowans with Disabilities in Action, and the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council. Consumers at the center were connected to state legislators via our work on systems change advocacy.

Through being an advocate, I supported legislation making it easier for people with disabilities, particularly those using wheelchairs, to travel about in their communities. I also supported reorganizing Iowa’s counties into today’s mental health service regions. In addition, I advocated against privatizing Medicaid in Iowa.

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The Progressive Caucus: In solidarity we rise

Brian McLain of Ankeny was recently elected chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus. -promoted by Laura Belin

As a leftist, finding a place to have your voice heard within the Democratic establishment has sometimes been challenging. The Iowa Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus was created out of that need in 2016, and it has become my home in the party.

I have been involved and active in the caucus since its inception, and was recently honored to be elected to chair the group for the 2020-2022 term. I can say with little embellishment that my decision to run for Progressive Caucus chair was not taken lightly.

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Troy Price to join Iowa Democratic Party's governing body

Five months after resigning as state chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, Troy Price will join the party’s State Central Committee as vice chair of the Stonewall Caucus.

The party’s governing body consists of 32 district representatives (eight from each of Iowa’s four Congressional districts) and 24 members representing twelve “constituency caucuses.” State convention delegates elected the SCC members from their own Congressional districts last month. All business was conducted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Democrats held online meetings on July 11 to select constituency caucus leaders. Benton Renaud won a three-way race for Stonewall Caucus chair. During his acceptance speech, he endorsed Price, who went on to defeat four other candidates for vice chair.

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This primary challenger's big win should put Iowa lawmakers on notice

Running against a sitting office-holder from your own party is always an uphill battle. Many Iowa House or Senate members have faced primary challengers during the past decade, but only a handful have failed to win their party’s nomination.

Christina Bohannan beat the odds on June 2, taking 66 percent of the vote against 20-year State Representative Vicki Lensing in Iowa’s most Democratic House district.

No one can write off the outcome as a fluke of a low-turnout environment. Statewide turnout set a new record for an Iowa primary, and voter participation in Johnson County was sky-high as well. Unofficial results showed 6,687 residents of House district 85 cast ballots for either Bohannan or Lensing.

Bohannan’s win and in particular the margin of victory should put every Iowa legislator on notice: you have to keep earning your constituents’ support.

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Where are the freedom fighters? A plea for help from a beleaguered Black man

Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker: “Until a renewed season of action on the hard issues springs forth from the Iowa Democratic Party, my people will continue to freeze in the long winters of apathy, and die during the hot summers of violence.” -promoted by Laura Belin

During a recent Facebook Live conversation with Kimberly Graham where we discussed issues facing the African-American community, I recounted a high-profile officer-involved shooting that happened in my neighborhood shortly after I was elected. It was during this very conversation, in real-time, that I realized this officer-involved shooting fundamentally changed who I was as a public servant.

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I am grateful to you, Senator Sanders

Susie Petra, a Democratic activist in Ames, wrote this letter after Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign last month. -promoted by Laura Belin

Dear Senator Sanders,

I am a member of Iowa CCI and an active supporter of yours for over nine years. My heart actually hurt for you when I heard you had suspended your campaign…and hurt for the many millions of your supporters. We had seen, and almost grasped, that exquisite light at the end of the 9-year tunnel. However, I know our collective work isn’t finished, yet!

I wanted you to hear from me that you actually did turn that light on for millions of us.

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